Spirit's newcomers to kick in for Harrisburg exhibition game SOCCER

October 14, 1993|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Staff Writer

A few may be fighting for jobs, but most of the Spirit newcomers will be on display as evidence of the club's off-season endeavors.

In its only exhibition game before its National Professional Soccer League opener on Oct. 29 here against the Chicago Power, the Spirit will entertain the Harrisburg Heat tomorrow at 7:35 p.m. at the Baltimore Arena.

"This will be a good test after two weeks of training camp," coach Kenny Cooper said. "Harrisburg was the best team we played last year."

Cooper, and the fans, will get a good look at four quality newcomers. A fifth, Rob Ukrop, a former Davidson star who was the leading scorer in NCAA Division I last year with 31 goals, is excused from the exhibition to attend a college friend's wedding in Nashville, Tenn.

Another newcomer, Paul Wright, is not expected to play after suffering a hamstring injury a few weeks ago with the Los Angeles Salsa of the outdoor American Professional Soccer League.

Of particular interest to Cooper are rookie draftees Tarik Walker of Virginia Tech, Lance Johnson of Towson State, Dan O'Keefe and Clark Brisson.

O'Keefe, acquired in a trade with the St. Louis Ambush, is the NPSL's all-time leading goal scorer. Brisson, a former South Carolina All-American, sat out last season after a rookie year in which he was the NPSL's 18th-leading scorer with the Canton Invaders.

"They'll all be on the team," Cooper said, referring to Brisson, Ukrop, Walker, Johnson, O'Keefe and Wright.

Four players on the 22-player squad will be cut before the opener. The Spirit will carry 16 players on the regular roster and two as developmental reserves.

NOTES: Mike Conway and goalie Brian Hartlove are questionable for the game with the flu and a hamstring strain, respectively. . . . Eric Dade may miss the game after a summer season with the Dallas Sidekicks of the Continental Indoor Soccer League. He will join the team after attending to personal business in his hometown of Buffalo, N.Y. . . . Like Joe Koziol, the Spirit's No. 3 scorer last season, Steve Nichols is dissatisfied with the club's money offer and probably will not play.

D Steve Boardman, traded to St. Louis for O'Keefe and then to the Detroit Rockers, showed up at practice with an eye to rejoining the team. "I'm hoping Detroit and the Spirit can work something out to bring me here," Boardman said. "My girlfriend is here and I'm going to stay even if I don't play for the Spirit." . . . D Doug Neely arrived Monday, a week late with club permission, after a three-month season with the Los Angeles United team. "Our team was really bad, but I had a good time and it was nice to be home in California," he said.

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