Blast newcomer Sean Bowers has been the perfect fit in Baltimore except for one small matter, and that too will change once he gets his house sold in Detroit.
Temporarily living in a two-bedroom apartment here with his wife, Maria, and their three small children certainly hasn't hampered the outstanding two-way play he has provided his new team this season.
Just 10 games in, the longtime Detroit Rocker has shown the versatility to play two positions at one high, composed level, the durability to regularly finish chances at one end and block shots at the other, and the desire to make a difference.
In his second game at midfield, after starting the season in the back, Bowers put up eight points, including the overtime decider in the Blast's 15-13 win against the Milwaukee Wave on Saturday. He goes into tonight's 7:35 rematch with the Wave at the Baltimore Arena tied for third on the team in scoring with 18 points.
"Sean has added a new dimension for us, and you saw what he was able to do last weekend with the point production," said Blast coach Kevin Healey. "Big players know when a team needs a big performance, and I think that's what he is."
Bowers, 33, came to the Blast (5-5) in the Major Indoor Soccer League's dispersal draft in August following the dissolution of the National Professional Soccer League. He played all seven seasons with the Rockers and built a resume that's backed up with hard work, which starts in practice and carries over into games.
He was the NPSL's Rookie of the Year when he broke in on the Rockers' 1991-92 championshp season, a two-time Defensive Player of the Year, and just this season became only the second player in NPSL/MISL history to record 600 points and 600 blocks.
But he said that honors and numbers are secondary to getting wins and setting an example.
"When you're younger, you look at how you perform by statistics. But as you get older, it doesn't really matter who scores or who does what - it's just more of who wins," Bowers said. "I know this club is pretty hungry for a championship, and that's all that concerns me, because if we win one here, then I'll be the little extra that helped bring it."
The major reason Bowers came here was the welcome mat tossed in front of him by many familiar faces. And he can't wait for his Detroit house to be sold so he can buy one here and officially call Baltimore home.
He was a high school rival of Blast midfielder Paul Wright in San Diego and played alongside him outdoors with the Kansas City Wizards in 1996 and 1997, Major League Soccer's first two years. He also played indoors with defender Doug Neely for the Anaheim Splash in the defunct Continental Indoor Soccer League. And at Detroit, he was a teammate of fellow Blast newcomer Dewan Bader and forward Lee Tschantret.
"The thing I like most about Sean is he brings professionalism," said Tschantret. "He works hard every day in practice, and he works hard every game. That's something the younger players need to see - and even some of the older players. You get reinforced a bit.
"He's always chalkboard talk when you're playing against him. You have to watch for his shot, his work rate and his blocks. He brings a complete package, and the more players you have like that, the better your team is."
Bowers advises against going to him for defensive tips, because that part of his game is unconventional. Players are taught to watch the ball while defending, but the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Bowers - much like a cornerback covering a wide receiver in football - watches his opponent's eyes, instead.
"It's just one of those things that I picked up early in my career, and I found that it's easier for me," he said. "I get people juking me more if I start watching the ball. Also, when they get their head up, they can see things like a run to the back post, and I can see them see that, so maybe I can throw a foot out and get a block. It's just something that I've done since Day 1, and it's always kind of worked for me."