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1986-1990 San Diego Nomads

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San Diego Nomads Media GuideWestern Soccer Alliance (1986-1988)
Western Soccer League (1989)
American Professional Soccer League (1990)

Born: 1986 – Western Soccer Alliance expansion franchise.
Died: Postseason 1990 – The Nomads drop to amateur/youth club status.

Stadiums:

Team Colors: White, Blue & Red

Owners:

 

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.

San Diego NomadsIn 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==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other

1988

1988 6/19/1988 vs. F.C. Seattle Storm ?? Program

1989

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

1990 4/7/1990 @ San Francisco Bay Blackhawks ?? Program
1990 8/4/1990 vs. California Emperors ?? Program

 

==Links==

American Professional Soccer League Media Guides

American Professional Soccer League Programs

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1980-1992 Baltimore Blast

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Baltimore Blast Yearbook

Major Indoor Soccer League (1980-1992)

Born: May 1980 – The Houston Summit relocates to Baltimore, MD.
Died: July 1992 – The Blast cease operations.

Arena: Baltimore Arena (12,506)

Team Colors: Flaming Red-Orange, Fiery Yellow & White

Owners:

 

The original Baltimore Blast were a popular, immensely entertaining entry on the Baltimore sports scene throughout the 1980’s.  The team arrived in Charm City in the spring of 1980 by way of Houston, Texas, where the franchise had failed to develop a following during the first two seasons of the Major Indoor Soccer League.  But in Baltimore, the Blast would find a rare and enviable situation – a “Major League” sports market with a distinct shortage of Major League teams.  Once the NFL’s Baltimore Colts snuck out of town on March 28th, 1984, the Blast had Baltimore’s winter sports scene all to themselves.

Sepp Gantenhammer Baltimore BlastBlast games at the Baltimore Civic Center were a spectacle, starting with the team’s elaborate pre-game introductions. The lights dimmed, Christopher Cross’ “Ride Like The Wind” boomed over the sound system, fog swirled, and the Blast cheerleaders and players charged onto the arena floor from an exploding soccer ball-shaped spaceship that descended from the ceiling.  Kool & The Gang’s “Celebration” was the Blast’s goal song and would be heard over and over again, as the high-scoring MISL averaged nearly 11 goals per match.

Beyond the marketing glitz, the Blast were a consistently terrific team under Head Coach Kenny Cooper, who moved with the team from Houston and would guide the club for all 12 seasons in Baltimore.  The Blast had fierce divisional rivalries with the New York Arrows in the early part of the 1980’s and then with the Cleveland Force in the middle of the decade.

But the team’s toughest opponent was Ron Newman’s San Diego Sockers, the great indoor dynasty of the 80’s.  The Blast made the MISL playoffs eleven times in twelve seasons.  On five occasions (’83, ’84, ’85, ’89 and ’90) the Blast advanced to the Championship Series, losing the Newman’s club four times.  Baltimore’s only MISL title came in 1984, a season when the Sockers competed in the rival North American Soccer League.

On June 8th, 1984, the Blast defeated the St. Louis Steamers in Game 5 of the MISL finals to win the league championship.  This win would mark the peak of the team’s popularity and influence in Baltimore.  The Colts had just left town.  The Blast averaged a franchise record 11,189 fans per game at the Civic Center in 1983-84.  The victory was also a vindication of one of Kenny Cooper’s boldest moves.  Eleven months earlier, Cooper paid a league record $150,000 transfer fee to purchase an overweight Yugoslav striker named Stan Stamenkovic from the Memphis Americans.  Stamenkovic, known as “The Pizza Man” for his abominable dietary and conditioning habits, led the MISL in scoring in both the regular season and playoffs and was the named the league’s Most Valuable Player for 1984.

Baltimore Blast YearbookThe Blast’s 1984 championship was sweet for original owner Bernie Rodin, as he was last man standing of the MISL’s original owners from 1978 and it was his final game in the league.  Rodin had sold the Blast for a league record $2.9 million to Nathan Scherr three months earlier and the ownership transfer would take formal effect one week after the Finals victory.

