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1967-1968 Los Angeles Wolves

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George Benitez Los Angeles WolvesUnited Soccer Association (1967)
North American Soccer League (1968)

Born: 1967 – USA founding franchise
Folded: Postseason 1968

Stadiums:

Team Colors: Forum Blue & Gold

Owner: Jack Kent Cooke

USA Champions: 1967
NASL Championships: None

 

The Los Angeles Wolves were a pro soccer club founded by Washington Redskins and Los Angeles Kings owner Jack Kent Cooke. The Wolves were one of twelve founding members of the United Soccer Association (USA) in 1967. The USA planned to launch in 1968, but accelerated its timetable when a rival league, the National Professional Soccer League (NPSL), announced plans to start play in 1967. The NPSL also had an L.A. franchise, the Los Angeles Toros.

Due to the hasty launch, the USA imported entire European and South American clubs to stock the rosters of its twelve franchises. The Wolves were actually Wolverhampton Wanderers of England in 1967.

The Wolves topped the USA’s Western Conference with a 5-5-2 record. On July 14th, 1967, the Wolves hosted the Washington Whips in the United Soccer Association championship game at Memorial Coliseum. A crowd of 17,824 watched the Wolves best the Whips 6-5 in sudden death overtime.

After the 1967 season, the USA merged with the rival NPSL to form the North American Soccer League (NASL). Jack Kent Cooke’s Wolves retained the Los Angeles market while their erstwhile rivals, the Toros, moved south to San Diego.

The NASL abandoned the imported team strategy, so the 1968 Wolves featured an entirely new roster and coaching staff from the previous year’s champs. The club also left the Memorial Coliseum for a new home at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The re-booted Wolves dropped to 11-13-8 and failed to make the playoffs.

The Wolves folded following the 1968 season. Pro soccer returned to Los Angeles six years later with the formation of the NASL’s Los Angeles Aztecs in 1974.

 

Los Angeles Wolves Memorabilia

 

In Memoriam

Wolves founder Jack Kent Cooke died of cardiac arrest on April 6, 1997 at the age of 84.

1967 Wolves Manager Ronnie Allen passed away on June 9, 2001. He was 72.

 

Links

United Soccer Association Media Guides

United Soccer Association Programs

North American Soccer League Media Guides

North American Soccer League Programs

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1967-1968 Houston Stars

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Pavle Garov Houston StarsUnited Soccer Association (1967)
North American Soccer League (1968)

Born: 1967 – USA founding franchise
Folded: Postseason 1968

Stadium: Houston Astrodome (44,500)

Team Colors: Red, White & Blue

Owner: Judge Roy Hofheinz

USA Champions: None
NASL Champions: None

 

The Houston Stars were a short-lived pro soccer outfit of the late 1960’s owned by the colorful Judge Roy Hofheinz, owner of Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros and driving force behind construction of the Astrodome.

The Stars were, in fact, two separate clubs. The Stars were founding members of the United Soccer Association in 1967. The USA imported European and South American clubs who played in the States under pseudonyms.  The 1967 Houston Stars were actually Bangu Atletico Clube of Brazil.  The Stars finished 4-4-4, good for fourth place in the USA’s Western Division.

After the 1967 season, the USA merged with its competitor, the National Professional Soccer League to form the North American Soccer League.  The NASL dispensed with the USA’s practice of importing foreign teams.  The Stars hired Hungarian head coach Geza Henni, who assembled a multi-national squad that included Bermudans, Danes, Greeks, Hungarians, Mexicans and a large contingent of Yugoslavs. Jerry Mueller was the lone American-born player on the opening day roster.

The 1968 Stars posted a respectable 14-12-6 record, but it was not enough to advance in the NASL’s stingy playoff system. The Stars folded after the 1968 season.

NASL soccer returned to Houston and the Astrodome ten years later with the formation of the Houston Hurricane (1978-1980).

 

Houston Stars NASL

 

==Houston Stars Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other

1968

1968 3/30/1968 @ Dallas Tornado W 6-0 Program
1968  4/17/1968 vs. Toronto Falcons W 5-0 Program
1968 8/3/1968 @ Vancouver Royals L 2-1 Program

 

==Links==

United Soccer Association Media Guides

United Soccer Association Programs

North American Soccer League Media Guides

North American Soccer League Programs

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Written by AC

September 18th, 2015 at 2:43 am

1967-1968 Chicago Mustangs

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Chicago Mustangs Media GuideUnited Soccer Association (1967)
North American Soccer League (1968)

Born: 1967 – USA founding franchise
Folded: Postseason 1968

Stadium: Comiskey Park (46,550)

Team Colors: Columbia Blue, White & Scarlet

Owner: Arthur Allyn Jr.

