A-League Dynamo's move here seen near Columbia group dealing for half interest in team

September 10, 1997|By Lowell E. Sunderland | Lowell E. Sunderland,SUN STAFF

The leader of a Columbia group trying to move the A-League's Carolina Dynamo to the Baltimore area next season said after negotiations here with the team's owner yesterday that "we're close to a final agreement."

A.J. Ali, the 34-year-old businessman who heads the local group, said paperwork giving each of the partners half interest in the franchise should be completed by the end of this month, when A-League owners have their annual meeting. The A-League is pro soccer's top minor league, just below Major League Soccer.

Neil Macpherson, the Dynamo's owner as well as a league HTC official, would retain half interest and continue to live in the Greensboro-High Point, N.C., area, Ali said.

Dynamo general manager Buckley Andrews, who took part of yesterday's meeting, would move here with the same job.

Ali said his co-investors in the team are auto dealers Steve and Robert Russel, Wilde Lake High School boys soccer coach Dave Nesbitt, Towson lawyer and Columbia resident Richard Schreibstein and advertising agency owner Chris Cotter.

The group plans to have the team play at UMBC Stadium for the next two years and then likely move into a new soccer stadium to be built in the Columbia area, Ali said.

He revealed no other details and would not talk, either, about an acquisition price.

The Dynamo, a five-year-old team that plays in High Point, N.C., is 19-10 going into the second round of A-League playoffs. The club beat Major League Soccer's Tampa Bay Mutiny, 4-3, in an exhibition decided by shootout Aug. 26.

The Dynamo won back-to-back national titles in the United Systems of Independent Soccer Leagues organization in 1993 and 1994.

Pub Date: 9/10/97

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