The Blast continued to be a fixture in Baltimore for the rest of the decade, averaging over 10,000 fans per game through 1986.  The fortunes of both the MISL and the Blast began to flag as the decade drew to an end.  The league nearly folded in the summer of 1988.  Budget cuts saw the Blast’s vaunted pre-game pyrotechnics scaled back in the late 1980’s, even as previously conservative NBA and NHL teams began to co-opt the MISL’s flashy game presentation tactics.  Nathan Scherr’s early 1989 sale of the Blast to Ed Hale brought just $700,000, or less than 25% of what the team commanded five years earlier.

The Blast played their final matches in April 1992.  Appropriately, the team lost their last contests to Ron Newman and the San Diego Sockers in the 1992 playoff semi-finals.  Fewer than 5,000 fans turned out for each of the semi-final games at Baltimore Arena.

The MISL went out of business  in July 1992 and the Blast closed up shop along with the league.  Within a matter of days, a new indoor club called the Baltimore Spirit was organized with Kenny Cooper returning as Head Coach and Bill Stealey as the new owner.  The Spirit entered the lower-budget National Professional Soccer League, where they would compete for six seasons.  In 1998, former Blast owner Ed Hale purchased the Spirit from Bill Stealey and changed the name back to the Baltimore Blast.  This second version of the Blast continues to play today under Ed Hale’s ownership.

 

==Slideshow==

 

==Baltimore Blast Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other

1980-81

1980-81 11/29/1980 vs. Philadelphia Fever W 10-7 Program
1980-81 2/19/1981 @ Hartford Hellions W 4-3 Program
1980-81 2/22/1981 @ Buffalo Stallions L 5-3 Program

1981-82

1981-82 12/22/1981 @ Cleveland Force W 6-4 Program
1981-82 12/27/1981 vs. Buffalo Stallions L 13-2 Program

1982-83

1982-83 11/5/1982 @ Chicago Sting W 6-5 (OT) Program
1982-83 3/23/1983 @ Los Angeles Lazers W 4-3 (OT) Program

1983-84

1983-84 11/26/1983 vs. Los Angeles Lazers W 7-3 Program
1983-84 11/29/1983 vs. Kansas City Comets W 7-1 Program
1983-84 12/4/1983 vs. Buffalo Stallions W 7-4 Program
1983-84 1/19/1984 @ Los Angeles Lazers L 4-3 Program
1983-84 2/5/1984 @ Cleveland Force W 6-5 Program
1983-84 4/15/1984 @ Cleveland Force W 3-2 Program

1984-85

1984-85 3/26/1985 @ Los Angeles Lazers L 4-3 Program
1984-85 4/28/1985 @ Los Angeles Lazers W 5-4 Program
1984-85 5/10/1985 @ Cleveland Force W 4-3 Program

1985-86

1985-86 1/4/1986 vs. Dallas Sidekicks W 8-4 Program
1985-86 1/17/1986 @ Los Angeles Lazers W 4-3 Program
1985-86 3/6/1986 @ Chicago Sting L 5-2 Program

1986-87

1986-87 1/9/1987 @ Los Angeles Lazers L 5-2 Program
1986-87 2/1/1987 vs. San Diego Sockers  W 7-3 Program
1986-87 2/3/1987 vs. Dynamo Moscow W 8-7 Program Game Notes
1986-87 3/27/1987 @ Los Angeles Lazers L 4-3 Program

1987-88

1987-88 12/26/1987 @ Wichita Wings L 5-4 Program
1987-88 1/15/1988 @ Los Angeles Lazers W 10-4 Program
1987-88 3/18/1988 @ Los Angeles Lazers L 12-6 Program

1988-89

1988-89 12/3/1988 @ Los Angeles Lazers W 6-2 Program
1988-89 1/7/1989 @ Los Angeles Lazers L 6-1 Program
1988-89 2/7/1989 @ Los Angeles Lazers L 10-7 Program
1988-89 3/16/1989 @ Los Angeles Lazers L 3-2 Program
1988-89 6/2/1989 @ San Diego Sockers  L 5-2 Program
1988-89 6/4/1989 @ San Diego Sockers  L 4-3 Program
1988-89 6/6/1989 @ San Diego Sockers  w 6-3 Program
1988-89 6/10/1989 vs. San Diego Sockers  L 6-5 Video

1989-90

1989-90 4/20/1990 @ Cleveland Crunch  W 7-6 (OT) Program

 

 

==Key Players==

 

==In Memoriam==

Blast defender Mike Reynolds passed away at age 27 on July 1, 1991, two days after suffering a stroke at a Blast promotional event.

