U.S. national team defender Desmond Armstrong has signed with the Maryland Bays, although there's a chance he will leave before the start of the American Professional Soccer League season to play for Santos, one of Brazil's famed club teams.

Armstrong, a 26-year-old who played at the University of Maryland, was loaned to the Bays by the U.S. Soccer Federation. However, he has been in contact with the Brazilian club and may go for a tryout soon.

"It would be a great opportunity," said Armstrong, who turned down offers from Hajduk Split of Yugoslavia and Hansa Rostock of Germany after the World Cup last summer. "I'll probably know more by the end of the week."

Armstrong, a Howard High School graduate, said the agreement with the Bays will allow him to play for a foreign team, and that the Columbia-based franchise understands his situation.

Also, Bruce Murray, the national team's all-time leading scorer, will meet with Bays Coach Pete Caringi Friday to discuss playing for the defending APSL champions.

Murray, a 25-year-old forward who was one of two U.S. goal scorers in the World Cup, played sporadically the previous three years for the Washington Stars, who merged with the Bays after last season.

"The Bays are my first choice, and I'm looking forward to talking to them," said Murray, a Churchill High graduate who also has sparked the interest of one of the Florida teams.

U.S. goalkeeper Tony Meola (Fort Lauderdale) and forward Peter Vermes (Tampa Bay) signed with APSL clubs last week.

The APSL, consisting of eight or nine teams from the American and Western leagues, will begin play in early May.