Summer weather has arrived and the North American Soccer League is well into its outdoor season, but indoor soccer is also making news.
The Super Soccer League has announced it will begin play in July, with the Washington Fever playing at Capital Center.
Tuesday the league will begin putting its teams together with an allocation draft. According to league President Jerry Saperstein, about 30 players have already been signed in Great Britain, with more on the way.
The league also expects to sign a number of players from American colleges, plus various dropouts from the NASL and the American Soccer League. There should be about 120 players under league contract by the time of the draft, according to Saperstein.
While all this going on, the NASL has been proceeding with plans for an extensive indoor schedule next winter. Eighteen of the league's 24 teams have agreed to participate in a 10-game regular-season schedule, followed by playoffs.
The current plan calls for the regular season to run from mid-December to the end of February, with eight teams qualifying for the playoffs. That means that indoor NASL play will not end until the outdoor season is less than three weeks away, something the league says it is doing intentionally.
Last year, nine of the league's teams took part in exhibition games indoors. The Washington Diplomats and the Tampa Bay Rowdies were the major participants, the Dips playing nine games.
General manager John Carbray of the Diplomats said at the time that the reason he went ahead with an exhibition schedule after a league season fell throught was the future he saw in the indoor game. Now it appears that his gamble will pay off -at least in terms of gaining league acceptance.
There is still a snag, however. The Dips do not want to play their home games in the D.C. Armory again. They would much prefer playing at Capital Centre. With that building serving as the home for the Fever, it would seem unlikely that the Dips would be welcome, although both sides claim there is no reason not to negotiate.
The Dips averaged about 3,000 fans per game last winter for six indoor games, nowhere near the break-even point, and had serious problems with the playing conditions at the Armory.