The Salt Lake Sting, who for the last month have been quietly preparing for the American Professional Soccer League season, officially open play with a pair of games Friday and Saturday in the southwest.

The Sting will play its first-ever game Friday at 7 p.m. against another expansion club, the New Mexico Chiles at 6,000-seat Wilson Stadium in Albuquerque. The following night, the Sting will play the Arizona Condors at 7:30 p.m. in Mesa."We'll be taking the first few games to find ourselves," said Sting Coach Laurie Calloway. "They'll be like exhibition games for us."

So far the Sting have been playing against the likes of the Weber State soccer team (which it beat 7-0) and the Utah Senior Select Team (which it has beaten four times). They're looking forward to seeing how they'll match up against another professional team.

"We have a solid defensive team - that is our strength right now," said Calloway, who doubles as the team's general manager. "We plan to have a wide-open attacking style of play. We like to take the initiative."

The Sting have a 17-man roster that includes one foriegner, four local players and several from the San Jose area, which is where Calloway came from. There are also several players from Fresno.

Among the top players are Barney Boyce and Joe Silvera, veterans of the defunct NASL soccer league, stopper Chris Wentzien, who played at UC Santa Barbara, Derek Sanderson, one of the first players the NASL drafted out of high school, Derek Crothers, a midfielder from Ireland, and Dzung Tran, a Vietnamese native, who has four years of pro experience.

The APSL, in an effort to maximize goals, has a system where teams get a point in the standings for every goal up to three. The winning team gets six points, so a team has the possibility of getting nine points for a win, with the loser getting a maximum of three.

Games consist of two 45-minute halves with two 10-minute overtimes in case of a tie.

The home season opener will be April 21 in Derks Field against the league preseason favorite, the San Francisco Bay Blackhawks.

(Additional information)

Sting Roster

No. Name Pos. Hometown

1 Paul Parkinson GK Cupertino, Calif.

2 Steve Sengelmann FB Park City

3 Chris Wentzien FB San Jose, Calif.

4 Kenny Mays FB Fresno, Calif.

5 Barney Boyce FB/HB San Jose

6 Paul Tell FB Fresno, Calif.

7 Deerk Crothers HB Dublin, Ireland

8 Craig Huft HB Livermore, Calif.

9 Derek Sanderson F San Jose, Calif.

10 Shawn Lockwood F Salt Lake City

12 Dominic Militello F Palos Verdes

13 Mike Foscalina F Livermore, Calif.

14 Dzung Tran F/HB San Jose, Calif.

15 Joe Silveira FB Cupertino, Calif.

16 Matt Larrabee MF Salt Lake City

17 Earle Davidson HB Mendham, N.J.

26 Mike Knipps GK Provo, Utah