Spirit has youthful look as training camp opens Team no longer relying on 'recycled players'

October 02, 1997|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,SUN STAFF

The old line about having to buy a program to identify the players figures to apply to the Baltimore Spirit when the team opens its season later this month.

While coach Mike Stankovic did have a dozen familiar faces to look at when training camp opened yesterday, they constitute fewer than half the players taking part in preseason drills at the Du Burns Arena in Canton.

The big difference in the personnel from previous camps is a substantial increase in the number of young prospects already signed to club contracts.

"We really want to look at bringing in some new players and not relying so much on recycled players," Spirit general manager Drew Forrester said. "But where do you find new players, guys who can play the indoor game?"

A potential answer came this summer when the Eastern Indoor (( Soccer League came into existence.

"It's a league for guys playing indoor for the first time and the EISL gave us 150 players to look at, most of whom we did not have a line on," Forrester said.

Stankovic said: "We will probably have a pretty good turnover in personnel, and it will take some time for the team to jell, but it's going to be interesting and we'll be all right in the long run."

The Spirit signed seven players out of the EISL and is confident it did a good job of shopping. Among the signees are forward Reinhold Huber and midfielder Renato Sampaio, who finished 1-2 in league scoring, with Huber tallying 42 goals in just 24 games.

"These players are just the types Mike likes to work with -- young guys who bring enthusiasm and energy with them and are willing to work hard," Forrester said. "For the most part, the way teams in the [NPSL] have always done it is to sign guys, lose them and sign others. They're good players, but some of them were playing in their fourth league and the enthusiasm wanes after a while."

NOTES: The Spirit will be a young team, with five of the dozen returning veterans entering just their second year in the league and four more their third. . The team will play three preseason games, beginning with a contest against the Philadelphia Kixx Wednesday (11 a.m.) at Du Burns Arena, before opening in Philadelphia Oct. 25. The first home game is Nov. 1 at the Baltimore Arena against St. Louis.

Spirit roster


Goalkeeper -- Jim McCombs.

Midfielders -- Barry Stitz, Jamie Christie, Bo Vuckovic, Albert Oni, Sasa Zuric, Shane Dougherty. Forwards -- Branko Segota, Mike Henning.

F: Defenders -- Lance Johnson, Ronnie Simmons, Todd Hicks

Contracted newcomers


Contracted newcomers

Goalkeeper -- Khalil Azmi. Defenders -- Nate Fairchild, Mike Mekelburg, Carlton Williams. Midfielder -- Renato Sampaio. Forwards -- Mike Harper, Reinhold Huber

Free agents

Goalkeeper -- Mike Baker, Fjega Dimitrov. Midfielders -- Antonello Accomando, Guillermo Castaneda, Dalibor Ignjatic, Radomir Mihajlovic, Jean Bertin Tonje, Marcos Grillo. Forwards -- Silvio Ginnattasio, Jake Ouimet, Matt Tirschman. Defenders -- Wendell Regis

Pub Date: 10/02/97

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