This was the year for American Soccer. Many years of organizational efforts on the part of the USSF paid off with an enormously successful World Cup competition which brought unprecedented publicity for soccer to the United States fans and media. The US put on an impressive tournament that, even if it didn’t win over all of the skeptics in the rest of the world, at least demonstrated that the US was no longer to be taken lightly. More importantly, it reinforced the statement made by the 1984 Olympic competition, that given a good reason, fans will come out en masse to support soccer in the States. Meanwhile, following this success, organizational efforts got into full swing among Alan Rothenberg’s investment groups towards establishing a Division 1 soccer league, Major League Soccer. Among the first tasks at hand: determining the organizational structure of the league, attracting investor capital and securing a television contract.
Meanwhile, the 2nd division American Professional Soccer League consolidated its position through expansion and improvement of player contracts, and the United States Interregional Soccer League expanded its grass roots development effort, creating a true nationwide league of teams, and establishing professional and amateur divisions, to provide support for developing the talent of younger players. The major challenge for the USSF after the World Cup was to channel the windfall of financial and publicity-related success of the Cup into a constructive effort to develop the game to the next level, and create a National Team that could successfuly compete with the best of the rest. This task would not be easy, as the many parties involved were often at odds, both over organizational philosophy (Major League’s single entity concept vs. the APSL’s team franchises), relationship with USSF (The USSF’s developmental team vs. national team players in the APSL), even type of game (Indoor vs. outdoor), and recruitment of new talent (NCAA vs. ODP). This doesn’t even get into the rival youth soccer development philosophies, as held by the US Youth Soccer and AYSO and the ODP.
Given the many opposing views and the myriad of often antagonistic groups involved, it is understandable that people would throw up their hands in despair when contemplating the future of soccer in the United States. It was often not a pretty sight, especially when Major League Soccer delayed their original spring 1995 start date to 1996. But it is important to realize that these kind of problems had always existed among the higher echelons of American Soccer. In years past, the tug of war was between the local amateur leagues, the professional leagues and the national program. Now it was between indoor leagues, outdoor leagues, the colleges, and the national teams. But the march of time had witnessed a number of positive developments that provided hope that the powers involved would finally put aside their differences and finally work together for the good of the game.
The growth of soccer on many fronts was simply enormous. Youth soccer had been booming since the early 1970’s. Many people who were attracted to the game as youngsters in the days of Pele and the NASL were now adult enthusiasts who were bringing their own children into the fold. College soccer was seeing a similar growth. The overall talent level was much higher and broader. Americans were for the first time gaining spots en masse in European leagues. The National Team could actually compete! The only piece missing was a strong national league. The foundation had been laid with the ever expanding USISL. The APSL had just received official Division 2 sanctioning by the USSF. The USISL this year got Division 3 sanctioning by the USSF. And Major league Soccer was in the works to fill in that last missing piece of the puzzle at the top. Its goals were no less than to become the fifth major sports league in the US along with Major League Baseball, NFL, NBA and NHL. To top it off, the success of the World Cup brought the game to millions of fans in the US creating a potential market for MLS to tap when it finally launched.
The biggest sporting event in the world, the World Cup, came to American soil for the first time in 1994. It provided an unprecedented showcase, not only to re-introduce soccer to the American audience, but also to present the United States to the rest of the soccer world as a serious soccer nation. Although a lot of hype was unavoidable, much of it was justified as the organizers defied worldwide skepticism and put on an event which exceeded all expectations, on the field, at the gate and on the screen. Claims of this being the best World Cup ever were farfetched, but the competition was a very good one indeed, despite a disappointing scoreless final which went into penalty kicks. From an organizational viewpoint, the claims were more realistic.
The competition attracted an unprecedented 3,600,000 spectators at a record 67,000 per game, and competition went smoothly, with none of the hooliganism or violence expected by the American critics. More importantly, the United States team didn’t embarrass itself. In fact, it performed much better than expected, making it through a tough first round pool, and holding #1 Brazil to a scoreless tie through most of their 2nd round game.
The World Cup organizers had to select venues that would provide large stadiums meeting FIFA requirements with a minimum of renovation costs. This was not an easy task. The United States had no large soccer-specific stadiums; many were designed for baseball, or multi-sport activities. Many had artificial turf, not acceptable to FIFA. Many football stadiums were too narrow. Ultimately, nine stadiums were selected: Foxboro Stadium near Boston, Giants Stadium, near New York City, R.F.K. Stadium in Washington, Soldiers Field in Chicago, the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, the Rose Bowl, near Los Angeles, Stanford Stadium, near San Francisco, and the Pontiac Silverdome, near Detroit. This selection placed World Cup games in the three largest metropolitan areas as well as the Nation’s Capital, mostly in football stadiums. With a couple of concessions by FIFA (including a narrow field in Giants Stadium), the renovations were kept to a minimum, with the most extensive being approximately seven million dollars to modernize and expand the Cotton Bowl. Three artificial playing surfaces were taken care of: Cotton Bowl converted to grass, and temporary grass fields were placed in Giants Stadium (showing it was feasible for the future MLS tenant), and the Silverdome (showing it was feasible indoors).
The qualifying tournament was an exhausting affair, with most of the world powers qualifying (the major exceptions being England and France, who had been awarded the 1998 Cup). The pool competition consisted of six divisions, with top seeds going to Brazil, Germany, Argentina, Italy and Belgium. The US also was seeded #1, and although that was questionable, it did mean the US wouldn’t have to face a top power in the round-robin. Brazil was now seen as the favorite, despite not having won the Cup since 1970, but it was full of world stars at their prime, and was especially strong in defense with the likes of Jorginho, Riccardo Gomes and goalie Claudio Taffarel. The team also boasted Romario, Leonardo, and Bebeto, one of the best scoring tandems in the world.
