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Salsa to Sit Out 1995 Season to Reorganize

January 18, 1995|JOHN WEYLER

The Salsa, which has competed the last two seasons in the American Professional Soccer League, has decided to sit out the 1995 season.

Owner William De La Pena is reorganizing and restructuring the franchise and has asked the APSL to allow him to maintain his franchise rights, logo and player contracts. He also is considering a merger with the Vancouver 86ers, one of seven remaining APSL teams.

The Salsa has lost money the last two seasons, but financial problems are not at the crux of the decision, according to Salsa General Manager Rick Davis.

"We're looking at where pro soccer is headed, the outcome of Division I pro soccer in this country," Davis said. "In the meantime, we're keeping our options open."

De La Pena was the APSL's point man in its bid to become this country's first-Division league, but that distinction went to Major League Soccer, a league that is still in the formative stages. The U.S. Soccer Federation will allow only one first-Division league.

"Why only one? That's a very good question," Davis said. "And just maybe it won't be only one. The decision was made a year ago and it was very disappointing, but now the Division I status belongs to a league that technically doesn't exist.

"The MLS has a lot of plans, but they don't have a lot of teams, or stadiums, or players and those are pretty important components."

So, for the moment anyway, the Salsa is on hiatus.

"The merger would allow us to loan players and maintain a presence in the sport at the pro level," Davis said, "and it also (means) we won't have to start over as an expansion team if we choose to play in 1996."

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