Lively Tales About Dead Teams

2001-2003 Boston Breakers

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2002 Boston BreakersWomen’s United Soccer Association (2001-2003)

Born: April 10, 2000 – WUSA founding franchise
Died: September 15, 2003 – The WUSA ceases operations.

Stadium: Nickerson Field (10,000)

Team Colors: Breaker Blue, Sea Silver & Surf White

Investor-Operator: Amos Hostetter

 

The original Boston Breakers soccer club was a founding member of the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA) from 2001 to 2003.  The WUSA was the first professional soccer league for women in North America, backed by a consortium of cable television companies and executives who were intrigued by the groundbreaking success of the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup, hosted by the United States.  The Breakers franchise was backed by Amos Hostetter, the billionaire co-founder of Continental Cablevision.

The provenance of the team’s name was somewhat odd.  Like many fledgling sports teams, the soon-to-be-Boston Breakers instituted a Name-The-Team contest.  The winning entry was attributed to a 15-year old teenage girl from suburban Easton, Massachusetts.  What was strange about the  choice was that Boston already had a high profile pro sports flop that had used the same identity in the recent past.  The Boston Breakers of the United States Football League had even used a similar blue/white color scheme and played in the very same stadium (Boston University’s Nickerson Field) as the new women’s soccer team.  The football Breakers came and went in a single season in 1983 – very much in the living memory of countless local sports fans and Boston’s sporting press.

But “Breakers” it was to be.  In May of 2000, each of the eight WUSA franchises received three players from the United States Women’s National Team tha captivated the nation during the World Cup ten months earlier.  The U.S. National Teamers – known as “Founders” since they also had a small equity stake in the league – were meant to form both the talent nucleus and the marketing tent poles for each franchise.  The Breakers received All-Universe midfielder Kristine Lilly and stalwart defender Kate Sobrero.  The team’s third allocation, however, was a bust.  Tracy Ducar, the USWNT’s reserve goalkeeper, suffered an eye-injury late in the WUSA’s 2001 debut season and was thereafter unseated by less-heralded Canadian National Team goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc for the Breakers starting job.

Dagny Mellgren Boston BreakersThe burden of scoring goals fell to the Breakers’ international signings.  Boston received German National Team stars Maren Meinert and Bettina Wiegmann along with the Norwegian duo of Ragnhild Gulbrandsen (who would join in 2002) and Dagny Mellgren.  Though Gulbrandsen would disappoint and Wiegmann retired after two seasons, Meinert and Mellgren quickly emerged as premier scoring threats, with Lilly often setting the table with deft assists.

Despite fine individual performances from the likes of Lilly, Meinert, Mellgren and a previously unheralded University of Virginia midfielder named Angela Hucles, the Breakers disappointed as a team during the first two seasons of the WUSA.  Under Head Coach Jay Hoffman, the team finished 6th place and out of the playoffs in both campaigns.  The Breakers were also something of a Jekyll & Hyde club – virtually unbeatable at home, where they had established one of the most loyal followings in the WUSA, but unable to perform consistently on the road.

The club’s fortunes turned in 2003 with the hiring of Swedish manager Pia Sundhage to take over for Hoffman.  The Breakers finally became a tough road team, equaling their success at home.  Meinert was phenomenal at the top of the attack, winning league Most Valuable Player honors.  At 10-4-7, the Breakers finished top of the table in the WUSA’s regular season.  However, Boston was bounced on penalty kicks in the playoff semi-final by the eventual league champion Washington Freedom.

Boston Breakers ProgramOne month later, the WUSA abruptly closed its doors on September 15, 2003.  There were inklings that the league was in trouble.  The league cut roster sizes from 18 to 16 following the 2002 season and dropped the salary cap from $834,500 to $595,750.  The “Founders” (mostly) accepted large pay cuts.  But it wasn’t enough.  While attendance was not far off from expectations, corporate sponsorship for the league never hit critical mass.  Still, the timing of the shutdown shocked many outside observers, coming just five days before the start of the 2003 Women’s World Cup – which would be held in the United States once again, thanks to the SARS outbreak creating havoc in China, the original host of the tournament.

A lackluster effort to revive corporate support for the WUSA through a series of neutral-site “festivals” in the summer of 2004 flopped.  From 2008 through 2008, there was no top-flight women’s pro soccer league in North America.  When a new league – Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) – began play in 2009, a franchise was quickly awarded to Boston, based upon the warm reception to the WUSA-era Breakers club.  The WPS franchise revived the Breakers name and logo.  The “New” Breakers of 2009 included three veterans of the original 2001-2003 Breakers club – Angela Hucles, Kristine Lilly and seldom-used Mary-Frances Monroe.  The team also featured several front office holdovers who returned to work for the new club, including Team President Joe Cummings, who launched both editions of the team.

