For Warren Westcoat, it was a show of faith by the Kansas City Attack. The club let Brett Phillips go and signed Westcoat to a three-year contract extension.
That was pretty heady stuff for Westcoat, even though he has been Kansas City's No. 1 goalie for most of this decade.
But the Severna Park High grad had missed parts of the last two years with major injuries and did little more than watch while Phillips helped the Attack finish second to the Cleveland Crunch in the National Professional Soccer League last season.
"Warren has rededicated himself," coach Jim Schwab said as he prepared the Attack for its match against the Spirit tonight at the Baltimore Arena. "He's No. 1 again, and stronger and more flexible after working in the gym three times a week for almost two months."
Westcoat, 28, has a 4-2 record and is the NPSL's sixth-ranked goalie with his 11.30 points-against average. He says he feels "as healthy now as I ever have."
"I had a hairline fracture of a bone in my elbow," Westcoat said. "That slowed me the whole year."
It came on the heels of what he calls a "quarterback injury" in a game the season before. When the Chicago Power pulled its goalie, Westcoat tried to throw the ball into the open net.
"On the follow-through, my right hand hit a guy's head full force, smashing my index finger and knuckle," he said.
Westcoat, who was All-State as a Severna Park High senior and later named to the Anne Arundel County All-Decade team, is now firmly rooted in Kansas City.
After a Lock Haven (Pa.) University career in which he was a two-time NCAA Division II All-American, he played for the Washington Diplomats, Maryland Bays, Arizona Sandsharks and Hershey Impact before winding up in Kansas City in 1991.
He met his wife, Eve ("She was a Christmas Eve baby"), in Kansas City and lives there year-round, immersed in soccer. He coaches youth teams, works Attack camps and makes about 100 appearances a year on the club's behalf.
"On and off the field," Schwab said, "Warren is a pro."
Pub Date: 11/30/96
Opponent: Kansas City Attack
Site: Baltimore Arena
Time: 7: 35
Radio: Updates after each quarter on WWLG (1360 AM)
Outlook: The Attack, runners-up to the Cleveland Crunch in last season's championships, has won three straight after a 1-2 start. The Spirit (4-4) will play without Ronnie Simmons, Mike Henning, Branko Segota and Lance Johnson, out with knee injuries. Jamie Christie (hamstring) is doubtful.