Pelé’s presence in the North American Soccer League gave the circuit something it had always lacked: credibility around the world. Suddenly, players who had thumbed their noses at the thought of playing in the United States were queuing up to join the league. As a result, there was a rash of top-quality signings not scene since the first American Soccer League’s heyday in the 1920s.
NASL teams, hoping that signing a Pelé-like superstar would boost attendance at home the same way Pelé’s presence had in 1975, opened their wallets like never before. Seattle Sounders signed English striker Geoff Hurst, who scored a hat trick in the 1966 World Cup final. Demonstrating a sharp eye and financial responsibility, Seattle acquired the star for a song. As Hurst was a free agent at the time, the Sounders were able to avoid the prohibitively expensive transfer fees that usually accompanied such signings. On the other hand, the fact that Hurst was unsigned at all demonstrated that most of the stars coming over to the NASL would be-for the most part-past their primes and not necessarily wanted at home.
Still, some players came over with their skills intact. Tampa Bay purchased flamboyant striker Rodney Marsh from Queens Park Rangers for $80,000. Toronto signed Eusebio away from Boston, and Chicago brought back John Kowalik, who had led the NASL in scoring in 1968 with the old Chicago Mustangs. Ward Lay dipped into the family potato chip fortune to sign former England captain Bobby Moore away from Fulham for San Antonio. Finally, Los Angeles-with new part-owner Elton John-succeeded where New York had failed a year earlier, signing the elusive George Best. However, it was interesting to note that Best, just shy of 30, was the youngest signing of the lot.
As with the previous year, however, most teams preferred to build from within the league. Significantly, New York’s first move to build a team worthy of Pelé’s talents was to acquire the league’s two best Americans. With the once-proud Philadelphia Atoms about to be sold to a Mexican consortium, the Cosmos were able to spirit away goalkeeper Bob Rigby and first-team all-star Bobby Smith for $100,000. Other Atoms found new homes, as well. Dallas hired former Atoms coach Al Miller to replace long-time manager Ron Newman, hoping to return the club to its former level of prominence. Former Atoms captain Derek Trevis moved on to become player-coach of the transplanted Baltimore franchise, now playing as San Diego Jaws. Another familiar face-Freddie Goodwin, last scene on U.S. shores coaching the New York Generals-returned to helm the NASL’s other franchise relocation, Minnesota (née Denver).
Prior to the season, the NASL staged its second-and last-indoor soccer tournament. Again following the regional/final four format, Tampa Bay avenged the prior year’s indoor defeat, and completed a unique double with its 1975 outdoor title by defeating Rochester, 6-4, for the title.
Once outdoors, the league got off to a great start. Seattle drew 58,128 fans to the new Kingdome for a pre-season exhibition against New York. Large crowds could be found throughout the season at a number of NASL grounds. New York averaged 18,226 per game at Yankee Stadium, while the Sounders proved they could bring people to the massive Kingdome by averaging 23,826 per match. Minnesota proved a pleasant surprise at the gate, averaging 23,117 per game, including 42,065 for its regular season finale. Overall, attendance was up by 38%, to 10,980 per game. Not everyone was successful, however: Philadelphia, Boston, Miami, Chicago, San Antonio and Hartford drew dismally. Particularly disheartening-and ominous, given the new popularity of the league-was the collapse of the Atoms and Toros, who had once been among the league’s attendance leaders. In light of the other club’s successes, however, any lessons about fickle fan bases and the “fad” nature of some of the sport’s new popularity were lost on NASL owners.
Another example of how far the league had to go was the collapse of the Boston club. Coach Hubert Vogelsinger had put together what was probably the strongest side in league history at that point: among the stars on the Minutemen roster were Portuguese legend Antonio Simones, ex-Bayern Munich midfielder Wolfgang Sunholtz, Geoff Davies, Shep Messing, and Ade Coker. After a healthy 6-4 start, however, owner John Sterge announced he was going broke, and threatened to fold the team up midseason unless he was allowed to sell off his club, leading to an embarrassing fire sale. Messing was the first to go, reacquired by New York to replace the injured Rigby. Then, Simones was sent to San Jose. Next, Sunholtz was sold to Vancouver, and then to Toronto, where he rejoined Eusebio. One-by-one they went: Coker to Minnesota, Davies to Chicago, defender Derek Jefferson to Washington. Finally, after making sure that all of his players went to the clubs they preferred, Vogelsinger himself jumped ship. By the end of the year, Boston was drawing crowds of 531, 986, and 583 to see the likes of such “immortals” as Derley Borges, Ermone Gomez, and Tony Forte. The Minutemen lost their final 12 matches.