 

The Chicago Mustangs soccer club was a charter member of the United Soccer Association, a mid-1960’s effort to launch a first division professional league here in the States.  There were 12 member franchises representing 10 U.S. cities, plus Toronto and Vancouver.  Most of the clubs were backed by heavy-hitter investors from Major League Baseball, the NFL and the National Hockey League.  The owner of the Mustangs was Chicago White Sox boss Arthur Allyn Jr. and the soccer club played in Allyn’s South Side baseball stadium, Comiskey Park.

The founders of the United Soccer Association intended to begin play in 1968, but they felt compelled to bump their plans up a year when a rival circuit, the National Professional Soccer League, signed a TV contract with CBS and decided to start play in 1967.  With the accelerated timetable, the USA decided to import entire foreign clubs from Europe and South America to represent the league’s 12 cities in 1967.  The Chicago Mustangs were actually Cagliari Calcio, from the Mediterranean island of Sardinia.  Cagliari was enjoying a run of success in the Italian Serie A at the time – they would win their only Scudetto in 1970.  However, the Italians did not bring all of their stars to Chicago.  Gigi Riva, the greatest player in club history and the all-time leading scorer for the Italian National Team, stayed home.

The Mustangs/Cagliari struggled through their only season in the United Soccer Association.  The club finished out of the postseason hunt with a 3-7-2 record.  Attendance was dismal too, with an announced match average of just 4,207 at Comiskey.  A bright spot was 23-year old striker Roberto Boninsegna, who led the circuit in scoring with 10 goals in 9 appearances.  Boninsegna would go on to score Italy’s only goal in the 1970 World Cup final against Brazil.

After the 1967 season concluded in financial ruin for both the USA and the NPSL, the former rivals merged to form the North American Soccer League (NASL) in 1968.  That meant the contraction of one franchise in Chicago, as both leagues fielded a Windy City franchise in 1967.  The NPSL’s Chicago Spurs, based out of Soldier Field, moved to Kansas City, so the Mustangs continued on for a second season in 1968.   Cagliari and the other foreign ringer clubs would not return.  In 1968, all of the NASL clubs built their own rosters.

The all-new, multi-ethnic Mustangs were much improved in 1968.  Polish émigré Janusz Michalik led the NASL with 30 goals and 9 assists and won league MVP honors.  The club improved to 13-10-9, but this wasn’t quite good enough for playoff spot.  Attendance continued to be terrible though, dipping to under 2,500 fans per game at 45,000-seat Comiskey Park.

The NASL nearly folded after the 1968 season.  Membership shrunk for 17 clubs in 1968 to just 5 survivors for 1969.  The Mustangs were one of the casualties, withdrawing from the league in late 1968.  A semi-pro version of the Mustangs reportedly continued to play into the 1970’s.

Don’t miss Vadim Furmanov’s “A Sardinian Summer: the Forgotten Story of the Chicago Mustangs” over at Café Futbol.

 

==Chicago Mustangs Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other

1967

1967 6/4/1967 @ Washington Whips T 1-1 Program

1968

1968 5/8/1968  @ Los Angeles Wolves T 1-1 Program
1968 7/14/1968 @ New York Generals L 4-3 Program

 

==In Memoriam==

Former Mustangs owner Arthur Allyn Jr. passed away on March 22, 1985 at age 71.

 

==Links==

A Sardinian Summer: the Forgotten Story of the Chicago Mustangs“, Vadim Furmanov, Café Futbol, August 7, 2013.

From Amateur to MVP: Janusz Kowalik and the Chicago Mustangs“, Grant Czubinski, A Moment of Brilliance, February 11, 2014

North American Soccer League Media Guides

North American Soccer League Programs

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Written by AC

December 20th, 2014 at 9:01 pm

1967-1968 Detroit Cougars

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Detroit CougarsUnited Soccer Association (1967)
North American Soccer League (1968)

Born: 1967 – USA founding franchise.
Folded: September 23, 1968.

Stadiums:

Team Colors: Black, Orange & White

Owners: William Clay Ford, John Fetzer, Ozzie Olson, Max Fischer, John Anderson & Wendell Anderson

 

The Detroit Cougars were a short-lived effort to bring pro soccer to Detroit in the late 1960’s. Detroit Lions owner William Clay Ford, grandson of Henry Ford and largest single stockholder in the Ford Motor Co., and Detroit Tigers owner John Fetzer headlined the list of financial backers for the Cougars.

The Cougars formed in 1967 as one of twelve founding members of the United Soccer Association (USA).  The USA was one of two U.S. pro leagues formed in 1967, the other being the rival National Professional Soccer League (NPSL).  In order to keep pace with the NPSL’s 1967 launch date, the USA elected to import entire European and South American clubs to compete under stage names during the 1967 season.  (The USA’s spring/summer schedule conveniently coincided with the offseason for Continental and South American leagues).

