Former Spirit coach Cooper narrows search for franchise

August 19, 1994|By Doug Brown

A group headed by former Spirit president and coach Kenny Cooper has narrowed its search for a 1995-96 National Professional Soccer League expansion franchise to Greensboro, N.C., and Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.

"We'll zero in on those two," said Cooper, who also was considering Orlando and Jacksonville, Fla., San Antonio, Houston and Fairfax, Va.

Cooper and partners Bill Collins and Tony Agnone have just returned from the Tampa Bay area. Cooper and Agnone will present their case to Greensboro officials on Monday.

"The Bay Front Center Arena in St. Pete is tailor-made for indoor soccer, holds 7,500 and is only nine miles from Tampa," Cooper said. "There's a good soccer base, with 25,000 kids playing and a core of fans from the days when Tampa had a team in the old North American Soccer League. I want a carbon copy of Baltimore, where fans responded magnificently."

From Greensboro, Cooper will head to his native England for 10 days. By early next month, he said he hopes to have a franchise.

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