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PRO SOCCER / CISL DRAFT : Wright, Littman Among Four Salsa Players Drafted by Splash

April 21, 1995|MARTIN HENDERSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Splash dipped into its own back yard Thursday, drafting the rights to four Salsa players at the Continental Indoor Soccer League draft in Houston.

The Splash took forward Paul Wright with the fourth pick overall and goalkeeper Mike Littman with the 17th pick.

Wright was obtained after the Splash traded the league's defensive player of the year, Ralph Black, to expansion Seattle last week.

In Wright, the Splash should have one of the quickest players in the league, and will bolster an already strong group of forwards--Dale Ervine, Rod Castro, Raffaele Ruotolo and Armando Valdivia.

"Paul is a natural for our franchise," said Tim Orchard, the Splash's co-governor and director of player personnel. "He has tremendous soccer skills, is familiar with the indoor game and lives in Southern California."

Wright, 24, lives in Fullerton. He won four indoor titles with the San Diego Sockers beginning in 1987, and has been one of the American Professional Soccer League's leading scorers while with the Salsa, an outdoor team that will not participate this season in the APSL.

The addition of Littman could also be pivotal for the Splash. His 6-foot-1, 195-pound frame is similar in nature to some of the elite goalies in the CISL last year, a physical presence that the Splash lacked with Jorge Valenzuela (5-10, 170) and Ruben Fernandez (5-9, 164).

Another Salsa player, forward Jose Vasquez, was selected after the Splash traded to San Diego the rights to Cal State Fullerton alumnus Brad Wilson--one of three amateurs the Splash protected last week. The other Salsa player drafted was defender Thor Lee.

The Splash's final two picks were UCLA alumnus John O'Brien, a midfielder, and Tayt Ianni, a defender.

Seattle took midfielder Mark Chung, one of the final players cut from the U.S. World Cup team, with the first pick.

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