Cooper group makes move for Tampa-St. Pete team

November 16, 1994|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Sun Staff Writer

It appears former Spirit president and coach Kenny Cooper will wind up in Tampa-St. Petersburg with a 1995-96 National Professional Soccer League expansion franchise.

Sports agent Tony Agnone, a partner in the group that includes Cooper and Virginia businessman and minor-league baseball team owner Bill Collins, is in Tampa this week negotiating a lease that is expected to be signed early next month. The team will play at the Bay Front Center in St. Petersburg.

"We conducted a four-month search and had a lot of good cities, but Tampa-St. Pete was head and shoulders above the rest," said Cooper, who's in England for his father's funeral. "We want to be in a win-win situation and I think we will be there."

Cooper said that the Bay Front Center is tailor-made for indoor soccer, holds 7,500 and is only nine miles from Tampa. There is a base of 25,000 soccer-playing youngsters and a core of loyalists from the days of the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the old North American Soccer League.

"I think we'll have a carbon copy of Baltimore, where fans responded so magnificently," Cooper said.

Spirit Reserves selected

Spirit assistant coach/goalie Cris Vaccaro, who will direct the Spirit Reserves, a farm team, has selected his first 10 players: Mike Conway (Spirit, 1992-93), Kevin Wise (Towson State), Craig Cuocci (Curley High), Jim Gurry (Southern High), Buddy Barlage (Southern High), Pat Coyle (Towson State), Chad Zimmerman (Towson State), James Downing (Anne Arundel CC), Mike Liggins (Catonsville CC) and Matt Ruopp (Boston U).

The Reserves will play in the Thursday Men's Unlimited League

opening Dec. 8 at Du Burns Arena. Four players will be added next week.

NPSL salutes Pulisic

The Harrisburg Heat's Mark Pulisic was named NPSL Player of the Week after scoring 19 points in a three-games-in-three-days stretch. He had eight goals, including the game-winner, against the Dayton Dynamo, as Harrisburg won two games and lost the third by one point.

The Spirit's Kevin Sloan was a candidate for the honor after scoring 10 points in Friday's 21-10 win over the Chicago Power. He is the league's No. 3 scorer with 40 points behind Dayton's Dennis Brose (50) and the Cleveland Crunch's Zoran Karic (46).

Miscellaneous

Fans can pick up free coupons at Blockbuster Video stores and be admitted for half-price to the Spirit's game against the Buffalo Blizzard Friday at 8:05 p.m. at the Baltimore Arena. No purchase at Blockbuster is necessary. . . The game will be televised by ESPN2. . . The Spirit's Jon Parry ran yesterday for the first time since he sprained his ankle Nov. 4 and is probable for the Blizzard. Vaccaro, the No. 1 goalie who missed the past four games with a pulled hamstring, is questionable. He missed yesterday's workout because of the flu. No. 2 goalie Joe Mallia has won three of his four starts. Jamie Christie (hamstring), Tarik Walker (ankle) and Brad Smith (knee) didn't run during yesterday's workout and are questionable for Buffalo and Dayton on Saturday.

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