The Washington Diplomats have signed Willi Kiefer, a West German winger who does somersaults after scoring goals and is nicknamed "Beast."
Kiefer, who scored 29 goals in two years with SV Waldhof Mannheim, a second division team, was signed to a two-year contract Tuesday and is expected to fill the Diplomats' glaring void at wing.
"Willi is the missing ingredient," said Duncan Hill, the team's general manager. "He's the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle. That doesn't mean we'll stop trying to improve, but the nucleus of our team is solid now."
Strong and very aggressive, the 25-year-old Kiefer plays center and both wing positions. His agressiveness has earned him the nickname "Tier," which is German for "beast" or "animal."
He is a natural right winger but crosses the ball with both feet and can play the left side well, according to Hill. The Dips (5-2) have good center-forwards in Ross Jenkins and Paul Cannell, but without a shifty winger to complement it, the Washington front line has been fairly easy to defense.
Kiefer said through an intetpreter yesterday, "It's been my lifelong dream to live or just vacation in the United States. Now, to be a player here . . . I'm so happy."
Diplomat Coach Ken Furphy scouted Kiefer on a trip to Germany last month, when Furphy plucked midfielder Heinz Wirtz from the first division. Hill said the team must hurry to complete Kiefer's registration process in the United States if he is to play Saturday night in Tampa Bay. p
"We've been saying it's absolutely essential that we get a winger," Hill continued. "And Willi is so versatile he gives us another option. The German players are technically well-accomplished. There are so many good players in Germany's second division, you can get overlooked."
Kiefer said he turned down several offers to join first-division teams in order to play with a team, Waldhof Mannheim, that is close to his home town of Geinsheim and becuase he liked the coach. He scored 14 goals in 32 games last season for Mannheim, which is currently ranked fourth among 20 second division teams.
Hill described Kiefer's style as being "strong on the ball . . . big and somewhat clumsy. He's very difficult to mark."