At the other end of the financial spectrum was the New York Cosmos. Spending freely in order to build a team worthy of Pelé, the Cosmos acquired Northern Ireland international Dave Clemens and Peru international Ramon Miffin to go along with Rigby and Smith. Once the season began, however, the Cosmos pulled off a blockbuster deal, acquiring Italian superstar Giorgio Chinaglia from Lazio. In spite of all this talent, the club limped off to a 8-6 start under coach Ken Furphy. Furphy was soon replaced by his predecessor, Gordon Bradley, and Shep Messing was brought in to replace the injured Rigby. With the two returning figures, New York went 8-2 the rest of the way, but still could finish no better than second in the Eastern Conference, behind Tampa Bay.
Although the NASL was hardly a world-class league, it now had enough marquee talent to show itself off. In honor of the United States’ 200th birthday-and with an eye towards promoting the game-the United States Soccer Federation announced before the season that it would stage the Bicentennial Cup. National teams from Italy, England, and Brazil were invited to come to the U.S. in May to face Team America-the best of the NASL. A mere five years earlier, an American all-star team including Pelé, Mike England, Giorgio Chinaglia and other international stars was unthinkable. Now, as a testament to Phil Woosnam’s faith and perseverance, it was a reality. Even with stars such as George Best and Rodney Marsh taking a pass, the series was a success. Team America lost both of its matches, but the publicity generated by the series was far more important than on-the-field results.
As the quality of play continued to improve, a number of NASL greats made their final goodbye: Randy Horton (Hartford), Warren Archibald (Rochester), and Art Welch (San Diego) all capped brilliant careers. Finally, Pat McBride-the league’s first native-born star, and a survivor from the very beginning in 1967-called it a career after another fine season with St. Louis.
Ironically, just as McBride was exiting, a couple of other faces from the early days returned. Kowalik had a solid year with Chicago, scoring 9 goals. Along with Kowalik, two other familiar names could be found in goal. Phil Parkes, who starred with the United Soccer Association’s Los Angeles Wolves in 1967 and “guested” with Kansas City Spurs in 1969, returned to play goal for Vancouver. Bobby Clark, the ex-Scotland international who led the United Soccer Association in goals against average with Washington Whips in 1967, returned to suffer through a long summer with a mediocre San Antonio club, in spite of playing behind Bobby Moore, who would be named a first team NASL all-star.
Americans continued to distinguish themselves as goalkeepers, the importation of Parkes and Clark notwithstanding. Arnie Mausser, rescued from Hartford by Tampa Bay prior to the season, had an outstanding year for the Rowdies, and was named a first-team NASL all-star for his efforts. Incredibly, Rowdies coach Eddie Firmani released Mausser at the end of the season, instead preferring to go with returning English journeyman Paul Hammond. When asked to justify his incredible move, Firmani cited a principle that would be used against Americans the rest of the league’s days: “experience.” Indeed, many Americans found themselves riding the pine in favor of over-the-hill Britishers with more “experience.” Still, St. Louis’ Al Trost managed to score 12 goals for the still predominantly American Stars, Bobby Smith continued to star for the Cosmos, and Dallas defender Steve Pecher earned Rookie-of-the-Year honors for his play.
After an excellent and exciting regular season, the playoffs were almost anti-climactic. Poor scheduling resulted in the team’s two top teams, New York and Tampa Bay, facing each other in the second round. Although Tampa Bay won that match, they, in turn, were upset by the upstart Toronto club, who faced off against Minnesota in Soccer Bowl ’76. Over 25,000 came to Seattle’s Kingdome to watch the match, which found Toronto dismantling the Kicks, 3-0. Eusebio scored the first goal, and Boston refugee Sunholtz was the match MVP. In an attempt to avoid any stereotyping, TV commentator Jon Miller was forbidden by league officials from saying “Metros-Croatia” on the air.
Pelé was named the league’s Most Valuable Player, and it was not a “sympathy” choice: the Great One set a league record with 18 assists while finishing third in scoring. Cosmos teammate Giorgio Chinaglia won the first of many scoring titles, netting 19 goals in as many games. Tampa Bay’s Eddie Firmani was named Coach of the Year.
