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Blast drafts UMBC's Angelini


The Blast began the Major Indoor Soccer League's 2004 amateur draft yesterday by choosing UMBC forward Marco Angelini III in the territorial round.

Angelini, 22, is a Baltimore native who attended Archbishop Curley High School and went on to CCBC-Essex before transferring to UMBC. At UMBC, Angelini, the sixth pick overall, majored in economics and adjusted to Division I play. Playing forward and midfielder, he produced several clutch goals, scoring two game-winning goals while sparking several comebacks this season, contributing to the Retrievers' regular-season conference title. In two seasons at UMBC, Angelini produced 12 points, including five goals.

"I had no idea a couple weeks ago that I was even being considered," said Angelini, who has watched the Blast since he was a little boy. "I'm excited. I love playing indoors and I have a lot of friends on the team. I'm pretty good with my feet and I'm hoping to score and bring hustle and hard play to the game. I know they already have a lot of that, but one more guy making the effort doesn't hurt."

In other MISL developments, league commissioner Steve Ryan announced during an afternoon news conference and conference call that developer John Thomas has been awarded an expansion franchise for 2005 in Stockton, Calif., where he is developing a 10,000-seat area.

Ryan also said proposals for franchises from Chicago, Portland, Ore., and Anaheim, Calif., as well as a presentation by Marcel Aubut, the former owner of the defunct NHL Quebec Nordiques, to explore the development of teams in Canada, will be heard today.

The MISL board has also decided to start next season at the end of October and extend the regular season into mid-April, unlike this season, when regular-season play began in mid-October and will end April 3.

In the regular draft rounds, the Blast picked midfielder David Schofield from Long Island University in the third round, the 33rd pick overall. In the fourth round, the Blast chose Drexel defender Jeff Parke, a fourth-round pick in the Major League Soccer draft, with the 37th overall pick, and William and Mary midfielder Graham Albert with the 42nd overall pick.

The Blast did not have a first- or second-round pick, having traded those choices to San Diego for Chile Farias last July. The second fourth-round pick came in a December trade with St. Louis.

The draft was held in St. Louis as part of this weekend's all-star game activities, which culminate with the All-Star Game tomorrow at 2 p.m.

Over the years, the draft has produced outstanding talent, including Blast players Giuliano Celenza (2001 territorial round), Billy Nelson ( 2001 first round) and P.J. Wakefield (2002 first round). All three played at UMBC.

"Baltimore and Maryland have a proud tradition of soccer with excellent youth, high school and college teams where players receive outstanding training," said general manager Kevin Healey, when asked why there is so much talent in the local area. "In addition, Baltimore has always taken the indoor, as well as the outdoor, game seriously."

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