Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Midseason Meltdowns’ tag

1983-1985 Dallas Americans

leave a comment

Dallas AmericansAmerican Soccer League (1983)
United Soccer League (1984-1985)

Born: 1983 – ASL expansion franchise
Folded: June 26, 1985

Stadium: John Clark Stadium (14,224)

Team Colors: Red, White & Blue

Owners: Texas Professional Soccer, Inc. (Bill Spear, et al.)

ASL Championships: None
USL Championships: None


The Dallas Americans were a lower division U.S. pro soccer club active for parts of three seasons in the mid-1980’s. The Americans replaced the NASL’s Dallas Tornado (1967-1981) on the local soccer scene. The team played at John Clark Stadium in Plano.

Longtime Tornado star Bobby Moffatt was instrumental in founding the franchise and arranging its entry for its entry in the 2nd Division American Soccer League in February 1983. Ownership group Texas Professional Soccer, Inc. purchased the rights to the ASL’s long-dormant Golden Gate Gales franchise, which had last taken the field in 1980, and shifted it to northern Texas.

On the field, the Americans featured a number of former Tornado players on the roster, including Jeff Bourne, Neil Cohen, Billy Phillips and player-coach Wolfgang Rausch. After a hot start to the 1983 season, the American cooled off somewhat and finished with a 13-12 record. That was good enough for a semi-final playoff berth, where Dallas was eliminated by the Pennsylvania Stoners.

Following the 1983 season, the American Soccer League folded after more than a half century of operation. Several former ASL clubs, including the Americans, spearheaded the formation of a successor organization: the United Soccer League. The USL’s focus was on “Americanization” of the sport. League rules required that seven American players be on the field at all times. Dallas’ pre-season roster for the 1984 USL campaign included fourteen Americans and three foreign players.

The USL entered the spring/summer 1984 season with nine franchises and plans for a winter indoor season to follow. But the league began to collapse in the fall of 1984. The USL limped into the spring of 1985 with just four active teams: Dallas, El Paso, Fort Lauderdale and Tulsa. El Paso and Tulsa quickly ran out of  money and the USL shut its doors on June 26th, 1985, taking the Americans down with it.


In Memoriam

Striker Jeff Bourne (Americans ’83) died of ALS on July 31, 2014 at the age of 66.



1983 Dallas Americans vs. U.S. Olympic Team exhibition game program



American Soccer League Media Guides

American Soccer League Programs

United Soccer League Media Guides

United Soccer Leagues Programs


1975-1977 Tidewater Sharks

leave a comment

1975-76 Tidewater Sharks ProgramSouthern Hockey League (1975-1977)

Born: 1975 – SHL expansion franchise
Folded: January 7, 1977

Arena: Norfolk Scope

Team Colors:

Owner: Tidewater Professional Sports, Inc. (Richard Davis, et al.)

SHL Championships: None


The Tidewater Sharks were a short-lived franchise in the Southern Hockey League of the mid-1970’s. The SHL was the former Southern Division of the Eastern Hockey League, which seceded from that league in 1973.  The Sharks joined up as an expansion franchise two years later, taking advantage of vacant dates at the Norfolk Scope after the Virginia Wings of the American Hockey League left town in the spring of 1975.

Tidewater Professional Sports, Inc., a large consortium of local businessman headed by future Virginia Lt. Governor Richard Davis, operated the Sharks.  TPS, Inc. had operated the minor league baseball Tidewater Tides since 1963 but was unable to find similar support or stability for their minor league hockey efforts.

Midway through the Sharks’ second season in the winter of 1976-77 the Southern Hockey League began to unravel. The Greensboro Generals and Richmond Wildcats folded on January 3rd, 1977, reducing the SHL from 7 to 5 clubs. The Sharks folded four days later on January 7th, along with the Winston-Salem Polar Twins who closed up shop later the same day.  The league staggered along with 3 clubs for another couple of weeks before throwing in the towel at the end of January 1977.



Southern Hockey League Programs


Written by Drew Crossley

July 4th, 2016 at 4:46 pm

1975-1977 Albuquerque Chaparrals

leave a comment

1975-76 Albuquerque Chaparrals ProgramSouthwest Hockey League (1975-1977)

Born: 1975 – SWHL founding franchise
Folded: January 25, 1977

Arena: Tingley Coliseum

Team Colors:



The Albuquerque Chaparrals were a senior amateur hockey team that skated for one-and-a-half chaotic seasons during the mid-1970’s.  The Chaparrals were founded by the controversial Las Vegas construction baron, casino owner and Nazi party enthusiast Ralph Englestad and his brother Richard in 1975.

The Engelstads launched the Southwest Hockey League from their headquarters in Las Vegas, where Ralph owned the Flamingo Capri Motel and Casino. The concept of the SWHL was that players would attend college or vocational school while competing in the league’s 72-game winter schedule. Since the players were amateur, they did not draw salaries.  Team owners were expected to provide room and board, pay for players’ tuition and books, and a small weekly expense stipend. SWHL franchises formed in Arizona, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota and Texas.

The Chaparrals finished in 2nd place in the SWHL with a 39-32-1 during their debut run in 1975-76. Following the season, the Engelstads sold the Chaparrals to E.W. McIntrye for a reported $100,000.

Financial troubles doomed the SWHL during its second season. Six teams started the season, but clubs in Bismarck and Minot swiftly went under.

