Players from the North American Soccer League are discussing the possibility of forming a union that would have some affiliation with the National Football League Players Association.
Kyle Rote Jr. of the Dallas Tornado, leader of the soccer group, said he has talked with ED Garvey, executive director of the NFLPA, about a possible link between the two organizations. There is no plan for the soccer players to join the football association, Rote said.
Rote said he was not sure how many of the 342 NASL players endorsed the idea, but he said players on all 18 teams had been contacted.
"I've talked to Ed on a number of occassions," Rote said yesterday. "It is of paramount importance that we form a player's association before the end of this season.
"I think there's a definite possibility we will be involved with the NFLPA.They are an aggressive organization and I expect in the next couple of weeks they will be canvassing players in our league to see how they feel about the situation."
Garvey is out of town and could not be reached for comment. But Len Hauss, Redskin player representative and vice president of the NFLPA, con- firmed his organization's talks with the soccer players.
"Ed and I have discussed this several times," Hatuss said. "We feel both organizations can benefit by working together. There's always strength in numbers and we could help one another, although right now we would be helping them."
Although several foreign superstars in the NASL, such as Pele, Franz Beckenbauer and George Best, have signed miltimillion-dollar contracts, the average player in the league makes less than $10,000 a season.
The NASL is also the only professional major athletic league in America without a minimum salary for its players. Washington Diplomat general manager John Carbray said the NASL's average salary was probably comparable to the average of a Triple-A baseball player.
Both Hauss and Rote emphasized that the two groups would remain autonomous but have, perhaps, common, non-player leadership.
"They would advise us on matters in which they have experience," Rote said. "We would use their resources, the same lawyers and share their library. They're gone through a lot and made a lot of mistakes. Hopefully, they'll help us avoid making those same kind of mistakes."
Rote said he expected both groups to take definitive action within the next couple of weks. "I can't speak for all the players but I'm definitely in favor of NFLPA involvement in our group," he said.
Eric Martin, goalkeeper for the Washington Diplomats, said his team would be meeting with NFLPA representatives during the next two weeks."We want to hear their point of view and discuss our situation with them," he said. "After that, all the NASL players will get together and decide exactly what steps to take."
Hauss added that he saw no reason why an NFL players would object to an association with the soccer players. "Soccer is definitely a coming sport," he said."If they're interested, which I think they are, we'd be glad to work with them."