Blast's youth movement passes by unsurprised Chinapoo, 34


EMMITSBURG -- Count midfielder Richard Chinapoo among the Blast players who won't be back this season.

"I don't see them in my future," Chinapoo said yesterday. "I just have a gut feeling. Just judging from the experience of last season, I don't think I'll be invited back and I don't have any problems with that."

Blast general manager John Borozzi said yesterday that Chinapoo is right in his assessment. But Borozzi was disappointed that he had not reached Chinapoo to tell him.

"We never exercised our right of first refusal," Borozzi said. "I did call him about two weeks ago and left a message for him to call me back.

"I want to make sure Richard stays involved with the team, not as a player, but I want him to be comfortable coming to games and being around the organization. He has been the consummate pro and given his all for this team. It's just that we're going in a younger direction."

Chinapoo, 34, returned to the Blast last year, after two successful years in Dallas. He said then it was a one-year contract and he was happy to be back, because Baltimore is home.

But the Blast attempted to trade him back to Dallas late in the season for Doc Lawson. It was a deal that didn't turn out, but it was a situation that told the eight-year Major Soccer League veteran that he was no doubt expendable.

"I gave what I had and if that wasn't good enough, then fine," he said, before beginning his coaching duties at the Lincoln Phillips Soccer Camp being held here at Mount St. Mary's College. "But I'm satisfied that I tried everything within my power to make the team a winning team."

Chinapoo played in all 52 games, netting 22 goals, 20 assists and 54 blocked shots. His 42 points were seventh best on the team.

He is a six-year Blast veteran and one of just seven players to register 40 goals in one season. He was a three-time All-Star with the Blast and one of three remaining members of the 1983-84 championship team, along with goalkeeper Scott Manning and defender Mike Stankovic.

But the Blast went 21-31 last season and missed the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Everyone knew changes would be coming.

Already 10-year Blast forward/defender Tim Wittman and the team have parted company. Defender Bruce Savage has indicated he won't be back, if he can sign on with the U.S. National team. Chinapoo is just the latest veteran to be making departure plans.

He said he has not called the Blast and is unaware of Borozzi's call, a situation Borozzi said he will remedy today.

Meanwhile, Chinapoo and his friend Clint Baldeo already have opened a business, Chinapoo's Auto Repair, in Woodlawn. He is also thinking about completing the 14 hours he needs for his accounting degree at UMBC.

As for soccer, Chinapoo is coaching at this camp until tomorrow and then will go to Fleetwood, Pa., Monday to coach at former Dallas teammate Troy Snyder's camp.

"As for playing indoors, I think I have another year or two left easily," he said. "I've been very fortunate in my career to be able to remain in good shape. But at this point, I'm not going somewhere I'm not wanted. I want to enjoy the playing days I have left and I want to contribute on and off the field. I think I have some good qualities to pass on."

Chinapoo said he would be interested in talking to Pittsburgh, if that franchise begins play this season, as it would be relatively close to home.

"And I've been talking to Dallas," he said. "I'm just going to see what happens and go from there. But the bottom line is this is home, whether I'm playing for the Blast or not."

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