Memories came tumbling back for Shane Dougherty and Spirit general manager Drew Forrester during yesterday's National Professional Soccer League draft.
Forrester remembered watching Dougherty score four goals in DTC Fallston High's 7-1 win over Easton in the 1992 state championship game and saying, "We'll have to keep an eye on that kid. He's going to be a good one."
Dougherty remembered growing up watching the Blast at Baltimore Arena and hoping some day to be part of it: "As a little kid, it was such a treat to get to play at halftime. Now, I want to get on the field as soon as possible."
Yesterday, using the pick acquired from the Edmonton Drillers on Wednesday, the Spirit made the little kid who used to play at halftime the No. 1 pick in the NPSL draft.
Dougherty and his agent, Mark Butler, conferred last night with Forrester in an attempt to put the forward in a Spirit practice uniform during his Christmas break from the University of Maryland.
The Sun Player of the Year as a Fallston senior, Dougherty, as a Maryland senior this fall, led the Terps to their first Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championship and to the second round of the NCAA tournament, collecting 15 goals and six assists. He finished his career ranked second in school history in points (97) and assists (21).
"I watched him score a lot of goals outdoors, and it was impressive," Spirit coach Mike Stankovic said. "He's suitable for indoors, because he's feisty and works hard. We'll see how quickly he adjusts."
Forrester was elated by the Spirit's draft fortunes: eight players, the first five in the order he wanted them.
With its territorial choice, the Spirit chose Archbishop Curley High's Giuliano Celenza.
Celenza scored a career-high 28 goals this fall in leading Curley to an 18-3 record and the No. 3 ranking in The Sun poll. He is the top scorer (77 goals, 29 assists) in school history.
Celenza is only the seventh high school player selected in the 12-year history of the draft. Four never played in the NPSL. Celenza must decide between college (Clemson, Syracuse and UMBC are interested) and the Spirit.
"Some people will wonder why we selected a high school player," Forrester said. "Well, Giuliano is not your average high school player. We feel with time he can be a fixture here."
Spirit draft picks
Rd, pick, Player, Pos., School
Ter., Giuliano Celenza, F, Archbishop Curley
Skinny: Turned 18 today; could be future pro star.
1, No. 1, Shane Dougherty, F, Fallston, U. of Maryland
Skinny: First team All-ACC.
1, No. 6, David Gouldstone, M, Fairleigh Dickinson
Skinny: 1995 NEC Player of the Year.
1, No. 12, Stephen Fox, M, Fairleigh Dickinson
Skinny: 46 goals; works well with best friend Gouldstone.
2, No. 12, Michael Coll, D, Penn State
Skinny: Penn State captain; two-time World University Games player.
3, No. 12, Matt Larson, M, U. of Maryland
Skinny: One reason Terps had strong attack.
4, No. 1, Drew Kaufmann, M, Penn State
Skinny: Coach says he's like Heat star Danny Kelly.
4, No. 12, Matt Tirschman, F, Overlea, Salisbury State
Skinny: Tough, gritty, willing to throw body (6-1, 180) around.
Pub Date: 12/20/96