Spirit, needing injection of scoring, acquires Terror midfielder Vuckovic Team also obtains Glenn, draft pick from Silverbacks

November 07, 1996|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,SUN STAFF

Bojan "Bo" Vuckovic knows what the Spirit expects from him and he has every intention of delivering.

"They're bringing me to Baltimore to score goals," he said, "and that's what I do best."

The Spirit is searching for offense. On defense, the team is third in the 15-team National Professional Soccer League with a stingy 10.3 yield, but third from last in scoring with 9.8.

Yesterday, the Spirit purchased Vuckovic, 26, a midfielder, from the Tampa Bay Terror for the most the Spirit has paid for a player in its five years here, general manager Drew Forrester said.

"It wasn't six figures, but it's a major investment," said Forrester, declining to be more specific.

The Spirit also purchased forward Jimmy Glenn and a first-round pick in December's NPSL draft from the Cincinnati Silverbacks. Glenn was the Silverbacks' No. 5 scorer as a rookie last season with 38 points and was Clemson's top scorer in 1994.

Vuckovic, who will practice with the Spirit today and tomorrow and play in Saturday night's road game against the Harrisburg Heat, last season tied midfielder Kevin Sloan, then with the Spirit, for ninth in NPSL scoring with 142 points.

In 35 games, he had 63 goals and 23 assists. He was NPSL Player of the Week on Nov. 11 following a seven-goal performance against the Cleveland Crunch.

"Mike and I felt Bo made the most impact of any newcomer in the league last season," Forrester said, referring to player-coach Mike Stankovic.

"He has showed signs he could be a franchise player in the right environment."

Why, then, did winless Tampa Bay relinquish him?

"Bo was our top gun, true, but we're at the point where we need three or four proven scorers, all within our salary structure," coach Kenny Cooper said. "We're getting them, one by one. Bo can help a contender like Baltimore more than he can us."

Vuckovic, who signed a contract for this season and next, is tied with Stankovic for 15th in NPSL scoring with 11 points, including six in 0-4 Tampa Bay's two losses to the Spirit.

"There's no question he'll be a big contributor for us," Stankovic said. "He'll give us more depth on the power play and is a scoring threat on every free kick and set play."

Pub Date: 11/07/96

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