Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘ASL 1933-1983’ tag

1982 Georgia Generals

leave a comment

American Soccer League (1982)

Born: 1982 – The Cleveland Cobras relocate to Atlanta, Georgia.
Folded: Postseason 1982.

Stadium: DeKalb Stadium

Team Colors:

Owner: Walt Russell

 

The Georgia Generals were a One-Year Wonder in the 2nd Division American Soccer League, playing just one season in the summer of 1982.   The Generals played in the Atlanta suburb of DeKalb.  Prior to arriving in Georgia, the franchise operated in Ohio as the Cleveland Cobras (1974-1981).

The Generals were a decidedly minor league operation which sought to fill the pro soccer void in the market after the big budget, Ted Turner-owned Atlanta Chiefs (1979-1981) of the North American Soccer League went out of business in September 1981.  Former Chiefs manager David Chadwick hired on as head coach of the Generals and the roster featured several other Chiefs’ refugees, including starting goalkeeper Graham Tutt.

Brazilian minor league warhorse Jose Neto was the club’s leading scorer with 15 goals.

The Generals finished with a respectable 12-9-4 record, good for third place in the seven-team ASL.  They received a bye in the first round of the playoffs when their schedule opponents, the Pennsylvania Stoners, were too financially unstable to take part in the postseason.  In the semi-finals, the eventual champion Detroit Express eliminated the Generals in a two-game series.

Owner Walt Russell ran out of money near the end of the season, making the Generals continued existence a week-to-week proposition.  The club folded quietly after the 1982 season.

 

==Links==

American Soccer League Media Guides

American Soccer League Programs

###

Written by AC

February 28th, 2014 at 1:58 pm

1969-1970 Syracuse Scorpions

2 comments

American Soccer League (1969-1970)

Born: 1969 – ASL expansion franchise
Died: Postseason 1970 – The Scorpions cease operations

Stadiums:

Team Colors:

Owner:

 

The Syracuse Scorpions were a two-year entry in the lower-division American Soccer League (1933-1983).  The team originally played their games on the outfield grass of MacArthur Stadium, the city’s minor league baseball stadium.  But the ballpark burned down in May 1969 and was unusable for the rest of the summer, forcing both the Scorpions and the Syracuse Chiefs baseball team to make new arrangements.  The Scorpions played at Griffin Field during the latter part of the 1969 season.

At 12-5-3, the Scorpions finished in a first place tie with the Rochester Lancers in the ASL’s Northern Division.  After dispatching the Lancers in a tiebreaker playoff match, the Scorpions faced the league’s best club, the Southern Division champion Washington Darts in the two-game aggregate goals championship series in October 1969.  The Darts (14-1-5) lost only once in 20 matches in 1969 and they handled the Scorpions easily, outscoring Syracuse 2-0 in both of the finals matches.

Rookie Jim Lefkos, a Cypriot out of the University of Toronto, led the ASL in scoring in 1969 with 22 goals.

In 1970, the Scorpions were able to return to a repaired MacArthur Stadium in 1970.  But the eternally unstable ASL was reduced to just 5 clubs and the schedule cut in half from 20 regular season matches to 10.  The ASL suspended the Scorpions franchise in late summer for failing to meet financial obligations.  According to Dave Litterer’s American Soccer History Archive site, the Scorpions managed to play just six matches in 1970, finishing 2-4.

Scorpions GM and Head Coach Sal DeRosa left the club in mid-season 1970 to take over the coaching reigns of the Rochester Lancers, who were now members of the 1st Division North American Soccer League.  DeRosa led the Lancers to their first and only NASL crown later that summer.  Several players from Syracuse’s 1969 finalist team moved to Lancers in 1970 as well, including top scorer Jim Lefkos.

The Scorpions folded after the 1970 season.  A newly organized Syracuse club – the Suns – replaced the Scorpions in the ASL in 1971.

###

Written by AC

February 17th, 2013 at 3:22 am

1969-1975 Boston / Worcester Astros

one comment

American Soccer League (1969-1975)

Born: 1969 – Joined American Soccer League.
Died: Postseason 1975 – The Astros cease operations.

Stadiums:

Team Colors:

Owner: John Bertos

 

The Boston Astros were a classic mom & pop operations in the rough & tumble business of American pro soccer in the 1970’s.  The “pop” in this instance was John Bertos, a Greek immigrant and former soccer player who more or less single-handedly organized, financed and coached the Astros for their seven seasons in the lower rungs of the professional game.

The Astros claimed to trace their origins back to the early 1950’s with the formation of an amateur team in Lowell, Massachusetts called the Lowell Pan-Hellenic Soccer Club.  This was kind of a stretch – the main connection here was that Bertos started coaching Pan-Hellenic in 1064.  The real history of the Astros as a pro club began in 1969 when they were invited to join the American Soccer League, the nation’s longest running soccer loop, dating back to the early 1930’s.  Despite the ASL’s long history, it was comically disorganized and constantly on the brink of implosion.

Bertos ran the Astros with the proceeds from his Lowell-based janitorial service and helped to employ some of his immigrant players in the business.  Bertos’ specialty was recruiting players from Brazil and his Astros’ squads of the 1970’s had a heavy Brazilian presence.  Two of this top Brazilian finds were strikers Helio “Boom Boom” Barbosa and Jose Neto.  Barbosa was ASL Most Valuable Player in 1973 and Neto captured the same honor after lighting up the league scoring tables as a 20-year old rookie in 1975.

The Astros initially played their home matches in the Northern Massachusetts industrial city of Lowell, but moved into Boston in 1972, splitting the next few years between Boston University’s Nickerson Field and aAlumni Stadium at Boston College in the nearby suburb of Chestnut Hill.

