FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (November 1, 2000) � The
Miami Fusion began its restructuring for the 2001
season today by waiving defender Francis Okaroh and
midfielders Nelson Vargas and Maurizio Rocha. The trio will
be part of the Major League Soccer Waiver Draft,
scheduled to take place Friday at 2 PM (ET). The Fusion
will have the fourth selection in the draft.
<br>�These decisions are always agonizing, especially when
you�re dealing with a classy veteran like Francis and a
long-time contributor like Nelson and a young prospect like
Maurizio,� said Head Coach Ray Hudson. �All three are
quality players who should be able to find a place in the
league. Now we will turn our attention to Friday�s draft
to see if we can pick up one or two players who suit
our needs.� <br><br>Vargas, 26, is a five-year MLS
veteran who joined the Fusion prior to the 1998 inaugural
season via the MLS Expansion Draft. He recorded three
assists in 14 appearances in the 2000 season before
suffering a right ankle sprain in late July that kept him
out the remainder of the year. A graduate of Miami�s
Coral Park Senior High, Vargas set career-highs with
the Fusion in 1999 in assists (6), games played (22),
games started (14) and minutes played (1171).
<br><br>Okaroh, 37, joined the Fusion just before the 2000 season
in a trade from the Chicago Fire in exchange for a
second round pick in the 2001 MLS SuperDraft and a
conditional pick in the 2002 SuperDraft. A former member of
the Nigerian National Team, he made 13 starts and 13
appearances for the Fusion and served as the team captain for
nine contests. Okaroh made only one appearance in the
final 18 games of the season and was unavailable for 11
games in the 2000 campaign due to various injuries.
<br><br>Rocha, 24, was a non-roster Project-40 developmental
player for the Fusion the past two seasons who graduated
from the program in October. A native of Bolivia,
Rocha made two appearances last season, including a
start in the Fusion�s season finale at D.C. United. He
recorded three assists in 11 appearances in 1999.
<br><br>�We thank all three players for their contributions
to the Fusion and wish them well in their future
endeavors,� said VP and General Manager Doug Hamilton.