The Washington Diplomats have won 16 of their first 23 games, and many in their organization, including Madison Square Garden President Sonny Werblin, have complained that Washington does not appreciate the team.
In spite of the fact that the crowds at RFK Stadium are no larger this year than last - an average of about 11,000 per game - Dips General Manager John Carbray is encouraged by what he calls growth in soccer interest in the area.
"I understand how Sonny Werblin feels when he says he has been discouraged by the lack of apparent growth in soccer interest," Carbray said. "But I think it you look at it in the perspective I do, which dates back to October of 1976, we've made great progress.
"I don't think people give the soccer community enough credit. A lot of people in this area have worked incredibly hard to make this thing work. And I think we've come a long way since 1977 when we had trouble giving away tickets - quite literally. Now we have a solid core of people who buy tickets."
Carbray pointed out that in 1977 the Dips averaged about $1 for each person in the stadium. This year, he said, the club is averaging $4 per spectator.
Last month Werblin said he had hoped to averaged 18,000 fans per game this season and said if he did not see signs of "growth" by the end of the 1980 season, the team probably would be moved or sold.
"I don't think it's practical to move this team anywhere in this country except perhaps New York," Carbray said. "The right ingredients are here for this to be an excellent soccer city. It's going to take patience. This league is 13 years old. The only thing that's going to make it 21 is eight more years."
Team President Steve Danzansky was even more definite."I don't think it's practical to move this team anywhere, including New York," he said. "I don't think New York will support two soccer teams. I definitely think Washington will support one."
Danzansky reiterated that he and his father, Joseph Danzansky, would disassociate themselves from the club at the first sign that Werblin was planning a move.
The Danzanskys are minority owners of the Dips.
The Dips' television ratings have been a pleasant surprise.
According to an Arbitron survey of the team's first five telecasts, the Dips received an average rating of 4.0 for their games on WTTG-TV.
ABC's national telecasts have averaged only 2.5. Another interesting comparison is with the NBA playoff telecasts on CBS, which drew a national share of about 5.0.
The Dips' game with Seattle in the Kingdome Wednesday night will be televised with a 30-minute tape delay, beginning at 11 p.m. on WTTG-TV-5. . . Dip Coach Gordon Bradley, taking daily therapy for his thumb, injured in a lawn mower accident this spring, is making remarkable progress.