Former MISL MVP Stan Stamenkovic (Blast ’83-’88) died from a slip-and-fall in Serbia on January 28, 1996.  He was 39.

English forward Paul Crossley (Blast ’80-’83) died from a heart attack at the age of 47 on March 11, 1996.

Former Blast owner Nathan Scherr (’84-’88) died of Parkinson’s disease on November 21, 2003 at age 80. Baltimore Sun obit.

Canadian striker Domenic Mobilio (’89-’92) died of a heart attack on November 13, 2004 at the age of 35.

Paul Kitson (’83-’86) died of a heart attack while conducting a soccer clinic on August 25, 2005.  Kitson was 49.

Goalkeeper Slobo Ilijevski (Blast ’88-’89) passed away July 14, 2008 at age 58 after suffering a ruptured aorta during a soccer game.

 

==YouTube==

Blast vs. San Diego Sockers. 1983 MISL Championship Series Game 4 at Baltimore Arena. May 19, 1983.

==Downloads==

2-3-1987 Baltimore Blast vs. Dynamo Moscow Game Program

 

==Links==

The Blast had one at last“, E.M. Swift, Sports Illustrated, June 18, 1984

Major It Never Was, but Covering Soccer Was a Blast“, Melody Simmons, The Baltimore Sun, July 19, 1992

Major Indoor Soccer League Media Guides

Major Indoor Soccer League Programs

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Washington Darts vs. Bangu. August 8, 1971

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Washington Darts ProgramWashington Darts vs. Bangu (Brazil)
August 8, 1971
Catholic University Stadium
Attendance: 4,403

North American Soccer League Programs
8 Pages

 

Rare match day sheet for a 1971 international match between the short-lived Washington Darts (1968-1971) of the North American Soccer League and visiting Bangu of Brazil.  Bangu was a frequent visitor to the States in the late 1960’s and early 70’s.  In 1967 the Brazilian club spent most of their summer offseason in Texas, moonlighting as the “Houston Stars” in the United Soccer Association, a league that imported foreign clubs to play under Americanized names.

This match, held at the 7,000 Catholic University Stadium, was part of a short U.S. tour by Bangu in 1971.  The struggling NASL was down to just eight clubs in 1971 and relied on international matches to both generate interest and fill out the schedule.  So this match wasn’t a friendly – it actually counted in the regular season standings.

The result was a 2-2 draw.  The Darts got goals from Tibor Szalay and Warren Archibald, but couldn’t hold a 2-1 second half lead. Bangu’s goals came from Edson Bonfim and Amauri Da Silva.

The debt-ridden Darts club would play only two more home matches after this date with Bangu.  The team was sold in the offseason and moved to Miami where it became the Miami Gatos in 1972.

 

==Links==

More NASL International Friendlies

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Written by andycrossley

March 13th, 2015 at 1:55 pm

1975 Pittsburgh Miners

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American Soccer League (1975)

Born: January 16, 1975 – ASL expansion franchise.
Died: Postseason 1975 – The Miners cease operations.

Stadiums:

Team Colors:

Owner: William Renton

 

The Pittsburgh Miners were a 2nd Division soccer club that competed in the American Soccer League in the summer of 1975.  The club had a miserable season, winning just one of 20 matches (1-16-3).  Coal executive William Renton of Cleveland owned the Miners.

The Miners’ roster was composed entirely of American players.  Among the best was Pennsylvania native and Pitt grad Joe Luxbacher, the Miners’ leading scorer with six goals.  He would later play for the Pittsburgh Spirit of the Major Indoor Soccer League, before becoming head coach at his alma mater in 1984.  As of 2014, Luxbacher has coached the University of Pittsburgh soccer team for 31 seasons.

Miners home games were originally scheduled at Martorelli Stadium at North Hills High School.  Midway through the season, the club shifted to a field in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania.  The team folded quietly at the end of the 1975 season.

