Continental Indoor Soccer League (1994-1997)
Born: 1994 – Los Angeles United relocates to Anaheim, CA.
Died: December 23, 1997 – The CISL ceases operations.
Arena: Arrowhead Pond (16,224)
The Anaheim Splash played four seasons in the Continental Indoor Soccer League (CISL) and were typically among the league’s stronger clubs, thanks to a roster stocked with long-time indoor veterans like Ralph Black, Rod Castro, Dale Ervine and Doug Neely.
The team underwent three ownership transitions during its short history, starting with its acquisition by Ogden Facility Management, operators of the Arrowhead Pond arena in 1994. Ogden acquired the club from L.A. Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss, who owned the franchise – then called Los Angeles United – during the CISL’s inaugural season in 1993. The Splash had their best success under Ogden, winning back-to-back division titles and advancing to the playoff semi-finals both seasons. In 1995, the Splash averaged a franchise-best 8,429 fans per game, which ranked 2nd in the 15-team CISL.
After the 1995 season, Ogden re-focused on its core business of running 200 annual events at the Pond and announced the Splash would either be sold or folded. Arizonan Bill Williams stepped in at the 11th hour and saved the team, then flipped the club to a 20-person group of local investors led by Coast (Youth) Soccer League President Gary Sparks two months later. The Splash continued to be competitive for two more seasons, but attendance declined under Sparks’ under-capitalized management group.
The Splash’s problems came to a head at the end of the 1997 season, when Sparks fell behind on payments to players and staff. The Splash threatened to boycott the opening round of the 1997 playoffs and the CISL seized the franchise from Sparks in late September. The Splash did agree to play without full pay, but had their home playoff games moved to the road and were quickly eliminated by the Sacramento Knights.
The CISL was still looking for an investor/solution for the Splash when the entire league folded on December 23, 1997.
==Splash Matches on Fun While It Lasted==
|1996||7/3/1996||vs. Portland Pride||??||Program|
|1996||7/5/1996||vs. San Diego Sockers||??||Program|
- Ralph Black
- Rod Castro
- Dale Ervine
- Ruben Fernandez
- Doug Neely