The Washington Diplomats will be one of two teams from the United States playing in the eighth President's Cup soccer tournament in Korea for three weeks starting Saturday.
"We think we finally have the caliber of players who can play internationally," said Washington Coach Gordon Bradley, who left with the team last night. "The only team from America most of the people in the world have heard about is the Cosoms. We want to put on a good showing and impress them with our style of play. We want to show them we can play soccer, too."
The tournament, sponsored by the Korean Football Association, will consist of group-elimination matches over the first two weeks of play.
Each of two groups will play a round-robin schedule with two points awarded for a win and one point for a tie. The first and second finishers in each group will play in semifinals, with the winners meeting for the championship and the President's Cup.
Joining the Dips and the United States National B team are representatives from Brazil, West Germany, Korea, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand, Mexico, Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Greece, Lebanon and Sudan.
Bradley has been preparing his team for the tournament for the past two weeks. Except for regulars Andries Maseko, Paul Cannell and Ken Mokgojoa, who have returned to their native countries, Bradley will have the services of all of his players. He also has on a loan Fort Lauderdale's Ray Hudson and David Irving and San Diego's Paul Child.
The Dips' general manager, John Carbray, had hoped his team would go right into the planned NASL indoor season following the trip. But the league recently voted against an indoor setup.
"Now we'll have players sitting around seven months with nothing to do. Most are under 12-month contracts and we have to find something for them," said Carbray.
Carbray and Bradley have been successful in placing several of the Washington players with European clubs for the winters. Others will stay in the area to give clinics and do public-relations work.
While Bradley is introducing his team to international competition, he will also scout players who could help the Dips next season.
"We want to sign two outstanding midfield players, if we can," said Bradley. "We can't stand pat. We want to get stronger."