Kirk Detoured Along Road to Olympics

Times Staff Writer

Joey Kirk traveled to Guatemala with a U. S. national soccer team hoping to earn a place on the 1988 Olympic soccer team. He returned to Los Angeles on Monday night with a story that might qualify him for a role in a sequel to "Planes, Trains and Automobiles."

Kirk, an All-American forward from Cal State Northridge, did not score a goal but said he played well during the 12-day, three-game tour. He left Guatemala on Monday morning at 5:30 and flew to Houston where he was to catch a connecting flight to Denver and then to Burbank.

When Kirk arrived in Houston, he and a few teammates learned that their scheduled flight to Denver had been canceled and that they would be rerouted to Los Angeles through San Francisco.

"The lady said San Francisco at 3:30," said Kirk, who waited in the airport until the afternoon departure.

The only problem was that 3:30 was the arrival time in San Francisco. Kirk missed the plane and finally caught a nonstop flight from Houston to Los Angeles at 6 p.m. He arrived at LAX at 10 only to discover that his luggage had gone to Burbank.

"I just got back from picking up my bags," Kirk said Tuesday. "I was supposed to be in Santa Ana two hours ago."

Kirk, who lives in Granada Hills, was late for a practice for the Senior Bowl Soccer Classic--a college all-star game that will be played Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Santa Ana Bowl in Santa Ana. The game matches teams from the East and West and will serve as yet another opportunity for Kirk to impress the Olympic coaching staff and earn a position on the U. S. team that will compete in March in the Marlboro Cup in Miami.

"I played well overall in Guatemala, but I'm the type who wants the results," said Kirk, who scored 30 goals this season for CSUN. "This thing Saturday night is pretty big."

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