The new/2009 edition of the Breakers remains active today in 2014 as a member of the National Women’s Soccer League.

 

==Slideshow==

  • WUSA Founders Goofing Around Circa 2000
  • Kristine Lilly Boston Breakers
  • 2001 Boston Breakers Media Guide
  • Kate Sobrero Boston Breakers
  • Angela Hucles Boston Breakers
  • Michelle Akers Boston Breakers
  • Kristine Lilly Boston Breakers
  • Dagny Mellgren Boston Breakers
  • Kristine Lilly Boston Breakers
  • 2003 Boston Breakers Media Guide
  • Dagny Mellgren Boston Breakers
  • Kate Sobrero Boston Breakers
  • Boston Breakers Program
  • Kristine Lilly Boston Breakers
  • Dagny Mellgren Boston Breakers

 

==Boston Breakers Matches on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other
2001 5/5/2001 vs. Atlanta Beat L 1-0 Game Ticket
2001 6/3/2001 vs. New York Power L 3-2 Program
2001 6/6/2001 vs. Atlanta Beat T 1-1 Program
2001 6/9/2001 @ San Diego Spirit L 3-1 Program
2001 6/16/2001 vs. Washington Freedom W 1-0 Program
2001 7/12/2001 vs. Carolina Courage W 2-1 Program
2001 7/21/2001 vs. Carolina Courage L 2-1 Program
2001 7/26/2001 @ New York Power L 4-2 Program
2001 7/29/2001 vs. Washington Freedom W 2-1 Program
2002 4/20/2002 vs. Atlanta Beat W 3-1 Program
2002 6/1/2002 vs. Washington Freedom T 0-0 Program
2002 6/8/2002 vs. Carolina Courage T 2-2 Program
2002 6/12/2002 @ Washington Freedom L 2-1 Program
2002 6/22/2002 vs. New York Power W 5-2 Program
2002 6/29/2002 vs. San Jose CyberRays T 1-1 Program
2002 7/10/2002 vs. San Diego Spirit W 3-2 Program
2002 7/24/2002 @ Washington Freedom T 1-1 Program
2002 8/4/2002 vs. New York Power W 4-1 Program
2002 8/10/2002 vs. San Jose CyberRays  W 1-0 Program
2003 4/12/2003 @ Atlanta Beat L 6-0 Program
2003 6/8/2003 @ Washington Freedom W 3-1 Program
2003 6/21/2003 vs. Carolina Courage L 1-0 Program
2003 6/25/2003 vs. New York Power W 2-1 Program

 

 

==Key Players==

 

==YouTube==

2002 Boston Breakers In-Stadium Video Montage  (starts around 0:18)…

 

==Links==

Women’s United Soccer Association Media Guides

Women’s United Soccer Association Programs

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Written by andycrossley

December 13th, 2014 at 4:00 am

1992-1996 Charlotte Rage

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Charlotte RageArena Football League (1992-1996)

Born: October 10, 1991 – Arena Football expansion franchise.
Died: 1996 – The Rage cease operations.

Arenas:

Team Colors: Red, Teal & Silver

Owners: Allen J. Schwalb, Joanne Faruggia & Cliff Stoudt

 

This early Arena Football franchise played five seasons in North Carolina, splitting dates between the massive, NBA-scale Charlotte Coliseum and the smaller Independence Arena.  The franchise was owned by motion picture financier Allen J. Schwalb, who backed some of the biggest blockbusters of the 1980’s, including Rambo, Rain Main, Moonstruck and Thelma & Louise.

During the Charlotte Rage’s first season in 1992, the team signed Joe DeLamielleure, a perennial All-Pro offensive lineman for the Buffalo Bills during the late 1970’s.  41 years old at the time, DeLamielleure was seven years removed from his last NFL game in 1985.  He played in a handful of games for Charlotte in 1992 before retiring for good.  DeLamielleure remains the only member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame to play Arena Football.

After a promising start in 1992 (13,248 average attendance for five dates), attendance plummeted to below 7,500 per game in 1993.  At some point, Schwalb’s relations with AFL Commissioner Jim Drucker and his fellow owners appeared to sour.  In July 1996, the Charlotte Business Journal reported that league officials were pressuring Schwalb to sell the franchise.  Schwalb had discussions with groups in Salt Lake City and Long Island, but ultimately folded the team in late 1996, taking an $850,000 payout from the league to turn in the franchise.  Schwalb would later file a $200 million Sherman anti-trust lawsuit against the league, asserting that his former business partners unlawfully scuttled his efforts to sell and relocate the franchise and coerced him to sell the team back to the league for a below market price.  The suit seems to have been resolved in the early 2000’s, but it’s not clear what the resolution was.

Arena Football replaced the Rage in the North Carolina market with the Raleigh-based Carolina Cobras in 2000.  The Cobras would later move to Charlotte in 2003 before going out of business in late 2004.

