MISL Notebook : Sockers Head and Shoulders Above Rest

Paul Dougherty, 5-foot 2-inch Socker midfielder, stood on Waad Hirmez’s shoulders, Hirmez kicked the ball into the air and Dougherty headed it into the net.

Then Dougherty did his patented post-goal flip, balanced the ball on his head and passed to Hirmez, who scored on a backward scissors kick from inside the box.

And thus the Sockers’ “Odd Couple Flippers” won the first Starshot competition Tuesday night at the Tacoma Dome.

Hirmez and Dougherty outscored the Kansas City Comet “Ad-Lib” duo of Kim Roentved and Kia, 66-54, in the final round to win $5,000. Socker Coach Ron Newman won two round-trip tickets to anywhere in the United States.


“We had the crowd,” an excited Dougherty after the competition. “We had the crowd.”

In Starshot, each two-man team from the 11 MISL teams started at midfield and had 20 seconds to score the most creative goal.

The Sockers advanced to the second round of four teams with their most creative maneuver, which earned a 63 (out of a possible 70) from the seven judges.

“Other teams don’t have someone as small as Paul that you can put on your shoulders,” Hirmez said.

Hirmez and Dougherty, roommates on the road, actually thought the finals would be held during the All-Star Game tonight. Therefore, they used up their most creative act before the finals. In the finals, they had to do something different.

“We had to think of something on the spot,” Hirmez said. “We figured a scissors kick would do it.”

It did.

Socker midfielder Branko Segota is doubtful for tonight’s game with a sprained left ankle suffered against Kansas City Sunday.


If he does not, St. Louis forward Poli Garcia, a participant in the Starshot competition, probably will replace him, Western Division Coach Alan Hinton said.

Socker Brian Quinn will miss the game with a strained right arch. Goalie Zoltan Toth, Kevin Crow and Fernando Clavijo will represent the Sockers. It is the fourth consecutive All-Star appearance for Crow and third straight for Clavijo.

Hinton had said Clavijo was a candidate to captain the Western Division team, but he decided to name Steve Zungul of the hometown Stars instead.

News from the MISL Board of Directors meeting Tuesday:


The regular season schedule will remain at 56 games. There had been discussion that it would be cut back to 48 or 52.

All the playoff series will be best four-of-seven next season. This season, the division semifinals are best 3-of-5 and the division finals and championship series are best 4-of-7.

Commissioner Bill Kentling said the board was advised by Stuart Weitzman, Blast assistant managing general partner, that the city of Baltimore and the Blast have re-opened negotiations about the Blast remaining at the Baltimore Arena. The Blast have talked about possibly relocating in Cincinnati.

The MISL executive committee has been reduced from six to four members because it’s easier to schedule meetings with four, Kentling said. There currently are only four members anyway; Baltimore, Chicago, Wichita and Cleveland.


The board also discussed gate receipts collected in the first half of the season and how the league can increase its average attendance of about 8,500 per game. Last season, the MISL averaged 8,714 fans for regular season games.

ALIX, the official footwear of the MISL referees, presented plaques to six men who have been a part of the league since its inception 10 years ago. They are Baltimore goalkeeper Keith Van Eron and defender Dave MacKenzie, Dallas defender Doc Lawson, MISL Deputy Commissioner Mitch Jurke, Cleveland General Manager Paul Garofolo and referee Gino Dippolito.


A tape of tonight’s game will be shown nationally by FNN/Score Thursday. Subscribers to Southwestern Cable in San Diego can see the game on Channel 36 Thursday at 5 p.m. . . . Socker defender George Katakalidis is scheduled to undergo surgery for a fractured toe today. Katakalidis has yet to play this season. . . . Fernando Clavijo said he agreed to contract terms on a multi-year deal last month but has yet to receive the contract. “I’m not being unreasonable,” said Clavijo, in the final year of his contract. “It looked pretty close, but I told my agent that if we don’t get something soon, we should look somewhere else. I’m a little worried now.” . . . Said Ron Newman of the Sockers, the Western Division assistant coach: “I’ll sit back and carry the balls for Alan (Hinton). You can’t have two people doing the organizing.”