Albuquerque had problems too. In December 1976, the team organized a promotion with a man named George Hartnett (identified by The Albuquerque Journal as “a hot air balloon promoter”). Hartnett would attempt to sell five thousand $1.00 tickets to a Chaps home date at the Tingley Coliseum on December 10, 1976. Gate receipts would pay for travel home for the Christmas holidays for the Chaps players, many of whom hailed from the Western provinces of Canada. The promotion flopped and General Manager Leo Zani declined to give any of the money raised to the players. Chaparrals coach Bob Gernander and 12 of his players resigned from the team in protest.

The team re-organized and soldiered on under new head coach Cal Swenson. But by the end of January 1977 the SWHL’s remaining four clubs decided to call it quits, cancelling the final 30 or so games of the 1976-77 season.


2014 Boston Brawlers

leave a comment

Boston BrawlersFall Experimental Football League (2014)

Born: 2014 – FXFL founding franchise
2015 (Mahoning Valley Brawlers)

Stadium: Harvard Stadium

Team Colors:

Owner: FXFL


The Boston Brawlers were an misbegotten minor league football effort that managed two stage just two games at Harvard Stadium in the fall of 2014 before evaporating.  The Brawlers were part of a start-up called the Fall Experimental Football League which suddenly popped up in three cities (Boston, Brooklyn, Omaha) in the summer of 2014 with virtually no advance publicity, sales effort or investors .  (A fourth team, the “Florida” Blacktips had no home base and rounded out schedule as a travel-only squad).

The Brawlers’ biggest name was quarterback Tahj Boyd.  Boyd, the 2012 ACC Player-of-the-Year at Clemson, was the 6th round draft pick of the New York Jets earlier in 2014. After getting cut in training camp, Boyd latched on with the Brawlers for a couple of games.

The Brawlers played in the league’s debut game on October 8th, 2014, losing 41-18 to the Omaha Mammoths at TD Ameritrade Park in Nebraska.  Meanwhile, back in Boston, the Brawlers neglected to do any local promotion, short of an agreement to air a few game broadcasts on NESN, the Red Sox-owned cable network. Boston Globe sportswriter Stan Grossfeld, who covered the team’s second and final appearance at a near-empty Harvard Stadium in November 2014, noted that the team’s pugilistic logo “looks more like V.I. Lenin than John L. Sullivan”.

On November 7, 2014 30 days after the FXFL debuted, league founder Brian Woods announced the cancellation of the league’s final regular season contest and championship game. After the season, many FXFL players complained on social media of unpaid salaries.

Surprisingly, the FXFL returned to play in 2015 with a new business model. Brooklyn returned,  but gone were the major/mid-major markets of Boston and Omaha.  In their place, the FXFL formed partnerships with minor league baseball operators to handle promotion and operations.  The Brawlers were re-purposed as the Mahoning Valley Brawlers, to be operated by the Mahoning Valley Scrappers baseball team in Niles, Ohio.

On September 28, 2015 the FXFL folded the Mahoning Valley Brawlers franchise one week before the planned kickoff of the 2015 season.



The Boston Brawlers host the Brooklyn Bolts at Harvard Stadium. November 2014.


The Brawlers planned move to the Mahoning Valley in Ohio, plugged in a July 2015 WKBN news package.


Written by AC

November 11th, 2015 at 2:40 pm

1996-2000 Edmonton Drillers

leave a comment

Edmonton Drillers Media GuideNational Professional Soccer League (1996-2000)

Born: August 23, 1996 – The Chicago Power relocate to Edmonton.
Folded: November 30, 2000

Arena: Edmonton Coliseum

Team Colors:


NPSL Championships: None

Deepest Playoff Run: Semi-Finalist 1999, 2000


The Edmonton Drillers indoor soccer team of the late 1990’s was a brand revival of the original Edmonton Drillers (1979-1982) of the North American Soccer League.  The NASL Drillers competed year-round, playing outdoors at Commonwealth Stadium and Clarke Stadium in the spring and summer and indoors at the Northlands Coliseum during the wintertime.

Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington owned the original Drillers and he was also the man who re-established the club in 1996 by purchasing and relocating the insolvent Chicago Power franchise in the National Professional Soccer League. Pocklington hired Ross Ongaro, a veteran of the NASL Drillers squads, to coach the team.

Two years later, Pocklington’s creditors forced him to sell off the Oilers and his other sporting assets. The Drillers appeared to be dead in the water in the spring of 1998.  The team’s 10-person staff was let go and the team sat dark for much of the summer as Pocklington’s sports empire was disassembled.

In late July, a local white knight appeared in the person of advertising executive Wojtek Wojcicki.  The Drillers had their most successful on-field moments during Wojcicki’s ownership, including a divisional championship in 1999 and back-to-back playoff semi-final appearances in 1999 and 2000.  But the ad man didn’t have the money to shoulder the Drillers’ red ink and unfavorable lease at the Northlands Coliseum for long.

On November 15, 2000, Wojcicki missed payroll for the Drillers. The team was just one month into its fifth season of play. The NPSL took over operation of the club for two weeks. But the league’s other owners had little appetite to underwrite the Drillers’ losses for the rest of the winter. With no local buyer on the horizon, the NPSL terminated the franchise on November 30th, 2000, just 9 games into a planned 40-game schedule.




The Edmonton Drillers Archive

National Professional Soccer League Media Guides

National Professional Soccer League Programs