Born: 1986 – Western Soccer Alliance expansion franchise.
Died: Postseason 1990 – The Nomads drop to amateur/youth club status.
Team Colors: White, Blue & Red
- 1986-1988: ?
- 1988-1990: Jerry Burwell
The San Diego Nomads were a low-budget semi-pro/pro soccer club that competed during the late 1980’s, a period viewed as the Dark Ages for outdoor professional soccer in the United States. After the demise of the North American Soccer League in 1984 there was no nationwide pro league in the country for the remainder of the decade. The best players toiled indoors in the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL), which was dominated by foreign players.
The city of San Diego happened to host the finest indoor team of the era. The Sockers (1978-1996) were a former outdoor side turned indoor dynasty and they employed the highest paid soccer player in the United States at the end of the 1980’s – the Yugoslav striker Branko Segota, who earned $102,000 during the 1989-90 MISL season.
The Nomads entered the Western Soccer Alliance (1985-1988) quietly in the spring of 1986. For the next four summers, the Nomads would compete as a semi-pro side. U.S. National Team players like Marcelo Balboa and Paul Caligiuri played alongside high school players and moonlighting Sockers players such as Paul Dougherty and Paul Wright.
In 1989, the Nomads won the Western Soccer League title with a semi-pro roster. The victory earned them a meeting with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the East Coast-based American Soccer League to crown the so-called National Pro Soccer Champion. The Strikers were a fully professional side, featuring many veterans of the old NASL. The Nomads had three 17-year old high school players on the team and were missing five regular players for the title match due to NCAA commitments. The Nomads took an early 1-0 lead, but ultimately were no match for the veteran Strikers and lost 3-1. The match drew an impressive (for the era) 8,600 fans in the neutral site of San Jose’s Spartan Stadium on September 9th, 1989.
In 1990 the Western Soccer League merged with the American Soccer League to former the American Professional Soccer League (APSL). Although teams continued to play a regional schedule, it was a baby step to the restoration of a fully professional league with a nationwide footprint. The Nomads committed to field a pro side for the first time in 1990. At the same time, the club shifted its home games from Balboa Stadium in San Diego to the campus of Southwestern College in Chula Vista.
The move to Chula Vista was a bust at the box office and the Nomads withdrew from professional play after the 1990 APSL season. Like many lower-division American clubs of the 1990’s and 2000’s, the Nomads came to realize their real business was running academy programs at the youth level. The Nomads still exist today as an academy program (www.nomadssoccer.org) and still use the same logo from their adult semi-pro/pro sides of a quarter century ago.
==San Diego Nomads Programs on Fun While It Lasted==
|1988||6/19/1988||vs. F.C. Seattle Storm||??||Program|
|1989||4/23/1989||vs. L.A. Heat||L 2-1 (PKs)||Program|
|1989||7/23/1989||vs. Portland Timbers||W 1-0 (PKs)||Program|
|1989||9/9/1989||Fort Lauderdale Strikers||L 3-1||Program|
|1990||4/7/1990||@ San Francisco Bay Blackhawks||??||Program|
|1990||8/4/1990||vs. California Emperors||??||Program|