With the start of the North American Soccer League season six weeks away, Washington Diplomat Coach Gordon Bradley has listed 11 foreign players he is interested in bringing here -- three of whom he hopes to sign.
Ideally, Bradley would like to sign a striker, an offensive midfielder and either a defensive midfielder or a defender before the team begins exhibition play early next month.
Right now, the Dips with Madison Square Garden overseeing every step of the negotiations, are on the verge of signing one of the players, probably a European midfielder.
Bradley is negotiating with six European midfielders: Johannes Boskamp, 32, a Dutch international known for his offensive abilities; Wim Jansen, 32, Dutch natinal team member know for his defense; Juan-Jose Lozano, 23, a Spaniard playing in Belgium and a man Bradley would dearly love to have; Bobby McDonald, 23, from Coventry, England (Alan Green's former team), another player Bradley covets; Bruce Rioch, 32, captain of the 1978 Scottish World Cup team, and Jean-Francois LaRois, 25, a midfielder on the French nationalteam.
"Any of these players could help our team," Bradley said. "The problem in dealing with foreign players these days is money. The prices are just outageous, especially with the dollar being devalued as it is.
"What's more, foreigners think of America as a very expensive place to live, even though it really isn't."
Last year's coveted stars, Kevin Keegan and Daniel Passarella, are not on the Dips negotiating list this year Keegan, named captain of the British World Cup Team, signed this week with Southampton and will not play outside England until after the World Cup in 1982.
Passarella could have been had last year -- for three years at $5 million. The Dips turned that down. Now, Passarella is beginning to prepare for Argentina's defense of the World Cup and he, too, is going nowhere.
But the controlling company, Madison Square Garden, told Bradley last fall that it wanted more Latins in red and white this spring -- "an elegant Latin flavor" -- was the way Jack Krumpe, the executive vice-president, put it, and Bradley has spent a good deal of time in South America this winter. At least one South American will become a Diplomat before March 29.
It is likely that one of the following players, perhaps two, will sign with the Dips: Daniel Sperandio, 21, and Argentine midfielder; Adolfo Bauza, 22, an Argentine winger; Carlos Kiese, 24 a utility player from Paraguay, and Carlos Caszely, 29, the top striker in Chile, whose asking price may be too high.
Bradley tried to negotiate for Ramon Diaz, 19, the star striker on Argentina's junior world cup champions, but Diaz was one of 30 players named by Argentine national Coach Cesar Menotti as prospects for the 1982 World Cup team. The Argentine soccer association immediately ordered those 30 players frozen with Argentine culbs, thus eliminating the Dips' chances.
One other player Bradley is negotiating with is French striker Carlos Bianchi, a 31-year-old veteran.
"I'd like for us to sign younger players to build a team around," Bradley, entering his third season in Washington, said. "But you need one or two older players to give a team leadership."
From this list of 44 players Bradley would like to sign three. None will sell tickets as Keegan or Passarella would. But Bradley and MSG management apparently have decided to invest in several good players to build a team to compete with the Cosmos, rather than seek a superstar whose name will sell tickets.
Jim Steele, injured while playing indoor soccer on loan to Pittsburgh of the Major Indoor Soccer League, will not be recovered from knee surgery in time for the start of the season. Infact, his status for the whole year is questionable. He still is in a cast . . .
Steel's best buddy, all-time leading scorer Paul Cannell, sold to Memphis in December, is back in Washington -- also in a cast -- with a broken leg. He will miss the stat of training camp with Memphis . . .
Goalkeeper Eric Martin who broke his leg two years ago playing indoor (a dangerous game) is training with the team. With Bradley trying to fulfill Bob Stetler's request to be traded (Stetler is on indoor loan to Memphis) Martin, 34, will probably battle Dragan Radovich for the backup goalie spot behind incumbent Bill Irwin . . .