Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘NPSL 1990’ tag

1996-2010 Philadelphia Kixx

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Philadelphia KixxNational Professional Soccer League (1996-2001)
Major Indoor Soccer League (2001-2008)
National Indoor Soccer League (2008-2009)
Major Indoor Soccer League (2009-2010)

Born: 1995 – NPSL expansion franchise.
Died: 2010 – The Kixx cease operations.

Arenas:

Team Colors: Teal, Red & Black

Owners:

 

The Philadelphia Kixx were a long-running indoor soccer team that enjoyed strong popularity in the City of Brotherly Love for a few years during the late 1990’s.   The club was originally founded as a National Professional Soccer League (NPSL) expansion franchise in 1996 by local businessman Ed Tepper.

Tepper was one of the pioneers of the sport of indoor soccer.  He more or less stumbled across the sport during a brief stint as owner of the old Philadelphia Wings box lacrosse team that played at the Spectrum in 1974 and 1975.  Captivated by the potential of the indoor game, Tepper quickly sold off the Wings to focus on soccer.  He was a co-founder of the first pro indoor league, the Major Indoor Soccer League, in 1978.  But Tepper had been away from the sport for more than a decade when came back to form the Kixx in 1995.  Tepper kept the team until 2002, when he turned over primary ownership to local attorney Jeffrey Rotwitt.  Rotwitt would support the club until its demise in 2010.

The Kixx were the top box office draw in the NPSL for three straight years from 1998 to 2000, averaging over 8,000 fans per game.  But the team’s fortunes dipped in the 2000’s as Major League Soccer and the rapid growth of the outdoor game relegated a succession of indoor soccer leagues to irrelevance and disarray.  The Kixx were further marginalized in 2009 when the Spectrum, their home of 13 years, closed it doors and the team was exiled to the Liacouras Center on the campus of Temple University.  The club went on a hiatus at the end of the 2009-10 season, which turned out to be just a euphemism for going out of business.

The Kixx won two league championships during their fourteen-year run, capturing Major Indoor Soccer League titles in 2002 and 2007.

 

 

==YouTube==

The Kixx host the Baltimore Blast at the Spectrum, March 24, 2007.

The Kixx claim their second and final MISL championship against the Detroit Ignition, April 2007.

 

 

==Links==

National Professional Soccer League Media Guides

National Professional Soccer League Programs

2001-Present Indoor Soccer Media Guides

2001-Present Indoor Soccer Programs

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1991-2001 Kansas City Attack

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National Professional Soccer League (1991-2001)

Born: September 1991 – The Atlanta Attack relocate to Kansas City, MO.
Died: 2001 – Re-branded as Kansas City Comets.

Arenas:

Team Colors:

  • 1998-99: Black, Green & Silver

Owners:

 

During the 1980’s Kansas City, Missouri was a hotspot for the growing sport of indoor soccer.  The local Major Indoor Soccer League franchise, the Kansas City Comets, was so popular in the early part of the decade that they helped to drive the NBA’s Kansas City Kings out of town in 1985.  The departure of the Kings and the lack of an NHL franchise made the Comets the only wintertime pro sports ticket in town starting in 1985, but the fortunes of the Major Indoor Soccer League started to fade by the late 1980’s.  The MISL nearly folded in 1988 and by 1991 Comets attendance had fallen more than 50% from its peak of nearly 16,000 fans per game in 1984.

The Comets went out of business in July of 1991.  Sensing an opportunity, a pair of novice sports investors from Rochester, New York, Chris Economides and Louis Gitsis, purchased the Atlanta Attack of the lower-budget National Professional Soccer League (NPSL) and quickly shifted the team to Kansas City in September 1991, two months after the collapse of the Comets.   They retained the Attack name in Kansas City, but signed popular for Comets stars Gino Schiraldi and Jim Schwab to try and lure back disheartened Comets fans.

The Kansas City Attack spent their first season in the winter of 1991-92 at the smaller, cheaper Municipal Auditorium.  The team was strong (26-14) and made it to the playoff semi-finals, but attendance languished at 3,050 fans per game, which was a far cry from the Comets days, and beneath the NPSL’s modest league-wide average of 3,600.

In 1992-93 the Attack returned to Kemper Arena and saw a 50% surge in attendance, but still nothing like the Comets’ days of the 80’s.  Nevertheless, the team was terrific and advanced to 1993 NPSL Championship Series against the Cleveland Crunch.  Fairweather Kansas City fans jumped on the bandwagon and a crowd of 12,134 turned out at Kemper Arena on April 30, 1993 to watch Kansas City claim its first indoor soccer title with a 19-7 victory over Cleveland in Game 5 of the 1993 NPSL Championship Series.

