Pittsburgh returns to indoor league


After a five-year absence, Pittsburgh returned to indoor soccer yesterday.

Team president Bernie Mullen said he will head a group known as Pittsburgh Soccer Inc., which has the funds to operate the Major Soccer League expansion team three years.

MSL commissioner Earl Foreman said Pittsburgh would play in the Eastern Division, which includes the Baltimore Blast.

The Pittsburgh Spirit dropped out of the then-Major Indoor Soccer League in 1986 after seven seasons.

Foreman said the Eastern and Western divisions would be re-aligned before next season because of the entry of Pittsburgh and the possible addition of Buffalo for the 1991-92 season.

Among the candidates for Pittsburgh coach may be former Spirit defender Bob Vosmaer, former Spirit and Blast forward Paul Child, former Spirit and Blast defender Dave MacKenzie, former Spirit defender John O'Hara and Robert Morris soccer coach John Kowalski, who served as interim coach for the U.S. National team from February to the end of March.

Child, MacKenzie and O'Hara were three of the most popular players for the Spirit.

Mullen said: "Paul Child has an excellent reputation. Both Bobby [Vosmaer] and Paul have a place in our franchise."

Mullen, a former senior vice president of business operations for the Pittsburgh Pirates, said the team will play in the Pittsburgh Civic Arena.

Pittsburgh Soccer Inc. paid a franchise fee of $250,000 to enter the league and will have to give the MSL a $500,000 letter of credit by June 1.

Foreman said the Pittsburgh franchise would be stocked by players from an expansion draft soon after the MSL championship series is over in May.

Foreman said all the players from the Dallas Sidekicks, which has ceased operations and is seeking new investors, would be available in the draft if the team had not found new owners by the time of the draft.

Foreman said yesterday that he is optimistic that new ownership will be found for the Dallas franchise soon.

NOTES: Blast coach Kenny Cooper most likely will remain in the hospital seven to 10 more days until all tests are completed for lower abdominal pain that began to bother him last Thursday night before he was admitted to the hospital Friday afternoon.

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