Until now, Scott Buete resisted the challenge of professional indoor soccer, but recently that decision quickly changed.
"Originally, I didn't really want to play indoors," Buete said. "I know it's pretty rough on your body. But I ended up thinking it might be exciting and fun and another way to keep in shape for the outdoor season."
The Bowie native, 27, also was attracted to the opportunity to play close to home after two seasons each with the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer and the Atlanta Silverbacks of the United Soccer Leagues' First Division. "That was another big factor," said Buete, whose Atlanta teammates include Blast forward Machel Millwood. "I've been away a lot since I left college."
Buete will not be present when the Blast begins training camp Monday at Du Burns Arena because the Silverbacks are in the USL semifinals. He will join the Blast shortly after the postseason ends but is expected to receive plenty of orientation to the indoor game before the Oct. 19 opener at home against the MISL champion Philadelphia KiXX.
"It's not going to be easy because I'll have to get familiar with a whole bunch of rules," said Buete, who added that Millwood was a factor in encouraging him to come to Baltimore. "But I think the coaches can teach me what I need to know."
Buete is expected to play midfielder to take advantage of his running and defensive abilities.
"He'll give us a bit of a bite on the field," said general manager Kevin Healey, who originally selected Buete in the fourth round of the league's 2006 dispersal draft. "We're excited about bringing in another local player."
The Blast will assemble a veteran nucleus that will be missing only midfielders Jonathan Steele and Gordon Chin and goalkeeper Brian Rowland, who were selected in the expansion draft. Also gone is Lee Tschantret - now coaching at Loyola High - but coach Danny Kelly left open the possibility that Tschantret could rejoin the team whenever his duties do not conflict with the schedule.
At the core of the team will be several players who were injured last season: Giuliano Celenza, Adauto Neto and assistant coach David Bascome. Their absences contributed mightily to the Blast's inability to make a run at a fourth league championship in five seasons.
In other news, Maryland Public Television will carry four Blast games, marking the first time that entity has aired live professional sports. Also, negotiations with a national network to televise a MISL game of the week beginning in mid-November are in the final stages.
Ed Hale, the dean of league owners, has often been a critic of his peers but said: "Ownership in the league has improved to the extent I've never seen before. We're going to add a 10th team next year, and we want to have two or three more. This is unprecedented. We're starting to filter into the Midwest, and now we need more presence on the West Coast."
Joining the MISL this season are the Orlando Sharks, the Monterrey (Mexico) La Raza and the New Jersey Ironmen.