Club Espana, the District-based amateur soccer team that will form the nucleus for the American Soccer League's Washington Diplomats, is in Fenton, Mo., to play the Mean Green of Richardson, Tex., today in the national semifinals of the U.S. Soccer Federation Amateur Cup tournament.

It is Club Espana's second trip to the St. Louis Soccer Park in three years. In 1985 it returned with the cup. A victory today would put Club Espana into Sunday's final. Last year's winner was the Spartans, a Fairfax club that will form the nucleus of the ASL's F.C. Washington team.

"It just shows the quality of soccer in this area," Club Espana midfielder Darryl Gee said.

For most Club Espana players, soccer is secondary to a full-time job. They are usually impossible to reach by telephone. That they all manage to show up at the same place at the same time is occasionally amazing.

"If you only knew some of the stories," said Gee. "I could make you laugh for days. But when we get it together on the field, we're good."

It makes no difference that the team can start players of 11 nationalities or that the players range in age from 21 to 36.

Every one of the team's players and coaches is connected to at least one professional or national team. Nine members of this year's Club Espana were on the team in 1985.

"We have a fair amount of experience," said midfielder Ian Bain, who works days as Springbrook High School's soccer coach.

Bain played for the first Washington Diplomats. He was a three-time all-America at Howard and played 12 years for the Trinidad and Tobago national team.

"The two games we played two weeks ago {as the Diplomats in the Ambassador Cup}, helped us a lot because everybody got to play at least a little bit," Bain said.