Good grief! Do we really need five pages on yet another spoiled-brat American? I'd rather have seen more pages of swimsuits.
AMERICAN SOCCER PLAYERS
I enjoyed the article about Ricky Davis of the MISL's St. Louis Steamers (Not In It For The Kicks, March 4). On the first page Ricky is shown with another young American, John O'Hara (black uniform), four-time All-Star and captain of the Pittsburgh Spirit. John has been captain since 1981, when he was 22. He also played with the U.S. National Team in Trinidad and Tobago in 1982. He is a homegrown Pittsburgher who graduated from Mount Lebanon High and attended the University of Pittsburgh as a scholar-athlete before turning pro. Because not many professional athletes get the opportunity to play for their hometown team, John feels especially privileged.
John learned to play soccer when his father, an attorney for an oil corporation, was transferred to London, where the family lived for three years. As a result, John has always been comfortable with foreign players.
John's dad, Frank O'Hara, was captain of the 1953-54 LaSalle NCAA championship basketball team—the only Philadelphia team ever to win the NCAA title. Tom Gola was his teammate.
I just couldn't help telling you about the "other American" player in that picture. I guess it's because I'm his mom.
JEAN M. O'HARA
Congratulations to Ricky Davis for his love of soccer and for his discovery that there is life after the Cosmos. I, for one, wish him success in St. Louis and with the U.S. national team as well.
A few years ago, the American Soccer League mandated that the majority (six) of the starters on a team be American citizens. I only wish that the NASL had followed suit. I am not denying the impact of players like Pel�, Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia and Johan Cruyff, but where are these players now? If the league had only looked into its own backyard, maybe a few more Ricky Davises and Kyle Rote Jrs. would have surfaced by now.
During the 1973-74 season, my father, Peter Bernal, was the general manager of the NASL's Miami Toros, which later became the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and are now the Minnesota Strikers (who cares?). He was one of the few who recruited American-born players. Now the league is all but kaput. And as for the U.S. soccer team qualifying for the next World Cup, good luck.
ROBERT M. BERNAL
Coral Gables, Fla.