 

 

==Charlotte Rage Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Year Date Opponent Score Program Other
1992 6/19/1992 vs. Dallas Texans L 32-30 Program
1993 6/5/1993  @ Tampa Bay Storm L 52-19 Program
1996 4/27/1996 @ Memphis Pharaohs W 54-30 Program

 

==YouTube==

Brief clip of the Rage in action at the Charlotte Coliseum against the Albany Firebirds in 1994.

 

==In Memoriam==

Ex-Rage owner Allen Schwalb passed away on July 14, 2014 at age 76.  Variety obituary.

 

==Links==

Arena Football League Media Guides

Arena Football League Programs

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February 14, 1963 – Camden Bullets vs. EPBL All-Stars

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Camden BulletsCamden Bullets vs. Eastern Professional Basketball League All-Stars
February 14, 1963
Convention Hall
Attendance: 2,000

Eastern Professional Basketball League Programs
8 Pages

 

Stellar vintage scorecard from the 1963 Eastern Professional Basketball League All-Star Game, played before a small crowd of around 2,000 in Camden, New Jersey on Valentine’s Night.  The exhibition pitted the host Camden Bullets (1961-1966) against an All-League squad from the other six clubs in the New Jersey/Pennsylvania bus league.

The Bullets boasted the best player in the Eastern League in former 10-time NBA All-Star Paul Arizin.  Arizin was Philly through and through, a native son of the city who played college ball at Villanova and then spent his entire NBA career with the Philadelphia Warriors.  When the Warriors left town for San Francisco in 1962, Arizin decided to retire from the NBA rather than move West with the franchise.  At the time of his retirement, Arizin was the 3rd highest scorer in NBA history, despite missing two full seasons in his prime to serve in Korea.

After the Warriors departed, Paul Arizin played three more seasons for the minor league Bullets before retiring from pr0 ball in 1965.  On this night in 1963, he led all scorers with 35 points and added 16 rebounds in Camden’s 122-114 victory over the All-Stars.  He would go onto win Eastern League MVP honors in 1963.  His Camden teammate Bobby McNeill, however, was the MVP of this game, with 32 points, 12 assists and 7 boards.

Paul Arizin was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1978 and chosen as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history in 1996.  He passed away in 2006 at age 78.

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Written by andycrossley

December 8th, 2014 at 4:38 am

2005-2014 Chivas USA

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Chivas USA Media GuideMajor League Soccer (2005-2014)

Born: August 2, 2004 – MLS expansion franchise.
Died: October 27, 2014 – Chivas USA suspends operations.

Stadium:

Team Colors:

Owners:

 

Chivas USA was Major League Soccer’s second Los Angeles franchise, sharing the Home Depot Center in Carson with the Los Angeles Galaxy.  The club started out as an expansion franchise in 2005.  Billionaire investor-operator Jorge Vergara also owned the popular Mexican club C.D. Guadalajara (colloquially known as “Chivas” or Goats).  The concept was that the Chivas USA would be a sister team to C.D. Guadalajara and might create appeal for a Latino fan base that had thus far shown only tepid support of the Galaxy in L.A. and Major League Soccer more broadly.  One of Guadalajara’s claims to fame in Mexico was its nationalism – the club exclusively employs Mexican players.  This policy would draw notice in Chivas USA’s final seaons, after Vergara and his wife acquired sole control of the franchise and allegedly began to harass and dismiss non-Spanish speaking employees.

Chivas USA’s early years seemed promising.  Future U.S. National Team head coach Bob Bradley guided Chivas to a playoff berth in its second season in MLS in 1996 before departing take over the U.S. Men.  Replacement Predrag Radosavljevic (better known as “Preki“) took over as manager in 2007 and led Chivas to a 1st place finish in MLS’ Western Conference.  This turned out to be the franchise’s high water mark.  They were bounced in the first round of the 2007 playoffs and would never win a playoff series.

Chivas USA ProgramBeginning in 2010, Chivas USA began a downward spiral that saw the club fail to ever again finish higher than 7th in MLS’ Western Conference.  The franchise also became something of an embarrassment to MLS.  Home attendance plummeted more than 50% between 2011 and 2014, bottoming out at 7,063 per match in 2014.  In 2013 two former MLS players who had coached in Chivas USA’s youth academy, Dan Calichman and Ted Chronopoulos, filed a discrimination suit against the team, claiming they were dismissed from the team because they were not of Latino descent.  Separately, an African-American former HR manager of the team filed a discrimination suit against Chivas USA a few months after Calichman and Chronopoulos.