The NASL sponsored several tours this season and revived memories of the legendary tours of the 1940’s sponsored by the American Soccer League. The ASL may have brought over Liverpool three times, but the NASL got Manchester United who played Vancouver and Chicago to a pair of draws. Of course, they only brought part of their starting lineup with them. Meanwhile, Glasgow Rangers, who had undertaken three tours of the US in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s, toured the Northwest coast in late May, beating Portland, drawing with Vancouver and losing to Seattle, before stopping on their way home to play the Minnesota Kicks to a 2-2 draw . The New York Cosmos completed their second overseas tour in September. After a pair against Soccer Canada (a draw and a loss), they flew to Europe. there they went to noble defeat against two strong European clubs, Paris St. Germain and Antwerp, before continuing to the far east where they draw 0-0 against the Japan West all-stars and 2-2 against the Japan East all-stars. Two other notable games were the June 27 victory by Roma, 1-0 over the Rochester Lancers and the Vancouver Whitecaps’ 4-3 victory over Borussia Monchengladbach on July 27. these exhibitions were increasingly popular and would become much more frequent in future seasons.
Final NASL League Standings, 1976 Before the season, Denver moved to Minnesota, and Baltimore moved to San Diego. G W L GF GA PTS % Att. ATLANTIC CONFERENCE Northern Division Chicago Sting 24 15 9 52 32 132 .625 5,801 Toronto Metros-Croatia 24 15 9 38 30 123 .625 5,555 Rochester Lancers 24 13 11 36 32 114 .541 5,159 Hartford Bicentennials 24 12 12 37 56 107 .500 3,420 Boston Minutemen 24 7 17 35 64 72 .291 2,571 Eastern Division Tampa Bay Rowdies 24 18 6 58 30 154 .750 16,452 New York Cosmos 24 16 8 65 34 148 .666 18,227 Washington Diplomats 24 14 10 46 38 126 .583 6,011 Philadelphia Atoms 24 8 16 32 49 80 .333 5,912 Miami Toros 24 6 18 29 58 63 .250 3,070 PACIFIC CONFERENCE Western Division Minnesota Kicks 24 15 9 54 33 138 .625 23,121 Seattle Sounders 24 14 10 40 31 123 .583 23,828 Vancouver Whitecaps 24 14 10 38 30 120 .583 8,655 Portland Timbers 24 8 16 23 41 71 .333 20,515 St.Louis Stars 24 5 19 28 57 58 .208 6,150 Southern Division San Jose Earthquakes 24 14 10 47 30 123 .583 19,826 Dallas Tornado 24 13 11 44 45 117 .541 14,095 Los Angeles Aztecs 24 12 12 43 44 108 .500 8,027 San Antonio Thunder 24 12 12 38 32 107 .500 5,064 San Diego Jaws 24 9 15 29 47 82 .375 6,320 1st Round: New York defeated Washington 2-0 Toronto defeated Rochester 2-1 Dallas defeated Los Angeles 2-0 Seattle defeated Vancouver 1-0 Div. Championships: Tampa Bay defeated New York 3-1 Toronto defeated Chicago 3-2 San Jose defeated Dallas 2-0 Minnesota defeated Seattle 3-0 Conf. Championships: Toronto defeated Tampa Bay 2-0 Minnesota defeated San Jose 3-1 SOCCER BOWL-76: Toronto defeated Minnesota 3-0 After the season, Boston and Philadelphia folded. Leading Scorers GP G A TP Giorgio Chinaglia (New York) 19 19 11 49 Derek Smethurst (Tampa Bay) 24 20 5 45 Pelé (New York) 23 13 18 44 Mike Stojanovic (Rochester) 24 17 7 41 Alan Wiley (Minnesota) 23 16 7 39 George Best (Los Angeles) 23 15 7 37 Ilija Mitic (San Jose) 24 14 9 37 Eusebio (Toronto) 21 16 4 36 Ron Futcher (Minnesota) 20 14 6 34 Paul Child (San Jose) 23 13 8 34 Jeff Bourne (Dallas) 22 15 3 33 Rodney Marsh (Tampa Bay) 21 11 9 31 Bert Bowery (Boston) 24 11 8 30 Stewart Scullion (Tampa Bay) 24 10 10 30 Mark Liveric (San Jose) 20 10 9 29 Paul Cannell (Washington) 21 13 2 28 Gordon Wallace (Seattle) 21 12 4 28 Al Trost (St. Louis) 24 12 3 27 Harry Hood (San Antonio) 20 10 7 27 Vitor Moia (Rochester) 18 11 3 25 Jim Ryan (Dallas) 24 9 7 25 Clyde Best (Tampa Bay) 19 9 6 24 Brian Tinnion (New York) 20 8 6 22 Tony Field (New York) 23 7 8 22 Ivair Ferreira (Toronto) 22 6 10 22 John Kowalik (Chicago) 14 9 3 21 Ade Coker (Boston-Minnesota) 17 8 5 21 Gerry Ingram (Washington) 20 8 5 21 Geoff Hurst (Seattle) 23 8 4 20 Leading Goalkeepers (1365 mins. needed to qualify) Min Svs GA SO GAA Tony Chursky (Seattle) 1981 135 20 9 0.91 Mike Hewitt (San Jose) 1657 150 17 6 0.92 Paolo Cimpiel (Toronto) 2058 157 22 9 0.96 Arnie Mausser (Tampa Bay) 2162 201 28 6 1.17 Mervyn Cawston (Chicago) 2173 165 29 6 1.20 Phil Parkes (Vancouver) 1836 111 25 6 1.23 Shep Messing (Boston-NY) 1728 166 24 6 1.25 Bobby Clark (San Antonio) 1775 97 25 4 1.267 Geoff Barnett (Minnesota) 1984 115 28 7 1.270 Blagojec Tamindic (Roch.) 2184 157 31 4 1.28 Jim Cumbes (Portland) 2031 123 34 5 1.51 Eric Martin (Washington) 2193 153 37 5 1.52 Alan Mayer (San Diego) 2081 218 41 3 1.77 Rene Vizcaino (Philadelphia) 2069 202 41 4 1.78 Graham Horn (Los Angeles) 1406 94 29 3 1.856 Ken Cooper (Dallas) 2179 125 45 5 1.858 Eugene Van Taylor (Miami) 1455 138 31 3 1.92 Most Valuable Player: Pele, New York Cosmos Coach of the Year: Eddie Firmani, Tampa Bay Rowdies Rookie of the Year: Steve Pecher, Dallas Tornado NASL 1st All-Star Team: G - Arnie Mausser Tampa Bay Rowdies D - Bobby Moore San Antonio Thunder D - Mike England Seattle Sounders D - Tommy Smith Tampa Bay Rowdies D - Keith Eddy New York Cosmos M - Ramon Mifflin New York Cosmos M - Antonio Simoes Boston/San Jose M - Rodney Marsh Tampa Bay Rowdies F - George Best Los Angeles Aztecs F - Pele New York Cosmos F - Giorgio Chinaglia New York Cosmos
The American Soccer League entered its 43rd season as optimistic as it had ever been. After two years of planning, the league finally expanded to the West Coast, adding five teams: Los Angeles Skyhawks, Tacoma Tides, Sacramento Spirits, Oakland Buccaneers, and Utah Pioneers. Also, the New Jersey Americans replaced the old Brewers club. The league started its final comeback this year, losing only two teams while expanding nationwide. The legue continued Gene Chyzowych’s strategy of de-emphasizing foreign tours and committing to Americanizing the game. The league did not limit the number of foreign-born players on its rosters, but limited each team to importing no more than siz foreigners per season. Tours were also reduced because of lack of profitability and the reduced interest among top division European teams.
For the second year in a row, the ASL lost its leading goalkeeper to the North American Soccer League, as Rhode Island’s Brad Steurer decided he would rather sit the bench with Chicago Sting then star in the lower-paying league. Also, two-time MVP Ringo Cantillo jumped to the NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies. The ASL fought back this year, though. First, it placed two of its expansion teams in Tacoma and Oakland, hoping to siphon off support from the NASL’s phenomenally successful Seattle and San Jose franchises. More importantly, Los Angeles Skyhawks gave the league a measure of credibility by outbidding cross-town NASL rivals Los Angeles Aztecs for the number one pick in both the ASL and NASL draft, Brown’s Steve Ralbovsky.
With Ralbovsky living up to his reputation, the Skyhawks quickly established themselves as the class of the league. Led by coach Ron Newman, Los Angeles placed five players on the post-season all-star team, including leading goalkeeper Brian Parkinson and leading scorer Jim Hinch. The Skyhawks finished 13-2-6, which was good for 112 points under the new “Newman system”; borrowing (stealing?) from the NASL model, the ASL now awarded 5 points for a win, 2 points for a tie, and one bonus point per goal up to a maximum of three per match. In the East, New York Apollo continued to be the premier club. Not surprisingly, New York and Los Angeles faced off in the final. The Skyhawks won 2-1, making Newman the first coach to win championships in both the ASL and NASL. Hinch was named the league’s MVP, while Newman justifiably earned Coach of the Year honors. The Rookie of the Year award was shared by Ralbovsky and New Jersey’s John Roeslein.
