The American Professional Soccer League probably will have eight teams that will begin play in May, league owners announced yesterday in Miami.
The APSL, formed by teams from the American and Western soccer leagues, will become the first national outdoor league since the North American Soccer League folded after the 1984 season.
The APSL has existed for two years for marketing and business purposes, though the only interleague play was an unofficial national championship game in September.
Teams from the 11-team ASL that will continue are the defending champion Maryland Bays, the Albany Capitals, Penn-Jersey Spirit, Miami Freedom, Tampa Bay Rowdies and Fort Lauderdale Strikers, who inherited players from the Orlando Lions.
The San Francisco Bay Blackhawks and Colorado Foxes are the only continuing members from the 11-team WSL. The status of Salt Lake City's franchise is uncertain, and it's possible the team will become the APSL's ninth playing member.
The Seattle Storm and New Jersey Eagles are among the clubs that will maintain operations, but will not field teams.
Clubs will play an 18-game schedule, including matches against international teams that will count in the standings. League officials have talked to Soviet and Central and South American federations about possible matches.
The Bays, who merged with the Fairfax-based Washington Stars, will play most of their home matches at Cedar Lane Park in Columbia. They also will play three or four games at RFK Stadium -- home the previous three seasons to the defunct Washington Diplomats -- with a doubleheader featuring the U.S. national team in an international exhibition a possibility.