Officials from five North American Soccer League clubs said yesterday they would be willing to contribute more players to Team America, but Cosmos General Manager Thomas Werblin said there was "no way" he would give up more players to the team.
The teams whose general managers said they would be willing to provide more players were Fort Lauderdale, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Golden Bay and San Diego, who, along with New York, collectively own the majority of U.S. players in the NASL. The general managers were reacting to Tuesday's request by Team America owner Robert Lifton for the league to contribute the players neccessary to fill out Team America's roster.
"Our responsibility has been filled," said Werblin, referring to his team's contribution of the maximum three players to Team America. "We cannot afford to give up any more players than we have. I have consulted with my owners on this before and there is no way we can spare any more players. It isn't fair to penalize the NASL teams because of the indoor shortfall."
It had been hoped that players from the Major Indoor Soccer League would be made available for Team America, but negotiations between the NASL and the MISL repeatedly failed to produce an agreement for the transfer of players.
Most team officials said that, although they would be willing to contribute more players to Team America, the decision to join the team rests with the individuals, not management. Several general managers also said that compensation beyond the standard transfer agreement would have to be worked out.
Tampa Bay, which contributed three players to Team America, tried to send a fourth, defender Glenn Myernick, in March. The Rowdies presented the league with four options to allow the transfer, including financial compensation or the use of a foreign player in place of Myernick, but the league refused to allow the transfer.
Now, Ted Moore, Rowdies executive vice-president, says such compensation may have to be reconsidered.
"The league must research every possibility to make players available to Team America," said Moore. "But for me to give up a fourth player without some form of compensation could be devastating to my roster. The more I give up, the more I have to find."
"Team America is very important to the league's future success and we've tried to contribute as much as possible," said Fort Lauderdale General Manager Tim Robbie. "But some of the other teams should be more open. We don't feel we should stand in the way of a player who wants to play for his country."