An interesting footnote to the ASL season could be found between the pipes of two teams. Current U.S. Women’s National Team coach Tony DiCicco had another solid season with Rhode Island, and shared the league lead in shutouts with eight. Meanwhile, current U.S. Men’s National Team coach Bruce Arena made his professional debut as a backup with Tacoma. Although Arena had been drafted in 1973 by the NASL’s Cosmos, and was capped that same year with the U.S. National Team, Arena’s pro soccer debut had been delayed by his other career: starring with the Montreal Quebecois of the National Lacrosse League in 1974 and 1975. When the NLL folded in 1976, Arena returned to soccer. However, Arena retired as an active player once the Tides folded at the conclusion of the season.
Final ASL League Standings, 1976 Before the season, Los Angeles, Tacoma, Utah, Oakland and Sacramento were added. New Jersey changed their name to the Americans. G W T L GF GA PTS East Division New York Apollo 21 10 3 8 29 25 85 Rhode Island Oceaneers 21 9 3 9 31 23 82 Cleveland Cobras** 21 9 4 8 28 32 80 Chicago Cats 21 10 3 8 25 23 80 Connecticut Yankees 21 9 0 12 35 40 75 New Jersey Americans*** 21 6 4 11 26 38 63 West Division Los Angeles Skyhawks 21 13 2 6 41 15 112 Tacoma Tides 21 10 5 6 40 23 93 Utah Golden Spikers 20 10 3 7 28 22 84 Oakland Buccaneers 18 6 2 10 29 39 59 Sacramento Spirits 21 4 3 14 25 52 51 First Round at Tacoma Tacoma 2, Utah 1 at Pawtucket Rhode Island 2, Cleveland 1 at New York New York 2, Chicago 1 at L.A. Los Angeles 2, Oakland 1 Semifinals at New York New York 2, Rhode Island 1 at L.A. Los Angeles 2, Tacoma 1 Championship Game at L.A. Los Angeles 2, New York 1 Utah was known as the Pioneers for the first half of the season. After the season, Rhode Island, Chicago, Tacoma, Utah and Oakland folded. *ASL TP-5 pts. win, 2 pts. tie, 1 pt. for each goal up to a maximum of three per game, 0 pts. loss **Awarded third place by commissioner’s decision; also awarded 1-0 forfeit victory by Commissioner ***New team unrelated to New Jersey Brewers, who folded ****Played as Utah Pioneers first half of season Leading Scorers GP G A TP Jim Hinch (Los Angeles) 18 13 6 32 Jose Neto (Rhode Island) 19 13 2 28 Vic Calabrese (Connecticut) 21 12 2 26 Jim Rolland (Los Angeles) 21 11 4 26 David Chadwick (Tacoma) 17 9 8 26 Gerald Hylkema (Oakland) 18 10 4 24 Roberto Oliviera (Cleveland) 20 10 3 23 Vito Colonna (Cleveland) 20 9 4 22 Jan Klosek (Connecticut) 20 6 7 19 Otey Cannon (Sacramento) 19 8 2 18 Tony Douglas (Utah) 17 7 4 18 Kevin Kiernan (New Jersey) 21 6 6 18 Franco Chirinos (Oakland) 18 7 3 17 Pepe Fernandez (Tacoma) 12 7 1 15 John Roeslein (New Jersey) 20 7 1 15 Theo Nahorski (New York) 21 6 2 14 Windsor Del Llano (Tacoma) 21 5 4 14 Joe Kawalzyck (Connecticut) 18 5 3 13 Mike Paparigas (New York) 21 4 5 13 Mario Garcia (New York) 17 6 0 12 Charlie Myers (Tacoma) 20 6 0 12 Leading Goalkeepers (1000 mins. needed to qualify) Min Svs GA SO GAA Brian Parkinson (L.A.) 1429 81 11 8 0.70 Chris Swain (Chicago) 1570 135 16 7 0.917 Jamil Canal (Tacoma) 1072 70 11 4 0.923 Gerard Joseph (New York) 1444 130 15 6 0.94 Peter Thomas (Utah) 1870 123 22 8 1.058 Tony DiCicco (Rhode Island) 1950 157 23 8 1.061 Paul Chymovic (Cleveland) 1557 146 23 6 1.33 Greg Lamb (Connecticut) 1053 114 19 0 1.62 Woody Hartman (N.J.) 1665 191 32 3 1.73 Gary Allison (Sacremento) 1809 145 45 3 2.24 Most Valuable Player: Jimmy Hinch, Los Angeles Syhawks Coach of the Year Ron Newman, Los Angeles Skyhawks Rookie of the Year: John Roeslein, New Jersey Americans
The US National Team
Unable to lure a world-class foreign coach to these shores, the United States Soccer Federation hired Walter Chyzowich to man the national team. Chyzowich – a legendary ASL star and hub of the 1960s Philadelphia Ukes Open Cup champions—was given the daunting task of preparing his club for qualifying matches for the 1978 World Cup.
