Spirit looks to draft for fresh talent SOCCER Spirit notebook

July 27, 1993|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Staff Writer

The Spirit will try to duplicate its success of last year -- when it selected Jason Dieter or Eric Dade -- in the National Professional Soccer League's amateur draft today in Canton, Ohio.

Commissioner Steve Paxos will conduct the draft, which will include a territorial round and four additional rounds of the nation's top college players.

In last year's draft, the Spirit picked Dieter on the first round and Dade on the second. Both were productive members of the team that won the NPSL's American Division regular-season title. Twelve of the 65 players drafted last year played in the league.

The Spirit, whose 40-27-13 regular-season matched the Wichita Wings' as the best in the 13-team league, will draft No. 12 ahead of Wichita.

As a result of trades, the Spirit also has a No. 7 from the Chicago Power and a No. 11 from the Kansas City Attack in the first round and a No. 6 from the Dayton Dynamo in the third.

Returning Thunder

The Denver Thunder, the NPSL's weakest franchise, reportedly will be moved back to Rockford, Ill., as the Illinois Thunder. The Thunder played in Rockford for two seasons, then moved to Denver before last season.

Denver was next-to-last in home attendance last season with a 2,127 average, ahead only of the Canton Invaders (2,072). The Thunder finished last with a 3-37 record, losing its final 32 games.

"Money was a problem," a league source said. "As far as proximity to the rest of the teams, Denver is in the middle of nowhere, and every road trip was an expensive flight. There's a new group in Rockford interested in bringing the team back."

Livin' for the weekend

Now that it no longer has to compete with a hockey team for choice dates at the Baltimore Arena, the Spirit will play 18 of its 20 home games on Friday or Saturday nights this season. The other two home dates are the Wednesday evenings of the Thanksgiving and Christmas weeks.

Last season the Spirit had eight Saturday dates and none on Friday.

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