 

==Links==

American Soccer League Media Guides

American Soccer League Programs

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Chicago Sting vs. St. Louis Steamers. April 16, 1988

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Ernie Buriano Chicago StingChicago Sting vs. St. Louis Steamers
April 16, 1988
Rosemont Horizon
Attendance: 4,604

Major Indoor Soccer League Programs
52 Pages

 

A quiet, downbeat ending to two proud American soccer franchises on a spring Saturday night in suburban Chicago.  The St. Louis Steamers hung a 4-3 overtime defeat on the host Chicago Sting in what would prove to be the final game for both franchises.  As the Sting’s Chicago Tribune beat writer, the late John Leptich, put it the next morning: “The term sudden death never had more applications.”

The Sting, at the time, were the longest continuously operating pro soccer club in the United States.  Founded on Halloween 1974 by commodities Lee Stern, the Sting won two outdoor soccer championships in the North American Soccer League in the early 1980’s before moving permanently indoors in 1984.  The team drew huge crowds at Chicago Stadium for indoor soccer early in the decade.  But a 1986 move to the suburban Rosemont Horizon coincided with a loss of form on the field.  Attendance cratered from over 10,000 per match during the 1984-85 campaign to fewer than 6,000 two years later.  By the spring of 1988, ever a stalwart backer like Stern was exhausted and a possible sale and relocated to Denver or Milwaukee was rumored.

If the Major Indoor Soccer League itself survived, that is.  As this final weekend of the 1987-88 regular season calendar approached, the MISL was at loggerheads with its Players’ Association over a new collective bargaining agreement.  League owners wanted to slash the salary cap from the existing $1.25M to $898,000 per season.  The owners held all the leverage.  On April 5th, 1988, league officials threatened to cancel the 1988 MISL playoffs and fold the league if the players didn’t capitulate.  The union signed off on the new deal just before midnight on April 14th, 1988.  The playoffs would happen after all, but that mattered little to Chicago or St. Louis, who had each clinched last place in their respective divisions.

The St. Louis Steamers, founded in 1979, were in worse shape than the Sting in April 1988.  Once the MISL’s model franchise, the Steamers outdrew the NHL’s St. Louis Blues every winter from 1980 through 1984.  Their 1981-82 season average of 17,107 fans per game remains the highest in the history of indoor soccer.  But ownership turnover and questionable trades eroded the club competitively and at the box office in the mid-1980’s.  The day before this match, the Steamers failed to make payroll and the team arrived in Chicago clutching IOUs.

Poli Garcia St. Louis SteamersOn “Fan Appreciation Night” at the Horizon, many of the Sting’s fan favorites were in street clothes.  Pato Margetic, Frank Klopas, Frantz Mathieu, Heinz Wirtz and Chris Vaccaro watched from the Chicago bench.  Nevertheless, the hosts carried a 3-2 lead into the final quarter.  With eight minutes to go, St Louis’ Boki Bandovic beat Chicago’s reserve goalkeeper Jay McCutcheon to know the match at 3-3 and send it to overtime.

Four minutes in, Poli Garcia of the Steamers struck for his 50th goal of the season to give St. Louis a 4-3 sudden death victory.

“I guess the way to win games is not to pay the players,” Lee Stern remarked to The Tribune afterwards, noting the Steamers’ two-game winning streak after their final paychecks bounced.

Poli Garcia’s golden goal ended not just the game, but the season and the existence of both clubs.  The Steamers were booted from the MISL two months later and the Chicago Sting closed up shop in early July 1988.  Indoor soccer would soon return to both cities.  The Chicago Power (1988-1996) of the lower-budget AISA started up in the fall of 1988 with a collection of ex-Sting players.  The MISL expanded back into St. Louis with the St. Louis Storm (1989-1992) a year later.  But neither club would recapture the following of the Sting or the Steamers in their early 80’s prime.

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Chicago soccer trivia from the Sting’s final match that only Peter Wilt may care about:

  • Match referee Bill Maxwell also called the Sting’s final outdoor match, the club’s NASL Soccer Bowl victory on October 4, 1984
  • Pato Margetic was the only player on both the Sting’s final outdoor roster in 1984 and final indoor roster in 1988.
  • Brazilian forward Batata, a four-time MISL All-Star, scored the final goal in Sting history.
  • Ernie Buriano (Sting ’86-’88) appeared on the cover of the final Sting game program (top right).

 

==Links==

Chicago Sting Home Page

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Written by andycrossley

March 4th, 2015 at 12:35 pm