The Attack won a second championship following the 1996-97 NPSL season.

In the summer of 2001, the National Professional Soccer League disbanded and the surviving teams re-organized under the nostalgic Major Indoor Soccer League brand name.   Attack owner Don Kincaid chose to play the 1980’s nostalgia card as well, dropping the Attack identity in favor of a revived Kansas City Comets name.   The former Attack franchise played four more seasons under the Comets name before folding in September 2005.  Kincaid lost a reported $15 million on the franchise between 1993 and 2005 according to The Kansas City Star.

 

==Attack Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Date Opponent Score Program Other
1994-95 11/27/1994 vs. Dayton Dynamo  W 19-5 Program
1994-95 1/22/1995 vs. St. Louis Ambush L 23-12 Program
1995-96 2/24/1996 @ Cleveland Crunch W 24-18 Program

 

==Links==

National Professional Soccer League Media Guides

National Professional Soccer League Programs

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1996-97 Columbus Invaders

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Columbus InvadersNational Professional Soccer League (1996-1997)

Born: 1996 – The Canton Invaders relocate to Columbus, OH.
Died: 1997 – The Invaders cease operations.

Arena: Battelle Hall

Team Colors:

Owner: Moh Hassan

 

The one-year existence of the Columbus Invaders of the indoor National Professional Soccer League was a sad coda to the story of the Canton Invaders, a minor league soccer dynasty of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.

The Canton Invaders began play in the winter of 1984-85 as one of the original franchises in the American Indoor Soccer Association.  In the beginning, the AISA was an Upper Midwestern bus league, with a handful of clubs knocking about in minor league hockey rinks and agricultural exposition centers in places like Kalamazoo, Columbus and Toledo.  Canton, Ohio and its tiny 4,200-seat Civic Center fit right in.  The Invaders dominated on the carpet, appearing in each of the AISA’s first six championship finals and winning five of them.

By the end of the 1980’s, the AISA grew more ambitious and became an air travel league with an expanded footprint across the United States.  In 1990, the league re-branded itself as the National Professional Soccer League and began playing in big city arenas like Atlanta’s Omni and Denver’s McNichols Arena, among others.  Canton became a small market anomaly within the league and crowds – never great to begin with – began to dwindle as the Invaders’ championship-contending form receded sharply after 1992.

In the summer of 1996, Moh Hassan purchased the Invaders and moved the club 125 miles south to Columbus.  The Columbus Invaders proved to be a shadow of what the Canton Invaders once were.  The team was inexperienced and overmatched in the NPSL, relying heavily on young players from a local 3rd division outdoor team called (absurdly) the Ohio Xoggz.  After a 4-18 start, Hassan fired original coach Drago Jaha and replaced him with player-coach Solomon Hilton, who was one of the few experienced indoor veterans on the team.  That hardly improved matters, as the team fumbled away 17 of its remaining 18 matches to finish with a league worst 5-35 record.

The Invaders’ humiliations included a March 1997 home loss to the Cleveland Crunch by a score of 52-18.  (The NPSL had a wacky scoring system consisting largely of 2-point and 3-point goals).  It was the most vicious beating in the 17-year history of the league.

Owner Moh Hassan barely promoted the club and the Columbus soccer diehards who might have sought the Invaders out on their own already had the brand new Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer to get excited about in 1996.  The Invaders’ proclaimed averaged attendance of 1,588 per at Battelle Hall, a sterile downtown convention center, was also the worst of the NPSL’s 15 clubs.  To no one’s surprise, the Invaders folded in the summer of 1996.

 

==Links==

National Professional Soccer League Media Guides

National Professional Soccer League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

August 14th, 2013 at 7:48 pm

1990-1991 New York Kick

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National Professional Soccer League (1991-1992)

Born: September 13, 1990 – NPSL expansion franchise.
Died: September 27, 1991 – The Kick cease operations.

Arenas:

Team Colors:

Owners:

 

Doomed indoor soccer club that muddled through a single season in upstate New York during the winter of 1990-91 before lack of community interest and investor litigation conspired to wipe the New York Kick off the map.

