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Blast adds Handsor, reacquires two others

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Two weeks before the start of training camp, the Major Indoor Soccer League champion Blast further bolstered its new-look offense and brought back two familiar faces.

The Blast acquired All-Star forward Chris Handsor from the Philadelphia KiXX and reclaimed defender Dewan Bader and midfielder Danny Santoro from the St. Louis Steamers in a three-team deal yesterday.

In exchange, the Blast sent an undisclosed amount of cash to Philadelphia and the rights to Mali Walton to St. Louis.

Handsor, 31, is an eight-year veteran and three-time All-League performer who has played on championship teams in Cleveland and Philadelphia. He's the third All-Star the Blast has added in the offseason, joining former San Diego Sockers standout Chile Farias and ex-Harrisburg Heat star David Bascome.

Handsor played in 22 games for the KiXX last season, totaling 47 points on 17 goals and 12 assists. He will join veterans Tarik Walker and Lee Tschantret at the target forward position.

"Getting Chris in here is a big move for us. The last several years, we've regarded him as an outstanding target forward, and he gives us another weapon," said Blast general manager Kevin Healey.

After losing Bader and Santoro to the Steamers in the expansion draft last month, the Blast made it a priority to get both players back.

Bader is a nine-year veteran who has played defense and midfield for the Blast the past two seasons. Santoro, a Baltimore native, has spent five years with the Blast at midfield. He played in the first 12 games last season before being sidelined with a knee injury.

"It's good to get two players back that were a part of our championship team. ... They give us the additional depth we need," Healey said.

Walton, whose rights came to the Blast from Buffalo in the 2001 dispersal draft, never played a game here. The Blast opens its season Oct. 11 at home against the KiXX.

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