Catonsville CC picked for World Cup training

April 07, 1994|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Sun Staff Writer

Catonsville Community College has been selected as an official training site for the 1994 World Cup soccer tournament that begins June 17.

Training at the Baltimore County college will be the national team of Saudi Arabia that will play two of its first-round games at RFK Stadium in Washington.

Two-a-day practice sessions will begin June 11, and most of them will be open to the public, according to Gary Keedy, athletic director at Catonsville. About 4,000 spectators can be accommodated at the practices.

Officials from Catonsville and the Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks are considering a youth's camp at the site as well during the time the Saudi Arabian team is training.

"Nothing is definite right now, but there's a possibility," said Keedy. "I know the event is upon us, but everything has to be done through the World Cup committee, and security is very tight."

Keedy and Catonsville mens soccer coach Byron Ivins, is hoping the presence of the Saudi Arabian team will boost the programs at Catonsville as well as soccer in America. This past season, Catonsville was 15-3-1 under Ivins, who is in his second year.

"We were a late entry into the biding process, but a once-in-a-lifetime shot has come through for this college," said Ivins, who gives a lot of credit to Brian Farrell, director of camps and special projects, for bringing the World Cup to Catonsville. "This is a great opportunity for the college as well as a positive economic factor for the area."

The school was selected after an exhaustive search, according to Jensen.

"Catonsville filled all our requirements with regard to the field and the facilities, and once the Saudi football federation examined it, Catonsville became their first choice," he said. "Baltimore-area soccer fans interested in the World Cup will now have a little bit of it in their own back yard, and we're excited."

Saudi Arabia will be making its first appearance in the World Cup, having qualified in October 1993 after beating Iran in Qatar.

The Saudi team will play its first of three first-round games at RFK Stadium on June 20 against Holland. The team will then face Morocco at Giants Stadium in New Jersey on June 25 and return to RFK on June 29 for its third match against Belgium.

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