Dougherty could play for Spirit on Friday

December 25, 1996|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,SUN STAFF

Shane Dougherty was drafted Thursday, practiced with the Spirit and agreed to terms Monday, and signed a three-year contract for an undisclosed salary yesterday that is expected to be approved by the National Professional Soccer League tomorrow.

And next? Play in the Spirit's game Friday against the Philadelphia Kixx, perhaps?

Indeed, that's the plan for the former Fallston High and University of Maryland star who was the No. 1 choice in the NPSL draft.

"It takes four or five days to adjust to indoors, but it's possible he'll play Friday," said player-coach Mike Stankovic. "It'll also depend on how the game goes. We want him to feel comfortable."

Indoor experience is not a major problem. He played a lot indoors from the age of about 10 through high school, when, as a senior, he was on the American Legion Post 38 national indoor champions. He did not play indoors while at Maryland, however.

"I'm just trying to adjust," Dougherty said. "I'll be OK if I keep it simple -- don't try to do too much, make the simple pass, play the way I'm facing."

Stealey seeks investors

Spirit owner Bill Stealey is looking for high-profile local business leaders willing to buy a partial stake in the club and spend time ferreting out season-ticket buyers. They would be partners, although Stealey still would prefer to keep controlling interest.

Stealey has estimated that the team will lose $200,000 this season, same as last season. The club lost more than twice that the previous two seasons.

The Spirit ranks 11th in home attendance in the 15-team league with a 4,511 average. The team's crowd count last season was 5,037, lowest in its first four NPSL seasons.

"We're a thousand [season] tickets away from breaking even, and I think if I was up here full time, I'd get 2,000 tickets without working on it," he told the Daily Record. "But being a part-time professional golfer and a full-time CEO of a software company, it kind of makes it tough."

Stealey declined, through a Spirit spokesman, to comment for this article.

Miscellaneous

Climbing steadily in the NPSL scoring race, the Spirit's Bo Vuckovic is tied for eighth with ex-Spirit Franklin McIntosh of the Cincinnati Silverbacks with 50 points.

Pub Date: 12/25/96

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