Team Chyzowich got off to an inauspicious start, drawing Canada 1-1 in Vancouver in September. A surprising 0-0 draw with Mexico a week later gave the U.S. some optimism, but they were promptly brought back to Earth two weeks later with a 3-0 drubbing at the hands of the Tricolores in Mexico. On October 20, a mere five days after the Mexico match, the U.S. surprised Canada 2-0, behind goals from Julie Veee and Miro Rys. After all of the qualifying matches, Mexico was in first, with the U.S. and Canada tied for second. As a result, a playoff for second place was scheduled for December 22 in Haiti.
Chyzowich took his team to Haiti a month before the match, and played the Haitian National Team in a three-game friendly series. Defensively, the U.S. appeared solid–Arnie Mausser had been manning the nets throughout qualifying, and played two out of the three games in the Haiti series (Alan Mayer played the third). Also, Bobby Smith and Alex Skotarek were on good form. However, the U.S. could not put the ball in the back of the net. A number of forwards–Fred Grgurev, Boris Bandov, Julie Veee, Mike Flater, and others–were tried, but no true finisher emerged. Not surprisingly, the three Haiti-U.S. matches were 0-0 draws.
The lack of offense came back to haunt the U.S. versus Canada. NASL vets Brian Budd and Bobby Lenarduzzi scored for the red-and-white, and Canada put a third past Mausser to win 3-0. Once again, the U.S. would have the view a World Cup final round as a non-participant. The 1978 World Cup, held in Argentina, was won by the host country as Argentina defeated Holland 3-1 in the final.
One major bright point for the US was the CONCACAF U-20 championship. The U.S. was able to put together a good enough performance to win their division and advance to the semifinals. They lost there but were able to win the consolation game and take 3rd place. Mexico beat Honduras 4-3 in the final.
USA National Team Results 1976 Totals: 1 win, 5 draws, 2 losses ======================================================================= Dec 22 76 L 0-3 Canada Port au Prince, Haiti (WCQ'78) Nov 14 76 D 0-0 Haiti Port au Prince, Haiti Nov 12 76 D 0-0 Haiti Port au Prince, Haiti Nov 10 76 D 0-0 Haiti Port au Prince, Haiti Oct 20 76 W 2-0 Canada Seattle, WA, USA (WCQ'78) Rys, Veee Oct 15 76 L 0-3 Mexico Puebla, Mexico (WCQ'78) Oct 03 76 D 0-0 Mexico Los Angeles, CA, USA (WCQ'78) Sep 24 76 D 1-1 Canada Vancouver, BC, USA (WCQ'78) Bandov
The Bicentennial Cup
For the American Bicentennial celebrations, the USSF organized a soccer tournament with three of the strongest national teams in the world: Brazil, Italy and England. It was intended to promote the game to the American audiences at large at a national level, and could have been called a Mini-World Cup: The Brazilians had won the cup three times, the Italians twice and England once. These three teams would compete against what was basically a NASL all-star team, called “Team America”. This was treated as a major event both in the United states and among the world press; over 500 media reporters covered the event.
Team America was a fairly accurate representation of the NASL at the time: A mix ov over-age foreign stars, some naturalized American citizens and a few token native born players. The players, hailing from 12 countries, included Pele, George Best, Bobby Moore, Rodney Marsh, Dave Clements and Giorgio Chinaglia. The Americans were goalkeepers Arnie Mausser and Bob Rigby, along with Bobby Smith and Peter Chandler. the naturalized citizens included Ju;lius (Julie) Veee, Steve David, John kowalski, Alex Skotarek and Hank Liotart. In a typical spate of last minute politicking, George Best and Rodney Marsh demanded that they start all three games; when coach Ken Furphy refused, they walked.
