Lively Tales About Dead Teams

ASL & APSL (1988-1996)

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After the demise of the North American Soccer League in January 1985, American outdoor soccer wandered in the wilderness for several years.  To the extent that soccer existed as a pro sport in America in the mid-1980′s, it was the indoor six-on-six format as played by the Major Indoor Soccer League.

In 1985, a small group of pro clubs launched a regional league on West Coast known as the Western Soccer Alliance (changed to the Western Soccer League for 1989).  Their national profile was virtually zero, other than coverage in a few diehard publications like Soccer America and Soccer Digest.  In 1988, a similarly low-budgeted East Coast League debuted, the American Soccer League.  The ASL, in particular, exhibited a nostalgia for the glory days of the NASL, with a trio of clubs – the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, Tampa Bay Rowdies and Washington Diplomats – reviving NASL identities and, in some cases, ownership.  Some former NASL players returned, but the budgets were far, far smaller and regional play was the rule of the day.

After the 1989 season, the champions of the ASL (Ft. Lauderdale Strikers) and WSL (San Diego Nomads) met in a post-season national championship match at Boston’s Nickerson Field.  In 1990, the ASL and WSA merged, forming the nationwide American Professional Soccer League (APSL).  From 1990 to 1995, the APSL was essentially the United States 1st Division league, although FIFA never granted the APSL that official sanction, since the league also included teams from Canada.

The formation of Major League Soccer in 1994 and its debut in 1996 effectively ended any pretensions that the APSL had to top flight status.  The league played it’s final two seasons (1995 and 1996) under a new name: The A-League.  Prior to the 1997 season, the remnants of the APSL were absorbed into the United Soccer Leagues and the league became a de facto 2nd division feeder league to Major League Soccer.  The A-League name continued until 2004, when the re-branded the league as USL 1st Division.

The teams covered here played in the Western Soccer Alliance, American Soccer League or the APSL between 1986 and 1996.  For teams that played in The A-League after its absorption by the USL in 1997, please see the A-League/USL 1st Division page.

For the sake of clarity, clubs are listed here in each version of this league in which they played:

==Western Soccer Alliance/Western Soccer League Franchise List==

Franchise  Years Active Home Page Tagged Posts
Arizona Condors 1989 Condors Home Tagged Posts
California Kickers 1987-1989 Kickers Home Tagged Posts
Edmonton Brickmen 1986 Brickmen Home Tagged Posts
F.C. Portland 1985-1988 F.C. Portland Home Tagged Posts
F.C. Seattle 1985-1987 F.C. Seattle Home Tagged Posts
Hollywood Kickers 1986 Kickers Home Tagged Posts
Los Angeles Heat 1986-1989 Heat Home Tagged Posts
Portland Timbers 1989 Timbers Home Tagged Posts
Real Santa Barbara 1989 Real Santa Barbara Home Tagged Posts
Sacramento Senators 1989 Senators Home Tagged Posts
San Diego Nomads 1986-1989 Nomads Home Tagged Posts
San Francisco Bay Blackhawks 1989 Blackhawks Home Tagged Posts
San Jose Earthquakes 1985-1988 Earthquakes Home Tagged Posts
Seattle Storm 1988-1989 Storm Home Tagged Posts
Victoria Riptides 1985 Riptides Home Tagged Posts

 

==American Soccer League Franchise List==

Franchise Years Active Home Page Tagged Posts
Albany Capitals 1988-1989 Capitals Home Tagged Posts
Boston Bolts 1988-1989 Bolts Home Tagged Posts
Fort Lauderdale Strikers 1988-1989 Strikers Home Tagged Posts
Maryland Bays 1988-1989 Bays Home Tagged Posts
Miami Sharks 1988-1989 Sharks Home Tagged Posts
New Jersey Eagles 1988-1989 Eagles Home Tagged Posts
Orlando Lions 1988-1989 Lions Home Tagged Posts
Tampa Bay Rowdies 1988-1989 Rowdies Home Tagged Posts
Washington Diplomats 1988-1989 Diplomats Home Tagged Posts
Washington Stars 1988-1989 Stars Home Tagged Posts

 

==APSL/A-League Franchise List==

Franchise Years Active  Home Page Tagged Posts
Albany Capitals 1990-1991 Capitals Home Tagged Posts
Arizona Condors 1990 Condors Home Tagged Posts
Atlanta Ruckus 1995-1996 Ruckus Home Tagged Posts
Boston Bolts 1990 Bolts Home Tagged Posts
California Emperors 1990 Emperors Home Tagged Posts
Colorado Foxes 1990-1996 Foxes Home Tagged Posts
Fort Lauderdale Strikers 1990-1994 Strikers Home Tagged Posts
Los Angeles Heat 1990 Heat Home Tagged Posts
Los Angeles Salsa 1993-1994 Salsa Home Tagged Posts
Maryland Bays 1990-1991 Bays Home Tagged Posts
Miami Freedom 1990-1992 Freedom Home Tagged Posts
Montreal Impact 1993-1996 Impact Home Tagged Posts
New Jersey Eagles 1990 Eagles Home Tagged Posts
New Mexico Chiles 1990 Chiles Home Tagged Posts
New York Centaurs 1995 Centaurs Home Tagged Posts
New York Fever 1996 Fever Home Tagged Posts
Orlando Lions 1990 Lions Home Tagged Posts
Penn-Jersey Spirit 1990-1991 Spirit Home Tagged Posts
Portland Timbers 1990 Timbers Home Tagged Posts
Real Santa Barbara 1990 Real Santa Barbara Home Tagged Posts
Rochester Raging Rhinos 1996 Raging Rhinos Home Tagged Posts
Salt Lake Sting 1990-1991 Sting Home Tagged Posts
San Diego Nomads 1990 Nomads Home Tagged Posts
San Francisco Bay Blackhawks 1990-1992 Blackhawks Home Tagged Posts
Seattle Sounders 1994-1996 Sounders Home Tagged Posts
Seattle Storm 1990 Storm Home Tagged Posts
Tampa Bay Rowdies 1990-1993 Rowdies Home Tagged Posts
Toronto Blizzard 1993 Blizzard Home Tagged Posts
Toronto Rockets 1994 Rockets Home Tagged Posts
Vancouver 86ers 1993-1996 86ers Home Tagged Posts
Washington Diplomats 1990 Diplomats Home Tagged Posts
Washington Stars 1990 Stars Home Tagged Posts

 

==Downloads==

Press Release: April 16, 1989 – Western & American Soccer Leagues Plan Merger 

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Written by andycrossley

April 2nd, 2012 at 12:17 pm

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