Spirit opens camp in search of new offense

September 21, 1994|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Sun Staff Writer

One thing appears certain as the Spirit opens its first training camp under new coach Dave MacWilliams today at Du Burns Arena.

Paul Wright, last season's leading scorer while on loan from the Los Angeles Salsa of the summer outdoor American Professional Soccer League, is unlikely to return. Wright intends to play in tournaments and exhibitions this fall and winter with the Salsa.

In fact, few of the Spirit's top offensive players will be back for the team's National Professional Soccer League season.

Goran Hunjak, the No. 2 scorer, has signed with the Kansas City Attack of the NPSL. Rusty Troy, tied with Tarik Walker and Clark Brisson for No. 3, has returned to his native Dallas and will play there. Walker will return and Brisson might if he is not involved in a long-discussed trade for Kevin Sloan of the Dayton Dynamo. Rob Ukrop, a rookie last year, could be part of the trade.

MacWilliams and goalie-assistant coach Cris Vaccaro also will have Tim Wittman, who was the No. 8 scorer despite playing in only 13 games. Wittman is expected to be in camp today as he launches his comeback from major knee surgery.

MacWilliams will have only part of the squad at Du Burns today. He'll have locals such as Barry Stitz, Lance Johnson, Jason Dieter and Wittman and players from last month's minicamp, including Derrick Marcano, Chris Morgan, Jamie Christie, Eric Smith, Matt Ruopp, Vince Moskunas and goalies Mark Puican and Joe Mallia.

Another goalie, Spirit draft choice Jeff Causey, will be on hand, along with Joe and Dave Roy, midfielders out of Villanova, and Chris Love, a former Oakland Mills star.

Most of the rest of the players are scheduled to report for the first full-squad workout next Monday.

One exception is Walker, NPSL Rookie of the Year, who is finishing up with the Las Vegas Dustdevils in the Continental Indoor Soccer League playoffs. Another is Eric Dade, in the CISL playoffs with the Dallas Sidekicks.

Defender Doug Neely, who's in the CISL playoffs with the Anaheim Splash, informed the Spirit he wanted to stay in California until January and then come to Baltimore. The club said it wanted him only as a season-long player.

Dan O'Keefe, last season's No. 6 scorer, said he is retiring. Joe Koziol, a free agent, is discussing with the Spirit the possibility of returning. Mike Stankovic, the player-assistant coach the past two years, will not be back.

The inescapable conclusion is that the Spirit will have a dramatically new look when it opens its season Oct. 21 at the Baltimore Arena against the Chicago Power.

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