American Soccer League (1982)
Born: 1982 – ASL expansion franchise>
Died: 1982 – The Diamonds cease operations.
Stadium: Hale Stadium
The Nashville Diamonds were a woeful and all but forgotten entry in the minor league American Soccer League during the summer of 1982. Material for this team is practically non-existent, so I was thrilled to find this more-or-less pristine team pennant in a recent auction. The black-on-silver font cracks me up. This doesn’t say “soccer” to me. Or “Nashville” for that matter. More like an iron-on patch design for a D-list 80’s metal band like Autograph or Accept. Or Talas. Or Wyld Stallyns from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.
But anyway. The Diamonds were atrocious. The club won only 3 of their 28 games (3-21-4). One of those wins came early in the season at home against a disbelieving Carolina Lightnin’ squad, defending champs of the ASL.
Lightnin’ captain and assistant coach David Power elaborated in the same article. “They’re probably the worst team I’ve ever played in my life – and that’s saying something.”
Fans stayed away from Hale Stadium on the campus of Tennessee State University in droves and the team quickly ran into financial problems. By July 1982, team officials stated that the club might not finish the season unless 15,000 fans turned out a Friday/Sunday homestand. 700 showed up. Diamonds Head Coach Hector Guevara told The Associated Press a few days later that the entire team voluntarily took 25% to 35% pay cuts to help the team finish out the schedule.
After the 1982 ASL season ended in September, the Diamonds quietly faded into oblivion. The ASL itself followed a year later, folding in early 1984 after a half century of operation.