A group of nearly forty small investors led by George Keleshian and Afrim Nezaj labored for nearly two years to bring an American Indoor Soccer Association franchise to Albany.  (By the time the club was purchased in September 1990, the league had changed its name to the National Professional Soccer League).  While the bid was in progress, Albany opened the $69 million Knickerbocker Arena in January 1990.  On February 18, 1990, the expansion backers promoted an AISA regular season game between the Chicago Power and the Memphis Rogues at Knickerbocker Arena to test community interest.   The game drew an announced crowd of 8,150, which was considered quite encouraging.

The summer of 1990 came and went.  The NPSL finally awarded the Albany franchise in September, leaving the unwieldy and inexperienced owners less than a month to prepare for the 1990-91 league opener.  The late start also meant that the Kick could not secure 20 home dates at Knickerbocker Arena, so the team had to augment their schedule with dates at the Glens Falls Civic Center, located 45 minutes away.

The season was a disaster from the start.  Attendance at the 15,000-seat Knickerbocker Arena was less than 2,000 per match.  On the carpet, the team was completely overmatched under Afrim Nezaj, a former minor league player and member of the Kick’s ownership group.  Nezaj was relieved of his coaching duties midway through the year, but the change didn’t help.  The Kick would finish the season with a 3-37 record and the club was outscored 646-284.  Many of the team’s experienced indoor veterans walked away when the undercapitalized owners demanded a 50% pay cut in midseason.

In February 1991, with the team on the brink of failure, Albany-based sports investor Joseph O’Hara stepped into rescue the Kick.  Over the past two years, O’Hara had built a small empire of capital region sports properties with partner Glenn Mazula. The pair owned the Albany Patroons of the Continental Basketball Association and the Albany Firebirds of the Arena Football League, both of which also played at Knickerbocker Arena. (Mazula would not be involved with O’Hara’s Kick bailout, presumably to his eternal relief).

O’Hara helped the Kick finish out the remainder of the season, although he never did enjoy a Kick win, as the club last it’s last 13 matches after he took over.  O’Hara quickly got into a dispute with the previous ownership over terms of the sale, and by summertime the two sides were headed for court.  Facing litigation and a projected mid-six figure loss, O’Hara pulled out of the NPSL in late September 1991, just weeks before training camp, forcing the league to re-work it schedule.  The league eventually sued O’Hara as well.

The litigation over the New York Kick stretched in the mid-1990’s, far outliving the brief 12-month life of the soccer club itself.

 

==In Memoriam==

Kick forward Carlos Salguero died of cancer on December 28, 2006.  He was 51.

 

==Links==

AISA/NPSL Media Guides

AISA/NPSL Programs

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1990-1992 Illinois Thunder

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Illinois ThunderNational Professional Soccer League (1990-1992)

Born: March 13, 1990 – AISA expansion franchise.
Died: September 1, 1992 – The Thunder relocate to Denver, CO.

Arena: Rockford MetroCentre

Team Colors:

Owner: Mike Kelegian

 

The Illinois Thunder were a short-lived, poorly attended indoor soccer franchise based at the Rockford MetroCentre for two seasons from 1990 to 1992.  The Thunder began life as an expansion franchise in the American Indoor Soccer Association in March 1990, but the league changed its name to the National Professional Soccer League by the time the Thunder kicked their first ball in November of the same year.

The Thunder shared the MetroCentre during the winter months with the more popular Rockford Lightning of the Continental Basketball Association.  Local real estate executive Mike Kelegian founded the team as an expansion franchise in early 1990. Former Chicago Sting star Heinz Wirtz served as Head Coach.  The Thunder had an in-state rival in the NPSL – the Chicago Power – who were coached by another former Sting star, Karl-Heinz-Granitza.

During the Thunder’s second season in the winter of 1991-1992, the club had the worst attendance in the nine-team NPSL, claiming only 1,613 fans per game for a 20-match calendar.  In September 1992, Kelegian moved his franchise to Colorado where the team was known as the Denver Thunder.

Kelegian ran out of money and stopped meeting payroll within weeks of his arrival in Denver.  The former Illinois Thunder wobbled through its one and only season in Denver as a ward of the league before folding quietly in 1993.

Indoor soccer returned to soccer two decades later when the Rockford Rampage (2008-2010) played two seasons at the MetroCentre to equally meager crowds.

 

==Illinois Thunder Matches on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other
1990-91 12/15/1990 vs. Canton Invaders L 12-10 (OT) Program

 

==In Memoriam==

Former Thunder owner Mike Kelegian passed away in July 2001 at age 65.

 

==Links==

National Professional Soccer League Media Guides

National Professional Soccer League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

May 5th, 2013 at 1:10 pm