The tournament opened before 33,000 spectators in Washington DC as The US took to the field against Italy. The team played as one would expect from a soccer team that had been assembled at the last minute: Haphazard and disorganized, America was swamped by Italy 4-0. Their second game, in Seattle against Brazil was much more respectable; Only losing 2-0 against a world class competitor, the US kept in the game until the end. Their best performance was May 31 against England in Philadelphia Stewart Scullion scored Team America’s only goal of the tournament as England took the game 3-1.
Despite their beleagured performance, Team America did give an accurate picture of the current status of the American team. Potential, but much work to be done. The Tournament as a whole was a major success. Crowds were large and enthusiastic, averaging over 45,000 and press coverage was favorable both here and abroad.
International Club Tours
Tampa Bay Rowdies January 13, 1976 - January 19, 1976. Record: 2 wins, 1 loss, 1 draw 1/13/76 Tampa Bay Rowdies 1 at Haitian National Team 1 1/15/76 Tampa Bay Rowdies 0 at Haitian National Team 1 1/17/76 Tampa Bay Rowdies 4 at Racing Club (Haiti) 1 1/19/76 Tampa Bay Rowdies 2 at Victory Club (Haiti) 1 Glasgow Rangers May 18, 1976 - May 26, 1976. Record: 1 wins, 1 loss, 2 draws 5/18/76 Glasgow Rangers (Scotland) 2 at Vancouver Whitecaps 2 5/22/76 Glasgow Rangers (Scotland) 0 at Seattle Sounders 1 5/23/76 Glasgow Rangers (Scotland) 2 at Portland Timbers 1 5/26/76 Glasgow Rangers (Scotland) 2 at Minnesota Kicks 2 Manchester United (Italy Serie 'A') May 25, 1976 - May 26, 1976. Record: 0 wins, 0 losses, 2 draws 5/25/76 Manchester United 0 at Vancouver Whitecaps 0 5/26/76 Manchester United 2 at Chicago Sting 2 New York Cosmos September 8, 1976 - September 25, 1976. Record: 0 wins, 3 losses, 3 draws 9/8/76 New York Cosmos 1 at Soccer Canada 1 in Edmonton 9/10/76 New York Cosmos 1 at Soccer Canada 3 in Vancouver 9/14/76 New York Cosmos 1 at Paris St.-Germain (France) 3 9/16/76 New York Cosmos 1 at Antwerp (Belgium) 3 9/23/76 New York Cosmos 0 at West Japan All-Stars 0 in Kobe 9/25/76 New York Cosmos 2 at East Japan All-Stars 2 in Tokyo Cork Hibernians of Ireland May 13, 1976 through June 11, 1976. Record: 3 wins, 1 draw, 6 losses 5/19/76 Cork 1, New Jersey Americans (ASL II) 3 5/21/76 Cork 1, New York United (ASL II) 1 5/22/76 Cork 1, Rhode Island Oceaneers (ASL II) 3 5/27/76 Cork 0, Utah Golden Spikers (ASL II) 2 5/29/76 Cork 0, Los Angeles Skyhawks (ASL II) 4 5/31/76 Cork 4, Sacramento Spirits (ASL II) 0 7/4/76 Cork 2, Tacoma Tides (ASL II) 3 (OT) 6/6/76 Cork 5, Golden Bay Buccaneers (ASL II) 3 6/8/76 Cork 3, Cleveland Conbras (ASL II) 2 6/9/76 Cork 1, Chicago Cats 2 6/11/76 Cork 4, Connecticut Yankees 3 (OT)
In the NCAA Division 1 Tournament, 3rd round action saw Hartwick defeat Connecticut 2-1, Indiana defeated SIU-Edwardsville 1-0, Clemson defeated Philadelphia Textile 3-2, and San Francisco defeated San Jose State 5-0. In the semifinals, Indiana defeated Hartwick 2-1, and San Francisco defeated Clemson 3-2. The Championship was held in Philadelphia on December 5. In the 3rd place game, Hartwick defeated Clemson 4-3. In the championship, San Francisco defeated Indiana 1-0.
