Spirit picks Va.'s Bates in 1st round

December 16, 1993|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Staff Writer

Thanks to some last-minute maneuvering, the Spirit obtained the rights to one of the top players in the National Professional Soccer League draft yesterday.

For an undisclosed amount of cash, the Spirit obtained the third pick in the first round from the Chicago Power and chose Brian Bates, a defender-midfielder from Virginia. Bates helped the Cavaliers win three straight NCAA Division I titles.

What pleased Spirit coach Kenny Cooper was that the team acquired Bates without surrendering a future draft choice or a player.

"We had lunch with Bill just before the draft and he said he was willing to spend some money," Cooper said, referring to Spirit owner Bill Stealey. "Money talks."

Cooper feared Bates would be gone if the Spirit hadn't dealt for the No. 3 pick. The Spirit had the No. 11 pick in the draft based on inverse 1992-93 NPSL standings.

"Bates graded out as one of the highest," Cooper said. "He was a hot commodity. If it hadn't been for our maneuvering, someone else would have taken him early."

When his Tigers faced Virginia in the NCAA semifinals, Princeton coach Bob Briley was impressed by Bates.

"He would have made any Top 20 team an immediate contender for the NCAA title," Briley said. "He has terrific vision and a great sense of when to go forward and create scoring opportunities. He's one of the best players in college soccer."

With its other first-round choice, the Spirit drafted goalie Jeff Causey, Bates' teammate at Virginia. Causey had 27 career shutouts.

"At 6-3, 195, it's almost impossible to beat him," said Virginia Tech coach Jerry Cheynet. "He's the type of goalie that intimidates you into thinking you're not going to score."

Loyola defender Billy Harte was the Spirit's territorial choice. Virginia coach Bruce Arena said: "There aren't many players who he won't get the better of over 90 minutes."

The Spirit's other draftees are Princeton midfielder Joe Thieman and Virginia Tech forward Jason Entlich.

The draftees conceivably could sign and play this season. They're still in school, however, and more likely will join the Spirit next season.

Two local players were drafted by the Harrisburg Heat: F Rob Elliot (Calvert Hall, UMBC) was the seventh pick in the third round, and F Todd Haskins (Howard High, North Carolina) was the seventh pick in the fourth round.

SPIRIT DRAFT PICKS

Territorial draft

Billy Harte (No. 11, defender, Loyola): A Middletown, N.J., native, Harte started 85 of 86 games in four years. A fullback, he was the anchor of the defense that allowed only nine goals in 23 games this fall, an average of 0.38, lowest in school history. He shut out some of college soccer's best forwards, including George Mason's Tamir Linhart, James Madison's Brian Bennett and William and Mary's Steve Jolley.

First round

Brian Bates (No. 3, from Chicago for an undisclosed amount of cash), defender/midfielder, Virginia): A preseason All-America and four-year starter, Bates is one of 15 finalists for the Missouri Athletic Club's Player of the Year award, one of college soccer's top two honors. A resident of Woodbridge, Va., Bates starred for Virginia's three straight NCAA Division I champions. He had four goals and four assists this fall, one in the Cavaliers' second-round playoff victory over Loyola.

Jeff Causey (No. 11, goalie, Virginia): With 27 shutouts and 56 wins, Causey is the most successful goalie in school history. He was born in Fairfax, Va., and raised in Gainesville, Va. He was the goalie for Virginia's three consecutive NCAA champions and is the only goalie with shutouts in three straight NCAA championship games.

Second round

The Spirit traded its selection last summer for the rights to Dan O'Keefe, who is on the team.

Third round

Joe Thieman (No. 11, midfielder, Princeton): Thieman led Princeton to the Final Four, where it lost to Virginia in the semifinals. A Vienna, Va., resident, Thieman is Princeton's all-time leader in assists with 24. Said Virginia coach Bruce Arena: "He makes up for his small size (5-foot-7, 145 pounds) with smart play and a great work ethic. There isn't a coach in the country who couldn't use this little guy."

Fourth round

Jason Entlich (No. 11, forward, Virginia Tech): He played in 79 games, scoring 30 goals and adding 16 assists, and this fall broke the school single-season record for points. He is from Fairfax, Va. Said Towson State coach Frank Olszewski: "Jason is the kind of player who's probably tailor-made for indoor. He's elusive in tight spaces and has a good, quick shot."

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