The North American Soccer League has officially voided last week's attempt by Team America to return goalkeeper Arnie Mausser to the Tampa Bay Rowdies, saying that the deal did not conform to player transfer guidelines. But Rowdies Coach Al Miller said yesterday he did not consider the deal dead and would continue to try to reacquire Mausser.
"We still want Arnie very much and will do anything we can to get him," said Miller from Vancouver, where the Rowdies lost Sunday night to the Whitecaps, 4-1. "There is no chance of a deal this week, but I don't consider it as finished. We'll keep trying to work something out."
Miller, whose team has already lent the maximum three players to Team America, has had difficulty fielding the required minimum of three North Americans this season. He proposed that Team America return Mausser to the Rowdies and select another goalkeeper from a team that had not already loaned the maximum three players.
"We've been very supportive of Team America from the start," said Miller. "But why should we continue to carry the burden? Team America should take someone like (Jim) Tietjens at Fort Lauderdale or (Tulsa's) Winston DuBose. Under the NASL guidelines, these teams couldn't object."
Miller also suggested the possibility of exchanging Mausser for Skip Gilbert, the Rowdies' third-string goalkeeper who is also a member of the U.S. Pan American team.
But before leaving Sunday for Europe, both Team America Coach Alkis Panagoulias and General Manager Beau Rogers said no deal with the Rowdies was currently under consideration.
Miller originally approached Panagoulias about the possibility of reacquiring Mausser after the teams met in Washington June 9. Mausser had played sparingly after a preseason rib injury, and Miller had been dissatisfied with the play of Tampa Bay goalies Jurgen Stars and Tom Boric.
"We had counted heavily on being able to use Arnie, but when Team America took him it really set us back," said Miller. "We didn't have time to recover. But when we saw Arnie wasn't playing much, it made the deal possible."
Mausser, who had played in only three games, had also asked Panagoulias for more playing time.
Both teams announced the trade last Wednesday of Mausser for forward Hugo Perez, a 19-year-old who has played little in his two seasons with the Rowdies. But Team America's demand that Mausser be subject to immediate recall in the event of an injury to starting goalie Paul Hammond eventually doomed the deal. The NASL's trading deadline of July 25 would have made such a clause illegal, and the league announced Saturday that the trade could not be allowed.
Both Mausser and Perez were returned to their original teams and have since played. Mausser was in goal for Team America's 2-1 overtime win over Chicago Saturday night, and Perez played Sunday against Vancouver. Mausser was in Florida yesterday and could not be reached for comment, but Perez was upset by the failure of the trade.
"I wanted to go to Team America so badly," said Perez, a member of the national youth team. "It's a good thing to play for the U.S., and I wasn't playing much here. I felt I could help Team America, and it is still the only team I'd want to play for."