American Soccer League Commissioner David Prouty will resign next month because he doubts there will be sufficient funds to maintain his salary and to continue to improve the league if there is a reduction in the number of teams next year.

After analyzing his first draft of the 1991 budget, Prouty told the ASL's 11 team owners, in a memorandum dated Sept. 4, that "I doubt if the owners have the money to pay me at my current rate and make a commitment to continue to improve the league" if there are eight teams.

Prouty said he had to make deep cuts in operations in the preliminary budget in order to keep the league dues for the remaining teams "within reason. Next year is going to be a survival year, and I would not be satisfied to just sit here, unable to do anything.

"It was a reluctant conclusion on my part. I have enjoyed the job and would like to have continued. But, given the demands of this job, I need to be compensated at a certain level in order to justify the personal costs involved," he said.

Prouty, former executive director of the U.S. Cycling Federation who accepted the ASL position in May 1989, confirmed earlier this week that he would leave the position. He said he did not want to comment until after the league meetings this weekend in Boston.

Prouty's budget conclusions were based on indications that as many as four teams may discontinue operations because of large deficits.

Prouty figured the number of teams would be reduced to eight and the number of games cut from 20 to 14 per team. The operating budget for the league office, based in Jessup, Md., would be slashed from about $430,000 to $300,000. Prouty's undisclosed salary also would take a cut.

The proposed budget represents "the assumed desire of the owners to hang on during the 1991 fiscal year until more is known about the formation of the {U.S. Soccer Federation} professional division," Prouty said in the memorandum.

Newly elected USSF President Alan Rothenberg has indicated the federation is eager to start a national pro league that would begin play no later than 1994, when the United States will host the World Cup for the first time. ASL teams would likely be involved in such a league. The question is how long the owners can tolerate mounting losses before the USSF announces its plans to go nationwide.

Currently the only national play is the American Professional Soccer League championship, which will be played 8 p.m. Saturday at Boston University's Nickerson Field between the ASL champion Maryland Bays and the Western Soccer League titlist San Francisco Bay Blackhawks.

Orlando Lions President Colin Phipps, an ASL executive committee member instrumental in hiring Prouty, said: "David Prouty is terrific. He's done a tremendous job, considering all things."

At the meetings, some beleagured owners are expected to announce whether they will return for next year's fourth season. At least four clubs are considered in "serious" financial trouble and may fold, sources said.

It's also believed the WSL will lose two of its 11 teams.

An ASL expansion franchise will be added in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C., area and a merger involving two or three of the D.C. area teams -- the Bays, Washington Stars and Washington Diplomats -- is still being considered.

Stars owner John Koskinen already has indicated his club will not return to W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax. The Diplomats, who had their main phone number disconnected last month, are unlikely to return under current ownership.