The 1967 Detroit Cougars were actually Glentoran F.C. of Northern Ireland.  The Cougars/Glentoran finished out of contention at 3-6-3.

Ian Thomson over at The Soccer Observer blog has a great piece on a 1967 riot at the University of Detroit Stadium between the Cougars and the visiting Houston Stars (actually Bangu of Brazil).

After the 1967 season, the USA and NPSL ended their competition and merged to form the 17-club North American Soccer League.  In 1968 each franchise assembled a roster in the conventional manner. The new league abandoned the USA’s practice of importing foreign clubs.

The Cougars hired 34-year old English forward Len Julians as player-coach for the 1968 campaign.  The season was a disaster for the Cougars. Julians resigned in mid-August with the club mired in last place in the NASL’s Lakes Division.  Andre Nagy was hired to manage the final meaningless games as the Cougars finished 6-21-4.  Only the hapless Dallas Tornado (an historically awful 2-26-4 mark) were worse in the 17-team circuit.

At the box office the situation was just as grim.  Although the American Soccer History Archives has the Cougars average attendance at 4,266 in 1968, the Associated Press reported in September 1968 that Cougars fans numbered fewer than 1,500 per game. The Cougars’ well-heeled backers pulled the plug on September 23, 1968.  Detroit was the first NASL club to fold after the 1968 season and it began an exodus that saw the league shrink down to just five active clubs in 1969.

Pro soccer returned to Detroit a decade later with the formation of the NASL’s Detroit Express in 1978.

 

Detroit Cougars Memorabilia

 

Links

The Infamous 1967 Detroit Riot … On The Soccer Field“, Ian Thomson, The Soccer Observer, June 14, 2013

United Soccer Association Programs

North American Soccer League Media Guides

North American Soccer League Programs

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1967 New York Skyliners

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New York SkylinersUnited Soccer Association (1967)

Born: 1967 – USA founding franchise.
Folded: January 1968

Stadium: Yankee Stadium

Team Colors:

Owner: Madison Square Garden Corp.

USA Championships: None

 

 

The New York Skyliners were a professional soccer entry that lasted for one season at Yankee Stadium during the summer of 1967.

The Skyliners were members of the United Soccer Association, a league which imported European and South American clubs into the United States to play under pseudonyms during their domestic offseason.  The Skyliners were actually Cerro of Uruguay.   All of the Skyliners were Uruguayan except for leading scorer Benedicto Ribeiro (Brazil), forward Luis Suarez (Argentina) and goalkeeper Osmar Miguelucci (Argentina).

The Skyliners kicked off the league schedule on May 28, 1967 at Yankee Stadium against Toronto City (who were actually Hibernians of Scotland).  The match drew a season-high crowd of 21,781 and ended in a 1-1 draw.

A June 16th, 1967 Skyliners home match against the Chicago Mustangs was halted and declared a draw with three minutes remaining after Italian fans who supported the Mustangs (actually Cagliari Calcio of Italy) vaulted out of the stands and assaulted referee Leo Goldstein.

Since all of the USA clubs were foreign clubs that were essentially on offseason tour, the league schedule was very short.  The season was only 12 games long.  The Skyliners were one of the weaker clubs with a 2-4-6 record.  Skyliners attendance was second best in the league with a claimed average of 8,766 fans per match for six home dates at Yankees Stadium.   But this wasn’t really cause for celebration as attendance across the league was considered disastrous.

Following the 1967 season the United Soccer Association merged with the rival National Professional Soccer League to form the North American Soccer League (1968-1984).   Both the USA and the NPSL had New York City franchises.  In fact, both the Skyliners and the NPSL’s New York Generals played at Yankee Stadium in 1967.  Initial plans called for the Skyliners and the Generals to merge, but instead Madison Square Garden Corp, the owners of the Skyliners, decided to fold the club in January 1968.   The Generals continued on as New York’s club for the 1968 season.

 

 

==1967 New York Skyliners Results==

Date Opponent Score Program Other
5/28/1967 vs. Toronto City T 1-1
5/31/1967 @ Boston Rovers T 0-0
6/4/1967 @ Los Angeles Wolves L 2-1
6/7/1967 @ Washington Whips L 3-0
6/11/1967 @ Chicago Mustangs L 3-2
6/13/1967 @ San Francisco Gales T 2-2
6/16/1967 vs. Chicago Mustangs T 0-0
6/25/1967 @ Cleveland Stokers W 2-1
6/27/1967 vs. Dallas Tornado W 4-1
7/2/1967 vs. Detroit Cougars L 1-0 Program
7/5/1967 @ Vancouver Royal Canadians T 1-1
7/8/1967 vs. Houston Stars T 2-2

 

Links

United Soccer Association Programs

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Written by AC

July 14th, 2013 at 2:04 am