United Soccer League (1984)
Born: 1984 – USL founding franchise.
Died: Postseason 1984 – The Nationals cease operations.
Stadium: Hofstra Stadium (10,000)
Team Colors: Red, White & Blue
Owner: Kostas Georgiadis
The USL was a successor league to the hardscrabble American Soccer League (1933-1983). Throughout the 1970′s and early 1980′s the ASL served as the de facto 2nd division of American pro soccer, while the North American Soccer League (1968-1984) represented the top tier of the sport. After 50 years of play, the ASL finally fell apart in early 1984. A quartet of ASL survivors joined five new franchises to form the nine-team USL in the spring of 1984.
The Nationals were one of the new clubs. They set up shop at Hofstra University on Long Island, which was previously home to the early (pre-Pele) days of the NASL’s New York Cosmos in the early 1970′s and to the American Soccer League’s New York Apollo in the late 1970′s.
American soccer cultists would recognize a couple of young players on the squad who earned some prominence in the sport. 22-year old Long Island native Michael Collins was a veteran of the New York Arrows indoor team and went on to play nearly 20 seasons, mostly indoors. 23-year old forward Jim Gabarra also enjoyed a long indoor career and became a well-regarded women’s coach in the 2000′s with the WUSA and Women’s Professional Soccer.
The top executives of the Nationals were mostly Greek-Americans and so were many of the club’s players. The Nationals started fast, racing out to a 5-0 record. But one month into the season, Head Coach Jim McGeough resigned and top players like Collins and Gabarra disappeared from the roster. The Nationals began carrying a smaller roster, which was populated largely by less experienced Greek-American players from New York. The club slumped badly the rest of the way under McGeough’s former assistant Kyriakos Fitilis and finished 10-14 and out of the playoff hunt.
The Nationals folded shortly after the 1984 season. The rest of the United Soccer League followed suit in 1985, failing to complete its second season of play.
==1984 New York Nationals Results==
|5/20/1984||@ Rochester Flash||??|
|6/8/1984||vs. Buffalo Storm||??||Program||Roster|
|6/12/1984||vs. Rochester Flash||W 3-1||Program||Roster|
|6/15/1984||vs. Oklahoma City Stampede||??||Program||Game Notes|
|6/17/1984||@ Houston Dynamos||??|
|6/22/1984||@ Oklahoma City Stampede||??|
|6/23/1984||@ Dallas Americans||??|
|6/26/1984||vs. Houston Dynamos||??||Program||Roster|
|6/30/1984||@ Buffalo Storm||??|
|7/6/1984||vs. Rochester Flash||??|
|7/10/1984||vs. Dallas Americans||??|
|7/11/1984||@ Buffalo Storm||??|
|7/13/1984||vs. Charlotte Gold||??|
|7/14/1984||@ Fort Lauderdale Sun||L 2-0|
|7/17/1984||@ Jacksonville Tea Men||??|
|7/20/1984||@ Charlotte Gold||??|
|7/21/1984||vs. Rochester Flash||L 4-1|
|7/25/1984||@ Rochester Flash||??|
|8/7/1984||vs. Buffalo Storm||??|
|8/8/1984||@ Rochester Flash||??|
|8/12/1984||@ Buffalo Storm||L 3-1|
|8/17/1984||vs. Buffalo Storm||??|