FWil contributor Michael Romalis grew up in Wichita, Kansas cheering for the Wichita Wings, an indoor soccer team that regularly sold out the Kansas Coliseum in the early 1980′s. This blog is re-printed with permission from Michael’s excellent Wichita Wings History website.
“When I came to Wichita, Kansas I never really dreamed we would ever talk about the Wichita Wings playing the New York Cosmos. Such is the growth of soccer in Kansas that they are coming here and I think we’ve got a great chance of beating them.”
–Wings coach Roy Turner, as quoted in the game write-up of this program. In 1975, Roy’s Dallas Tornado squad played the Cosmos in front of a worldwide television audience when Pele made his North American debut.
This December 28, 1984 home match was a historical game in retrospect.
After a week off since a home win against Pittsburgh, the well-rested Wings were ready for a match-up against another MISL newcomer, the New York Cosmos. The Cosmos, of course, were a famous NASL team in the late 1970′s after having procured the services of Pele, Franz Beckenbauer and Giorgio Chinaglia. By 1977 it could be argued that the Cosmos were as famous as the Reggie Jackson-led New York Yankees.
By 1984, though, the NASL was nearly out of business and the Cosmos franchise was a shell of its once great self. Attempting to keep itself afloat, the Cosmos joined the Major Indoor Soccer League, which by then was the premiere professional soccer league in the country. Though the Cosmos still boasted some respectable players (including Chinaglia , who officially occupied a roster spot despite only appearing in four games), they were no match for the MISL’s powerful clubs. On this night, Coach Turner’s prediction came true as the Wings won 7-5 in front of 9,518 at the Kansas Coliseum.
Less than two months later, the Cosmos ceased operations at the MISL All-Star Break on February 22, 1985. They left the MISL with an 11-22 record. Still, Wichita hosting the world famous New York Cosmos for one night was a historical and proud moment for the city’s soccer community.
Check out Michael Romalis’ Wichita Wings History site here. Highly recommended for old school MISL fans.