Contract sends Harbor west, not to Baltimore

November 01, 1994|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Sun Staff Writer

Jean Harbor isn't going to play for the Spirit after all.

The Spirit was burned by a clause in Harbor's contract with the Montreal Impact of the outdoor American Professional Soccer League, allowing Montreal to assign him as late as Nov. 1 to another APSL team for the winter season.

Harbor played last weekend for the APSL's Los Angeles Salsa in an exhibition against Chivas, a Mexican team. He is assigned to the Salsa through the winter.

The Spirit signed Harbor under the assumption he would join the team, as a free agent, after Montreal's final game Oct. 15. But Harbor phoned Spirit vice president Drew Forrester and said he was "beat up and emotionally drained" from the Impact's season and wouldn't arrive until Nov. 2.

"Turns out Montreal could assign him to another APSL team up until Nov. 1," Forrester said. "We're disappointed and feel misled by Jean."

Harbor, who played for the Blast during the 1991-92 season, welcomed the assignment to Los Angeles.

"I wanted to play for Baltimore," Harbor said by phone from his motel room in Fullerton, Calif. "But I would have had to adjust from outdoors to indoors and back again to outdoor next spring because the Salsa wants me to play for them then, too.

"This way I can keep on playing outdoor and don't have to adjust. When Baltimore first approached me, I didn't know I'd have this opportunity in L.A."

Spirit coach Dave MacWilliams was planning on using Harbor, 29, as a target man -- a strong player who can absorb abuse and sometimes play with his back to the goal -- along with Tarik Walker and Derrick Marcano. When he was with the Blast in his only indoor season, Harbor had 14 goals and seven assists in 31 games.

"We would have gone after somebody else if we had known this was going to happen," MacWilliams said. "In that season in Baltimore, we found out Jean was a force indoors."

Meanwhile, the good news for the Spirit is that Walker's knee injury, suffered in Saturday night's loss to the Harrisburg Heat, is not torn cartilage as originally thought. Walker, who went into the Harrisburg game with a sprained ankle, may be able to play here Friday against the Canton Invaders.

"The news on Tarik helps cushion the blow of losing Jean," Forrester said.

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