In 1974, Bertos got some outside investment help for the first time, in the person of Worcester fuel company executive David Adams (which perhaps explains the really nice media guide produced for 1974 at the top of this post).  But competition also arrived in the form of the Boston Minutemen, a 1974 expansion club in the superior North American Soccer League.  In 1975, the Minutemen moved in to Nickerson Field, meaning Boston now had two pro teams playing the in the same stadium.

Bertos couldn’t survive the competition and moved his club to Worcester late in the 1975 season, setting up shop at Foley Stadium to finish out the year.  Occasionally, the 1975 team is referred to as the Worcester Astros.  Thanks to Jose Neto’s scoring heroics, the team advanced the the ASL championship against New York Apollo in Mt. Vernon, New York.  When the decisive game went into overtime and then remained knotted for nine more overtime periods until the local curfew was reached, ASL Commissioner Bob Cousy (yes, that Bob Cousy) stepped in and simply declared the Apollo and the Astros co-champions.  Minor league soccer’s version of a hung jury.

This proved to be the last game the Astros ever played.  The club folded after the 1975 season.  In 1976, Bertos briefly assumed the General Manager and Head Coach position of his former rivals, the NASL’s Boston Minutemen.  But his job was only to oversee the club’s dissolution, as the Minutemen were themselves out of money and in the midst of selling off all their players and going out of business.  In 1977, he returned to the American Soccer League as Head Coach of the Providence-based New England Oceaneers for a single season.

June 12, 1977 – New England Oceaneers vs. Connecticut Yankees

2 comments

New England Oceaneers vs. Connecticut Yankees
June 12, 1977
Pierce Memorial Stadium
American Soccer League Programs
20 pages

I was thrilled to finally dig up a program from the old Rhode Island/New England Oceaneers soccer club earlier this week.  The Oceaneers played in the 2nd division American Soccer League from 1974 to 1977 and any material from the ASL is tough to find.

The Oceaneers starting goalkeeper from 1975 to 1977 was Tony DiCicco.  I worked with Tony thirty years later, when we were both with the Boston Breakers of Women’s Professional Soccer (2009-2011).  By that time, Tony was a coaching legend in the women’s game.  Winner of 1996 Olympic Gold and then 1999 Women’s World Cup as Head Coach of the U.S. National Team.  But his own playing career, spent entirely in the ASL from 1973 to 1977, was more obscure, since the history of that league has largely vanished into the dusty microfiche reels of public libraries in fading industrial cities.

This program was from the final season of DiCicco’s pro career and the final season for the Oceaneers in Rhode Island.  The club was known as the Rhode Island Oceaneers for its first three seasons and then became “New England” in 1977.  But this was just a semantic change – the club was always based out of Providence, RI.  The ’77 Oceaneers featured a rogues gallery of minor league characters, straight out of central casting: Mohammed “The Baby Jet” Attiah, Helio “Boom-Boom” Barbosa and Tarik “The Mad Turk” Kupoglu.

The new Oceanereers Head Coach & General Manager for 1977 was a man named John Bertos, a Greek soccer fanatic who brought dozens if not hundreds of Brazilian immigrants to Massachusetts in the 1960’s and 1970’s to play for his Lowell/Fall River/Boston Astros teams of the ASL.  Many of the Brazilian imports worked in Bertos’ janitorial firm by day and played for his ASL clubs on the weekends.

After the 1977 season, new ownership took over the Oceaneers and moved the club to Indianapolis, where a name change was obviously in order.  The Indianapolis Daredevils lasted two seasons before folding in 1979.  The American Soccer League went out of business after the 1983 season.

 

==Downloads==

1977 New England Oceaneers Booster Club Newsletter

1977 New England Oceaneers Ticket Brochure

###

Written by AC

November 24th, 2012 at 1:09 am

1982 Nashville Diamonds

5 comments

American Soccer League (1982)

Born: 1982 – ASL expansion franchise>
Died: 1982 – The Diamonds cease operations.

Stadium: Hale Stadium

Team Colors:

Owner:

 

The Nashville Diamonds were a woeful and all but forgotten entry in the minor league American Soccer League during the summer of 1982.  Material for this team is practically non-existent, so I was thrilled to find this more-or-less pristine team pennant in a recent auction.  The black-on-silver font cracks me up.  This doesn’t say “soccer” to me.  Or “Nashville” for that matter.  More like an iron-on patch design for a D-list 80’s metal band like Autograph or Accept.  Or Talas.  Or Wyld Stallyns from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

But anyway.  The Diamonds were atrocious.  The club won only 3 of their 28 games (3-21-4).  One of those wins came early in the season at home against a disbelieving Carolina Lightnin’ squad, defending champs of the ASL.

The Diamonds were “the worst team in the league”, Lightnin’ Head Coach Rodney Marsh told The Rock Hill (NC) Herald.  

Lightnin’ captain and assistant coach David Power elaborated in the same article.  “They’re probably the worst team I’ve ever played in my life – and that’s saying something.”

Fans stayed away from Hale Stadium on the campus of Tennessee State University in droves and the team quickly ran into financial problems.  By July 1982, team officials stated that the club might not finish the season unless 15,000 fans turned out a Friday/Sunday homestand.  700 showed up.  Diamonds Head Coach Hector Guevara told The Associated Press a few days later that the entire team voluntarily took 25% to 35% pay cuts to help the team finish out the schedule.

After the 1982 ASL season ended in September, the Diamonds quietly faded into oblivion.  The ASL itself followed a year later, folding in early 1984 after a half century of operation.

 

==Links==

American Soccer League Media Guides

American Soccer League Programs

###

 

 

Written by AC

July 30th, 2012 at 1:43 am

Follow

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: