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Spirit begins training camp opener scheduled here Oct. 21; Club wants Stankovic back for another year


A series of developments spiced the opening of the Spirit's training camp last night at the Baltimore Arena.

* The National Professional Soccer League announced that the Spirit will open its season Oct. 21 at the Arena against the Harrisburg Heat, which has eliminated Baltimore in the first round of the playoffs the past three seasons.

The NPSL released the schedule for its 12th season yesterday. In the league opener Oct. 20, the Tampa Bay Terror, directed by ex-Spirit coach Kenny Cooper, will entertain the Canton Invaders. Tampa Bay will play the Spirit here Nov. 4.

* Jeff Rogers, 30, a 5-foot-5 dynamo acquired in the NPSL expansion draft, did not report and will be fined for every day of camp he misses. Rogers, who recently became a father, wants to remain in Kansas City, where he played last season for the Attack.

* The Spirit wants Mike Stankovic, who will turn 39 in November, to return for at least one more season and made him a salary offer that he is considering.

* The club may sign a U.S. national team player, whose name the club declined to reveal. Spirit vice president Drew Forrester said he has had a half-dozen discussions with the player's agent the past week.

Stankovic, a six-time Major Soccer League All-Star, rejoined the Spirit midway of last season and showed he can still play.

"We'll carry 17 players, and Mike's one of the 17 best we can find," Forrester said. "We'd like him in camp by Monday."

In last night's open-to-the-public workout, which was followed by an autograph session, coach Dave MacWilliams devoted most of the time to scrimmaging rather than drills. Since nine of the 20 players were new, it amounted to a tryout camp.

(Spirit schedule on Page 12D)

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