In February 2014, Major League Soccer purchased Chivas USA back from Jorge Vergara and his wife, Angelica Fuentes.  The sale price was not officially disclosed, but both  Sports Illustrated and The Los Angeles Times reported the figure to be in the neighborhood of $70 million.  MLS operated Chivas USA through a lame duck final season before shuttering the franchise one day after the club’s final game on October 26, 2014.  Also in October 2014, MLS sold the former Chivas franchise – now effectively a new L.A. expansion team – to a large investeor group led by venture capitalist Henry Nguyen and Mandalay Entertainment CEO Peter Guber.  The group intends to launch a re-branded MLS club in L.A. in 2017, eventually playing in its own soccer-specific stadium.

During Chivas USA’s 10-year run, it was part of the only European-style local derby in Major League Soccer.  Chivas and the Los Angeles Galaxy met 34 times in those ten seasons, with the Galaxy enjoying a wildly lopsided advantage of 22 wins, 8 draws and just 4 losses in the so-called “SuperClasico” derby.

 

==Chivas USA Matches on Fun While It Lasted==

Year Date Opponent Score Program Other
2007  4/14/2007 @ Houston Dynamo L 1-0 Program
2007 7/26/2007 @ New York Red Bulls W 2-0 Program
2008 5/26/2008 Los Angeles Galaxy L 5-2 Roster Card
2008 6/5/2008 @ New York Red Bulls L 1-0 Program
2008 7/10/2008 Los Angeles Galaxy T 1-1 Roster Card
2008 9/11/2008 @ New England Revolution L 4-0 Program
2009 4/11/2009 Los Angeles Galaxy T 0-0 Roster Card
2009 8/29/2009 Los Angeles Galaxy L 1-0 Roster Card
2009 11/8/2009 Los Angeles Galaxy L 1-0 Roster Card
2010 5/5/2010 @ New England Revolution W 4-0 Program
2010 6/5/2010 @ New York Red Bulls L 1-0 Program
2012 3/11/2012 vs. Houston Dynamo  L 1-0 Program
2012 9/19/2012 @ Columbus Crew L 1-0 Program

 

==Key Players==

  • Jonathan Bornstein
  • Dan Kennedy
  • Sacha Kljestan
  • Ante Razov

 

==YouTube==

Highlights of Chivas USA’s final match on October 26, 2014 against the San Jose Earthquakes at the StubHub Center.

 

==Downloads==

2011 Chivas USA Media Guide

2012 Chivas USA Media Guide

2014 Chivas USA Media Guide

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Written by andycrossley

December 2nd, 2014 at 3:26 am

May 10, 1981 – Chicago Sting vs. Dallas Tornado

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George Best San Jose EarthquakesChicago Sting vs. Dallas Tornado
May 10, 1981
Wrigley Field
Attendance: 1,861

North American Soccer League Programs

 

We’ve already got a ton of Chicago Sting programs posted on FWIL, but I’ll throw another one on here just as an excuse to add a new George Best game day mag to the archive. Best, playing his final season in U.S. in 1981, is pictured on the cover of the afternoon’s match program as a member of the San Jose Earthquakes, the last of the three NASL clubs he played for during his five-year American adventure.

Best and the rest of the ‘Quakes were hundreds of miles from Chicago’s Wrigley Field on this Mother’s Day afternoon and that was to their immense good fortune.  Wind, rain and temperatures in the 30’s left Sting officials eager to re-schedule the match, despite the opportunity to curb stomp what was easily the worst side in the NASL in 1981: Lamar Hunt’s Dallas Tornado.  The Tornado were the last remaining active club from the NASL’s first season back in 1968, but were suffering through a miserable 5-27 campaign that would ultimately end with the club’s closure in September 1981.

Rudy Glenn Chicago StingThe shivering assembly of 1,861 souls at Wrigley may have been smallest NASL crowd of the post-Pele era.  (Anybody know for sure? Comment below).  On the plus side, no one had to rush the gates early to claim one of the 1,000 daisies set aside for Mother’s Day or the 5,000 t-shirts sponsored by R.C. Cola.  The weather was so nasty (and the pre-sale presumably so grim) that Sting executive Charles Evranian called Tornado General Manager Kent Kramer three hours before kickoff to suggest postponing the match until the next day.  Kramer dismissed the proposal, but his players seemed to feel differently.  Although the match went off as scheduled, the Tornado never seemed to get off the bus.

Rudy Glenn, the second-year American midfielder from Indiana University, was the offensive hero for Chicago.  Glenn scored the first and last goals for Chicago in a 5-0 blowout.  It was the first multi-goal performance of Glenn’s outdoor career.  It’s not clear if he ever did it again – the Oklahoma native scored just 13 more goals in his 130-game NASL career.   Glenn would, however, score the decisive penalty kick to win Soccer Bowl ’81 for the Sting over the New York Cosmos four months later in September 1981.

 

==Links==

Chicago Sting Home Page

Dallas Tornado Home Page

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Written by andycrossley

November 29th, 2014 at 10:49 pm