Lively Tales About Dead Teams

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1983-1992 Tacoma Stars

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Steve Zungul Tacoma StarsMajor Indoor Soccer League (1983-1990)
Major Soccer League (1990-1992)

Born: June 29, 1983 – Dormant Denver Avalanche franchise shifts to Tacoma
Folded: June 5, 1992

Arena: The Tacoma Dome (20,284)

Team Colors: Blue, Orange & Gold

Owners:

MISL Championships: None

 

Indoor soccer’s Tacoma Stars were the first tenants at the $44 million Tacoma Dome, which opened in April 1983. The Stars were pretty much the closest thing that the city of Tacoma, Washington has had to a major professional sports franchise, the occasional Seattle Supersonics game excluded.

Most seasons, the team was an also-ran.  The exception was the winter of 1986-87, when the Stars featured two of the all-time greats of the indoor game: Steve Zungul, the six-time MISL MVP known as “The Lord of All Indoors” and the young Serbian midfielder Preki.  The Stars raced out to the best regular season record in the league (35-17) and attendance surged 35% to over 10,000 fans per match.

Tacoma StarsThe Stars reached the 1987 MISL Championship Series against the Dallas Sidekicks.  The best-of-seven series drew large crowds in both cities and the Stars raced out to a 3 games to 2 lead.  In a thrilling finale, Games 6 and 7 both went to sudden death overtime.  16,824 turned out for Game 6 at Reunion Arena in Dallas and saw Mark Karpun keep the Sidekicks alive with his overtime goal.  The series moved back to Tacoma on June 20, 1987.  21,728 fans turned out at the sold out Dome for Game 7 – to this day, still the largest crowd ever to watch an indoor soccer game in the United States.  The Stars blew a late lead to send the series into sudden death.  And it was Karpun who struck again for the second time in three nights, with the series winner.   Check out the footage in the Youtube section below.

The big crowds in Tacoma lasted for one more season, but the club returned to also-ran status in the standings in 1987-88. On July 8, 1988, barely a year removed from their blockbuster run to the MISL Finals, the Stars went out of business, citing $8.9 million in losses over 5 years.

A few days later, a group of 28 local investors stepped forward to save the Stars.  The new group managed to keep the team going for another four seasons, but the buzz was gone.  In July 1991, Head Coach Keith Weller had to sit on a 30-foot platform in a shopping mall parking lot for five days and nights as part of a publicity stunt to sell season tickets and save the team.  By the early 90’s, crowds dwindled to less than 5,000 per match at the Dome.   The Stars finally ran out of gas on June 5, 1992, folding after nine seasons.  The rest of the league followed one month later.

 

Tacoma Stars Shop

Tacoma Stars Retro T-Shirt by Throwback Max

 

Tacoma Stars Memorabilia

 

In Memoriam

Former Stars Head Coach Keith Weller (1989-1992) died of cancer in November 2004 at age 58. The Independent obituary.

Stars forward Mark Peterson passed away at age 51 on July 7, 2011.

 

Stars Video

The Stars host the Dallas Sidekicks in a thrilling Game 7 of the 1987 MISL Championship Series at the Tacoma Dome.

Downloads

1987-88 Major Indoor Soccer League Rule Book & Schedule 

 

Links

Major Indoor Soccer League Media Guides

Major Indoor Soccer League Programs

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