All-Star weekend proves hit with Spirit Attendance gratifying for event's host team

NPSL notebook

February 11, 1997|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,SUN STAFF

Attendance for the weekend was 11,025, the All-Star gala dinner was sold out and the Spirit, for all its efforts, figures to come out financially unscathed.

"Excellent," Spirit general manager Drew Forrester said of the weekend culminating with Sunday's National Professional Soccer League All-Star Game, won by the National Conference, 20-14.

Attendance at Saturday's Skills Challenge at the Baltimore Arena was 2,708 and Sunday's crowd of 8,317 was the third largest in the league's 10-year All-Star Game history.

Counting the All-Star Game -- which the NPSL does -- the Spirit's average attendance rose from 4,829 to 5,062, 11th highest in the 15-team league.

"At the very least, we'll break even," Forrester said. "We had an unbelievable sale of novelties and souvenirs -- almost sold out. The All-Star gala dinner Saturday was sold out at 262, and 278 of the 300 tickets for Sunday's post-game party for club owners, sponsors, Spirit staff and season-ticket holders were sold."

$100 for winners

Each player on the winning National squad received $100, each on the losing American $50.

Neither the NPSL nor the Spirit would disclose those figures, perhaps because they are embarrassingly small. The person who disclosed them did so without being critical of the amounts, but pointed out that the winning and losing All-Star Game shares in the old Major Indoor Soccer League were $1,000 and $800, respectively.

Quotes of week

Buffalo Blizzard forward Rudy Pikuzinski, on inadvertently knocking a ball past his goalie minutes before becoming the third player in the history of the NPSL to score 400 regular-season goals: "Man, I never thought I'd nutmeg my own keeper for my 400th."

Kansas City defender Nate Houser, on refereeing Attack scrimmages while recovering from a toe injury: "I've learned I'm not an official."


NPSL Player of the Week is Genoni Martinez, a Wichita Wings defender from Mexico who scored the winning goal in a double-overtime victory over the Spirit and had seven points in a 13-11 win over the Detroit Rockers. NPSL attendance last week passed 1 million for the fifth straight year and on the earliest date ever. Home Team Sports will show the All-Star Game on tape delay tomorrow at 9: 30 p.m.

Pub Date: 2/11/97

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