Newcomer Parry hardly a beginner as Spirit finisher

October 19, 1994|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Sun Staff Writer

No sooner had the trade for Jon Parry been announced than the Spirit's phones started ringing. General managers of other teams wanted to talk to Spirit vice president Drew Forrester.

"I must have gotten six calls from GMs," Forrester said. "They were upset. Then they said, 'Congratulations.' "

They were upset because they also coveted Parry. They offered congratulations because the Spirit had landed the National Professional Soccer League's top American-born scorer over the past two seasons.

When the Spirit opens its third NPSL season Friday at 7:35 against the Chicago Power at the Baltimore Arena, Parry will lead the offense. He scored 72 goals last season for the Kansas City Attack, fifth best in the league and 10 more than Spirit leader Paul Wright, who is not returning here this season. Parry has 318 points the past two seasons.

"Jon will score goals," said Spirit coach Dave MacWilliams, noting that Parry scored eight goals in two exhibition victories over the Harrisburg Heat.

"Any time there's a loose ball, Jon will stick it home. I'm impressed by the way he finishes. He's a feisty, gritty kid."

At 5 feet 7 and 145 pounds, Parry, 25, is not physically imposing. Yet, in his 2 1/2 seasons with Kansas City, he never missed a

game, playing in 99.

He never missed one in four seasons at Rockhurst (Mo.) College, either, and has to go back to his senior year at Immaculata High in Leavenworth, Kan., for his last soccer injury, a broken collarbone.

"My advantage is quickness and a low center of gravity," Parry said. "I'm strong on the ball; when I dribble, I don't get bumped off the ball."

Parry is regarded as an impact player, much like Wright and the Spirit's Tim Wittman, who was having a banner season until he suffered a season-ending knee injury last December.

"Wright won five or six games for us last year, and Tim won four or five before he got hurt," Forrester said. "If Jon puts up numbers like he did last season, he'll win some games."

Exploratory talks for the Sept. 23 trade that brought Parry here for defender Eric Dade and future considerations began in late July.

The Attack was brimming with scorers, with the addition of former Spirit player Goran Hunjak and ex-Harrisburg Heat player Lee Tschantret.

But Kansas City was shy of defenders. Finally, Attack coach Zoran Savic told Forrester he would consider trading Parry for Dade.

Parry said he was ready for a change because he and Attack president Don Kincaid "were butting heads" over the renegotiation of his contract.

"Plus, he was backing off his promise to let me play in the Continental Indoor Soccer League during the off-season," Parry said.

"And Hunjak was coming in and the other guys were coming back, so they felt it was best to bolster the defense with Dade."

Spirit goalie/assistant coach Cris Vaccaro said Parry will provide one thing Wright and Hunjak didn't -- a different and more team-oriented dimension to the midfield.

"Paul and Goran, after they got the ball to the point man, always wanted theball back so they could go one-on-one," Vaccaro said. "Nothing against them -- it was their style.

"But we didn't make runs off the ball like we can with Jon. Jon makes runs to create more things, like passes to other people. We won't be as stagnant. It'll keep the defense honest."

The consequence, Vaccaro said, is that opponents will face the prospect of Spirit guns coming at them from all angles.



Team .. .. .. Year .. .. GP .. 3PG .. 2PG .. 1PG .. Ast. .. Pts. .. LR

Kansas City 1991-92 . .. 19 .. . 0 ... 17 .. . 0 .. .. 7 .. . 41 .. --

Kansas City 1992-93 . .. 40 .. . 4 ... 60 .. . 2 .. . 27 ... 161 . 5th

Kansas City 1993-94 . .. 40 .. . 5 ... 44 ... 23 .. . 31 ... 157 . 7th

Totals .. .. .. .. .. .. 99 .. . 9 .. 121 ... 25 .. . 65 ... 359

Note: LR is league rank

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