The NPSL draft, which produced eight of the current Spirit players, will be staged for the 12th time Thursday via conference call.
The Spirit will have a choice in the territorial round and the fourth, sixth and 12th picks in the first of the four regular rounds. The club acquired the No. 4 choice in a deal yesterday with the Edmonton Drillers. In the remaining three rounds, the Spirit has the 12th pick only.
"I've talked to between 30 and 40 players, most of them east of Ohio, to gauge their interest," said Spirit general manager Drew Forrester. "What we wanted to know is: Do they want to play indoors? Or do they want to try Major League Soccer or play in Europe?"
Jason Dieter, Lance Johnson, Bill Harte and Todd Hicks were Spirit draft picks, and Bobby Joe Esposito, Doug Neely, Jimmy Glenn and Jamie Christie were chosen by other teams.
The Spirit will have a full day Thursday. After a two-hour morning practice at the Baltimore Arena, half of the players will have a party (food, kick soccer balls around) with 100 students from West, Southeast and Chinquapin middle schools.
The draft will be conducted at 3 p.m.; fans can call public $H relations director Mike Gathagan at (410) 625-2320 to reserve seats. At 7, the other half of the squad will give a free clinic for area coaches, sandlot to college.
Quote of the Week
Detroit Rockers goalkeeper Bryan Finnerty on winning big against the defending NPSL champion Cleveland Crunch: "When call my wife and tell her the score [26-8], she'll probably think it's a bad connection and hang up."
The Spirit, one game off the lead in the NPSL's East Division, can move into a tie with the first-place Kixx with a win over its Philadelphia rival Saturday. The teams will meet again Dec. 27 at the Baltimore Arena. Spirit players will visit Union Memorial, St. Joseph's, Franklin Square and Shock Trauma on Friday and Johns Hopkins Hospital on Monday. The players' schedule of store visits: tomorrow, all 6 to 8 p.m.: Eastpoint, Harford and Harundale malls; Friday, all 6 to 8 p.m.: Towson Town, White Marsh and Harford malls; Saturday, all 11 a.m. to noon: Eastpoint, White Marsh and Towson Town. Goran Hunjak, once of the Spirit, was named NPSL Player of the Week after ringing up 13 points on a three-point goal, four two-pointers, a one-pointer and two assists for a rare cycle, as his Kansas City Attack edged the Wichita Wings, 28-25. He was scoreless in two previous games this season against Wichita. When the Cincinnati Silverbacks' Franklin McIntosh scored 11 points in an 18-15 win over Philadelphia, he regained his all-time NPSL career scoring lead with 1,073 points, one more than Cleveland's Hector Marinaro.
Pub Date: 12/17/96