California Surf vs. Chicago Sting
June 22, 1980
Colorful KICK Magazine game program for the June 22, 1980 North American Soccer League match between the California Surf (1978-1981) and the visiting Chicago Sting (1975-1988) in Anaheim. The Sting won this match 2-0, peppering the Surf’s 19-year rookie goalkeeper Steve Hellmich with 24 shots in his pro debut. Hellmich was pressed into action thanks to the suspension of starting keeper Alan Mayer, one of the best players on a typically mediocre Surf club.
An announced attendance of just 6,975 showed up at Anaheim Stadium, a 69,000-seat multi-use stadium that configured to 43,200 for soccer. That was about par for the course for the Surf, who averaged only 7,593 for 16 home matches in 1980. Like the NASL’s nearby Los Angeles Aztecs (1974-1981), the Surf never really captured the interest of Southern California fans.
The Surf hung in there for one additional season in the summer of 1981, even acquiring former Brazilian World Cup captain Carlos Alberto (coincidentally pictured 2nd from left on the cover of this program in his New York Cosmos days). But Alberto’s presence meant little to the largely disinterested locals of Orange Counry and Surf investors finally tossed in the towel and went out of business on September 15, 1981.