MacWilliams' line is show, not tell

August 03, 1994|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Sun Staff Writer

New Spirit coach Dave MacWilliams doesn't want to hear a peep from returning players about their abilities. He will insist on seeing for himself.

"Don't tell me; show me," MacWilliams said. "As a player, all I wanted was an opportunity to show my skills. That's what these guys will get."

Yesterday, as he studied the Spirit's year-end roster from last season, MacWilliams noted that the status of many players is uncertain.

One reason is that the Spirit wanted to let MacWilliams, as the new coach, pick the squad. Another is that players are waiting to see what develops with Major League Soccer, an outdoor league scheduled to start next spring.

"Everybody's waiting," said Spirit veteran Tim Wittman, who may try to come back after major knee surgery last season. "MLS will play less games and pay better money. If a guy can play outdoor as well as indoor, he'll probably do it. The question is: Will teams allow that?"

If Wittman's knee is sound, MacWilliams said, he would welcome him back. There also would be spots for leading scorers Paul Wright, the property of the Los Angeles Salsa of the outdoor American Professional Soccer League, and Goran Hunjak, now playing for the Washington Warthogs of the Continental Indoor Soccer League.

The Spirit probably will not get Wright on loan again if the Salsa picks him for its venture into the Mexican first division outdoor season next winter. Hunjak, a free agent, is entertaining offers from other teams in the National Professional Soccer League. The Spirit may or may not join the bidding.

The Spirit is trying to complete a Clark Brisson-for-Kevin Sloan trade with the Dayton Dynamo. Dan O'Keefe is considering retirement, Rusty Troy has left Baltimore for good for his native Texas, and goalie Cris Vaccaro has changed his mind about retiring and will be back in goal.

Jason Dieter and Barry Stitz are entering the second year of two-year contracts. The Spirit plans to renew the options of Tarik Walker, Eric Dade, Lance Johnson, Ricky Bush, Shawn Boehmcke and Rob Ukrop, although he wants to try out for a team in England.

The Spirit will attempt to re-sign star defender Doug Neely. Joe Koziol, who scored 41 goals two years ago, will be invited to camp, and John Abe might be. Billy Reinhardt and other young veterans will be invited to a minicamp Aug. 19-20.

"A couple of the minicamp sessions will be for veterans who are in town," MacWilliams said. "I've never seen some of these guys. The other sessions will be for our draft choices and other college players. "

Mike Stankovic's role, if any, has yet to be determined. A longtime assistant and, in recent years, a sometime player, Stankovic was passed over for the job that MacWilliams got, but owner Bill Stealey said he would like to keep him in the organization.

"I hope we have a lot of competition in camp," MacWilliams said. "It breeds success and brings out the best in people."

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