When Robert Lifton first revealed his plans for Team America to other North American Soccer League owners in the spring, they applauded him. Profits and international recognition were promised and the salvation of the league appeared at hand.

But now, six months and losses totaling $750,000 later, Lifton says he is on the verge of withdrawing his support from Team America. Angered by a perceived lack of cooperation from this country's professional leagues and the U.S. Soccer Federation, Lifton feels victimized by what he sees as politics and infighting. He has set Sept. 5 as the deadline for terminating his participation in Team America.

But in interviews last week, there seemed to be little sympathy around the league for him.

Ironically, Lifton's lucrative projections for Team America, which will play the Tulsa Roughnecks at 2:30 p.m. today at RFK Stadium (WWDC-1260), and the NASL may have cost him the support of other owners.

"It is difficult for most of the owners in the NASL to accept someone like Lifton," said John Kerr, executive director of the NASL Players Association. "For him to come in and say, 'Give me part of your team and I'll keep the league afloat'--well, that's unheard of. He was talking about turning a profit when all these owners had done was lose money."

Lifton says he will lose approximately $750,000 this season, but figures to turn a profit next season, something that has not happned in the NASL since the mid-70s. Only the Vancouver Whitecaps have a chance to make money in 1983. Several teams--particularly Seattle, San Diego and Montreal--appear on the verge of collapse.

"All of the owners are in the same boat; we sympathize with one another," said Doug Verb, vice president of the Chicago Sting, which will lose approximately $1.5 million this year. "But if a team, any team, lost just $750,000 in its first year, then I'd say they had done an exceptional job. Most teams dream of losing that little."

"I have very little sympathy with Mr. Lifton's position," said Tim Robbie, general manager of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. "With his losses, he's got the best deal in the league."

"I can feel sorry for anybody who loses money," said Alex Skotarek, general manager of the Tulsa Roughnecks. "But $750,000 is not a large amount to most clubs. Very few teams will lose that little."

Lifton is scheduled to meet with NASL President Howard Samuels Monday in New York in an attempt to work out a compromise that will keep him in the league.

"I don't see where there's much room for negotiation," Lifton said. "I stated what I need in the letter. But I'm willing to listen to what Howard has to say. Maybe the owners thought of something I didn't."

On Monday, Lifton sent a four-page letter to Samuels, Kerr, Major Indoor Soccer League Commissioner Earl Foreman and USSF officials Gene Edwards and Werner Fricker, offering to return his players to their original clubs for the upcoming indoor season. In return, Lifton wanted Coach Alkis Panagoulias to have the right to pick any players for Team America next year.

In the letter, Lifton also criticized the USSF for failing to arrange an off-season tour for the U.S. national team, something which would have helped Team America remain solvent during the winter. According to its charter, Team America would receive $500,000 from USSF if an international tour is set up. But the financially strapped USSF has no tour arranged, although a USSF official said one would be put together later this year.

With his self-imposed deadline two weeks away and little chance of getting what he wants from the other owners, Lifton feels there is a lack of foresight in this country's soccer.

"I am prepared to continue to do all that I can to . . . make Team America succeed," Lifton said in the letter. " . . . I implore you to put aside league or other rivalries and rally to a cause with which each of you has Team America's Losses Gain Little Sympathy By Doug Cress Special to The Washington Post

When Robert Lifton first revealed his plans for Team America to other North American Soccer League owners in the spring, they applauded him. Profits and international recognition were promised and the salvation of the league appeared at hand.

But now, six months and losses totaling $750,000 later, Lifton says he is on the verge of withdrawing his support from Team America. Angered by a perceived lack of cooperation from this country's professional leagues and the U.S. Soccer Federation, Lifton feels victimized by what he sees as politics and infighting. He has set Sept. 5 as the deadline for terminating his participation in Team America.

But in interviews last week, there seemed to be little sympathy around the league for him.

Ironically, Lifton's lucrative projections for Team America, which will play the Tulsa Roughnecks at 2:30 p.m. today at RFK Stadium (WWDC-1260), and the NASL may have cost him the support of other owners.

"It is difficult for most of the owners in the NASL to accept someone like Lifton," said John Kerr, executive director of the NASL Players Association. "For him to come in and say, 'Give me part of your team and I'll keep the league afloat'--well, that's unheard of. He was talking about turning a profit when all these owners had done was lose money."

Lifton says he will lose approximately $750,000 this season, but figures to turn a profit next season, something that has not happned in the NASL since the mid-70s. Only the Vancouver Whitecaps have a chance to make money in 1983. Several teams--particularly Seattle, San Diego and Montreal--appear on the verge of collapse.

"All of the owners are in the same boat; we sympathize with one another," said Doug Verb, vice president of the Chicago Sting, which will lose approximately $1.5 million this year. "But if a team, any team, lost just $750,000 in its first year, then I'd say they had done an exceptional job. Most teams dream of losing that little."

"I have very little sympathy with Mr. Lifton's position," said Tim Robbie, general manager of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. "With his losses, he's got the best deal in the league."

"I can feel sorry for anybody who loses money," said Alex Skotarek, general manager of the Tulsa Roughnecks. "But $750,000 is not a large amount to most clubs. Very few teams will lose that little."

Lifton is scheduled to meet with NASL President Howard Samuels Monday in New York in an attempt to work out a compromise that will keep him in the league.

"I don't see where there's much room for negotiation," Lifton said. "I stated what I need in the letter. But I'm willing to listen to what Howard has to say. Maybe the owners thought of something I didn't."

On Monday, Lifton sent a four-page letter to Samuels, Kerr, Major Indoor Soccer League Commissioner Earl Foreman and USSF officials Gene Edwards and Werner Fricker, offering to return his players to their original clubs for the upcoming indoor season. In return, Lifton wanted Coach Alkis Panagoulias to have the right to pick any players for Team America next year.

In the letter, Lifton also criticized the USSF for failing to arrange an off-season tour for the U.S. national team, something which would have helped Team America remain solvent during the winter. According to its charter, Team America would receive $500,000 from USSF if an international tour is set up. But the financially strapped USSF has no tour arranged, although a USSF official said one would be put together later this year.

With his self-imposed deadline two weeks away and little chance of getting what he wants from the other owners, Lifton feels there is a lack of foresight in this country's soccer.

"I am prepared to continue to do all that I can to . . . make Team America succeed," Lifton said in the letter. " . . . I implore you to put aside league or other rivalries and rally to a cause with which each of you has identification. Failure to do so will be viewed in the world as abandonment of soccer as an American sport."