In a trade four months in the making, the Spirit finally has brought Kevin Sloan back home.
The club's flurry of trading activity continued yesterday with the acquisition of midfielder Sloan and goalie Joe Mallia from the Dayton Dynamo for Clark Brisson and Rob Ukrop.
Last week, in the space of 48 hours, the Spirit signed former Maryland Bays Jean Harbor and Philip Gyau, and Jon Parry, the fifth-leading goal scorer in the National Professional Soccer League last season.
The moves primarily were designed to strengthen an offense weakened by the failure of last season's top scorers to return, but also to have a seasoned backup for No. 1 goalie Cris Vaccaro. In return, the Spirit surrendered 73 points in Brisson and 30 in Ukrop, who missed 11 games with a broken jaw.
Sloan, 28, an Oakland Mills High and Catawba College graduate, was Dayton's No. 4 scorer last season with 90 points in only 28 games.
All summer, while the Spirit and the Dynamo were haggling over trade terms, Sloan was working Spirit soccer camps.
Sloan likely will be on a shift with Harbor and Gyau, forming a unit that has worked with precision in the past. The three played together with the Bays and the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
"We've done a lot of scoring together," said Sloan, who played for the Blast in 1991-92. "Jean and Philip have done most of it and I sort of tag along. I've made my career off them."
Spirit executive Drew Forrester envisions a midfield of Barry Stitz, Parry, Sloan and Gyau, with Harbor or Tarik Walker as target man.