In the NCAA Division 2 tournament, 3rd round action saw New Haven defeat Southern Connecticut 1-0 (quadruple overtime), Missouri-St. Louis defeated Western Illinois 2-1 (OT), Loyola (MD) defeated Rolins 1-0, and Cal State Chico defeated UC Davis 2-1 (double ovrtime). In the semifinals, New Haven defeated Missouri-St. Louis 2-1 (double ovrtime), and Loyola (MD) defeated Cal State Chico 3-2. The championship was held in Seattle, WA on November 28. In the third place game, Cal State Chico defeated Missouri-St. Louis 3-2 (double overtime, penalty kicks). In the Championship, Loyola (MD) defeated New Haven 2-0.
In the NCAA Division 3 tournament, 3rd round action saw Brandeis defeat Worcester Tech 6-5 (double overtime), Elizabethtown defeated Grove City 3-1, MacMurray defeated Wheaton IL 2-1 (OT), and Brockport State defeated Cortland State 3-2 (OT). In the semifinals, Brandeis defeated Elizabethtown 3-2 (double overtime), and Brockport State defeated MacMurray 1-0. The championship was held in Elizabethtown NY on November 27. In the third place game, Elizabethtown defeated MacMurray 2-1, and in the championship, Brandeis defeated Brockport State 2-1 (double overtime).
NAIA Championship: Simon Fraser 1, Rockhurst 0
NJCAA Championship: Meramec Community College 3, Mercer County Comm. Coll. 2
NCCAA Championship: Bryan 2, Grace 1
Coaches' Final Poll: 1. San Francisco 2. Indiana 3. Hartwick 4. Clemson 5. Philadelphia Textile 6. Loyola (MD) 7. Connecticut 8. SIU-Edwardsville 9. Quincy 10. Brown Conference Champions: Pacific Soccer Conference: San Francisco New England Intercollegiate Soccer League: Connecticut Ivy League: Brown Metropolitan Intercollegiate Soccer Conference: St. Francis Atlantic Coast Conference: Clemson New York State Athletic Conference: Brockport Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate League: Air Force Southern Conference: William & Mary Mason-Dixon Conference: Loyola Texas Intercollegiate League: North Texas State Yankee Conference: Connecticut Virginia Intercollegiate Soccer Conference: Lynchburg Far Western Conference: Hayward State Carolinas Conference: High point Massachusetts State Conference: Westfield State New jersey State Conference: Trenton State Pennsylvania Conference: East Stroudsburg Kentucky Conference: Ashbury Presidents Athletic Conference: Bethany Independent College Athletic Conference: St. Lawrence Tennessee Conference: Tenn Weslayen Michigan Intercollegiate Conference: Valcin Minnesota Intercollegiate Conference: St. John's West Virginia Conference: Davis & Elkins Northwest Conference: Davis & Elkins Northwest Conference: Washington Midwest Conference: Lake Forest Southern California Athletic Conference: Pomona-Pitzer Middle Atlantic States Athletic Conference: Scranton College All-Americans: G - Dragan Radovich, St. Francis (NY) B - Greg Makowski, SIU-Edwardsville B - George Gorleku, Eastern Illinois B - Paul Hunter, Connecticut B - Carl Christensen, Vermont B - Glenn Myernick, Hartwick F - George Nanchoff, Akron F - Louis Nanchoff, Akron F - Ty Keough, St. Louis F - Andy Atuegbu, San Francisco F - Fred Pereira, Brown Hermann Trophy: Glenn Myernick, Hartwick NSCAA Coach of the Year: Jerry Yeagley, Indiana
1976 National Amateur Cup Final: Milwaukee Bavarian defeated Trenton Extension 3-2.
James P. McGuire (National Junior) Cup: Annandale (Va) Boys Club Cavalier
CONCACAF Champions Cup: New York Inter-Giuliana took part but did not advance. Águila (El Salvador) defeated Robin Hood (Suriname) for the title.
CONCACAF U-20 Championship: U. S. finished in third place. Mexico beat Honduras 4-3 in the final.
German-American Soccer League (NYC) champion: Inter-Giuliana S. C.
National Soccer Hall of Fame: In a banner year, 1976, Bob Annis, Walter Bahr, Frank Borghi, Charlie Colombo, Geoff Coombes, Bob Craddock, Joe Gaetjens, Gino Gardassanich, Harry Keough, Jseph Maca, Gino Pariani, John “Clarkie” Souza, Ed Souza, Frank Wallace, and Adam Wolanin were inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Also, Raymond Bernabei was inducted into the National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association hall of fame.