Born: 1972 – ASL expansion franchise Folded: Postseason 1975
Stadium: St. Joseph’s Field
ASL Championships: None
Lower division American pro soccer club that operated for four seasons during the early 1970’s. Little information survives about this club into the digital age. Newspaper accounts of the era suggest that the Brewers played out of Newark, but the 1974 Brewers program we were able to dig up (above right) suggest the club played at least some of their matches in Toms River on the Jersey Shore.
The Brewers were sponsored by Schaefer Brewing Company and known as the New Jersey Schaefer Brewers during their inaugural season in 1972. From 1973 until 1975 they went by the shorter “Brewers” moniker. The team folded following the 1975 season. The ASL replaced the Brewers with the New Jersey Americans franchise for the 1976 season.
The Las Vegas Gladiators were the second of three Arena Football League franchises to try to set up shop in Sin City. The Glads followed the Las Vegas Sting (1994-1995) and preceded the laughable Las Vegas Outlaws debacle (2015) headed by Motley Crue frontman Vince Neil.
The Gladiators traced their lineage back to the New Jersey Red Dogs franchise, founded in 1997. The team was originally named after Red Dog beer, then became the New Jersey Gladiators in 2001 after Miami attorney Jim Ferraro purchased the franchise. Ferraro, who made his fortune in asbestos litigation, moved the franchise to Vegas in late 2002.
In Vegas, the Gladiators played their first four seasons at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center. Announced attendance held steady around 10,000 per game at the Thomas & Mack from 2003 through 2006. In 2007, the team made an ill-fated move to the Orleans Arena at the Orleans Hotel and Casino. Attendance cratered to 5,383 per game, which was by far the worst figure in the 19-team Arena Football League that season.
During the Glads final season in Las Vegas in 2007, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Shaun King handled most of the duties under center. King was the most famous football player to suit up for the Gladiators during their five season run in Nevada.
Ferraro moved the team to Cleveland in October 2007. The franchise plays on in Cleveland today and is now operated by Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert.
Las Vegas Gladiators Memorabilia
2003 Gladiators Media Guide
2004 Gladiators Media Guide
2005 Gladiators Media Guide
2006 Gladiators Media Guide
Las Vegas Gladiators Video
Miscellaneous Gladiators promo roll from the mid-2000’s.
The Connecticut Wildcats were the first of several pro soccer clubs to set up shop at Hartford’s Dillon Stadium during the mid-1970’s. The club formed in November 1972 as an expansion franchise in the 2nd Division American Soccer League.
Paul Ingram, a former All-American soccer player at UConn, founded the Wildcats and served as General Manager. Fielding a team of mostly American players, the Wildcats put up an 8-3-3 record in their debut season. The club was solid at the box office too. The ‘Cats drew 4,200 fans for their inaugural game in the spring of 1973. 10,000 more showed up for the season finale at Dillon Stadium against the Boston Astros. The ASL named Paul Ingram its Executive-of-the-Year for the 1973 season.
Benny Brewster led the team in scoring in 1973 with 10 goals and 4 assists. The Wildcats best-known player, in retrospect, was the young goalkeeper Tony DiCicco. DiCicco went on to become one of the greatest coaches in the women’s game, leading the U.S. Women’s National Team to Olympic gold in 1996 and the World Cup in 1999.
As the Wildcats second season approached in the winter of 1974, Ingram asked for a renegotiation of the team’s rental agreement at Dillon Stadium. He stated the team’s rental rate and lack of revenue sharing on concessions were among the worst deals in the American Soccer League and that the team might need to relocate to Springfield, Massachusetts. In the event, the Wildcats did end up returning to Dillon in 1974, but it proved to be the club’s final campaign.
The Virginia Raiders were a lower-tier minor league hockey club out of Salem, Virginia. The franchise was formerly known as the Salem Raiders (1980-1982). They played just one season under the Virginia Raiders name before folding.
The Raiders finished 4th in the 6-team Atlantic Coast Hockey League with a 20-36-9 record during the winter of 1982-83. The eventual champion Carolina Thunderbirds swept the Raiders out of the playoffs in the first round.
Minor league journeyman Dave MacQueen led the Raiders in scoring with 42 goals and 36 assists during the 1982-83 campaign.
Henry Brabham, an oilman who owned several mid-Atlantic minor league hockey franchises during the 1980’s and 1990’s, operated the Raiders during their final season in Salem. He folded the Raiders in August 1983, citing $100,000 in losses during the 1982-83 season. Several months later, however, he purchased the ACHL’s struggling Nashville South Stars club and moved the franchise in mid-season back to the Salem Civic Center, renaming them the Virginia Lancers.