The competition for the Americans began with a grueling 1-1 draw with Switzerland on June 18, 1994 in Pontiac, MI. The tie was accomplished by a spectacular free kick by Eric Wynalda in the 45th minute. The US held on through a relentless attack by the Swiss to take the draw. A loss at this point could have been disastrous for the US, despite the fact that the top two teams in each group would advance to the round of 16, along with wild-card teams.
What people didn’t see was a sub-par performance by highly regarded Colombia, embarrassed by Romania 3-1 on the same day in the Rose Bowl, at Pasadena. Romania had allowed Colombia to control the midfield, while concentrating on defense, and counterattacking effectively when the chances came. On June 22, the US played Colombia at Pasadena. Once again, Colombia controlled the midfield, while the US with its quick defensive wings, forced the Colombians to attack up the middle, where they were controlled by Alexi Lalas and Marcelo Balboa. After an early scare in which Balboa had to clear a Colombian shot out of the goalmouth, the US went ahead in the 35th minute when a low cross by John Harkes was footed by Andres Escobar past their goalkeeper into their own net. This goal turned the fortunes around for the Americans, but led to tragedy for Colombia after their elimination when Escobar was murdered back home by an enraged fan. The US nearly scored again off an great kick by Alexi Lalas, but that had been called back by a debatable call. But in the 52nd minute, Tab Ramos fired a shot through the defenses to Ernie Stewart who tapped the ball into the corner of the net. The US continued to suffocate the Colombian strikers, only allowing a single goal late in the game. In the closing minutes, Balboa launched an incredible bicycle kick which missed the post by inches, but the US took away the upset victory in one of the biggest matches in the history of American soccer.
At this point, the US only needed one more point to be assured a place in the round of sixteen. Due to a recent US-sponsored rule change, victories in pool play were worth 3 points instead of two. They did not get it with their third game, against Romania in Pasadena in the middle of a scorching heat wave. This game was seen by more than 93,000 spectators, the largest crowd ever to watch the US on home soil. The US was effective on defense in this June 26 game, but the offense had lost its focus, and Romania’s devastating counterattack was enough for Romania to score an amazing goal, off an excellent series of passes right through the US defense. They brought the ball down the left side, switching the attack to the right in a matter of seconds, culminating in the Dan Petrescu goal past Tony Meola, and the US lost 0-1. At this point, the Americans had to wait for two days to see whether they could gain a wild-card berth. They finally got the berth when Colombia lost their final game, but as a lowly wild-card the Americans were paired up against #1 Brazil in the second round.
The game against Brazil, on July 4, 1994, was the match that caught the nation’s attention. A victory against Brazil, who had easily defeated the US in every previous game (except for one that was not a full international), would have been unprecedented, and in the World Cup would have created a national crisis down in Brazil. The game was anticipated with excitement that riveted the nation, and on that hot Independence Day match, the red, white and blue was in abundance throughout the stadium. Never before had such a large pro-USA crowd gathered to cheer the team, which often played home matches in stadiums full of fans cheering for the visitors. For this game, Milutinovic employed his suffocating defense, seeing little chance at playing successfully against Brazil on their own terms.
The best the US could hope for was to hold the game scoreless and hope for luck in a round of penalty kicks. They nearly got their wish, as the US held the game scoreless well into the second half, despite losing John Harkes, (out due to yellow cards), Claudio Reyna (injured) and Tab Ramos, who was injured by an elbow off of Leonardo. Although the Americans had a 1 player advantage due to Leonardo’s red card, they were hopelessly overmatched by the Brazilian strikers, and in the 67th minute, a blazing Romario run up the middle drew the defense out of position, and he shot the ball to Bebeto on the right, who shot it right through an opening at the far post. The US run was ended, but it had been more successful than expected, and gave the Americans much to cheer about.
The rest of the World Cup provided some excellent matchups, including a stunning upset of defending champion Germany by Bulgaria who came from behind to pull out a 2-1 victory off of goals by Stoichkov and Letchkov. Sweden gave Brazil a run for the money in their quarterfinal matchup, holding them scoreless until the 81st minute. The final was a rematch of the storied 1970 final, matching Italy and Brazil. By this time, the heat and exhaustion plagued both teams, and the final was an exhausting 0-0 draw between two evenly matched sides, going through two overtime periods to no avail, and finally to penalty kicks. The match itself was more impressive than it looked, both teams putting up strong defense against relentless attacks. No one was going conservative this time. The game went into penalty kicks, the first time ever for the Cup finals. The final strike, sent by Baggio right over the goal, and into the stands, was quite the anticlimax.
Although the end was disappointing, the tournament was everything the USSF could have wished for, and was an excellent springboard for launching the US program to the next level. The games also made a substantial profit which was put into an endowment with the profits to be distributed annually to worthy soccer causes on an annual basis.
With the World Cup consuming most of its time, the USSF was also able to make substantial headway in laying out the foundation of the new Division 1 league that would bring top-flight professional soccer back to the US for the first time since the demise of the NASL. Mindful of the NASL’s misguided operating strategies, the MLS board determined not to make the same mistake. They aimed to accomplish this by (1) keeping finances and salaries under control, (2) promote the development of American players, (3) provide a stable financial base for the league through investment and sponsorships, (4) secure decent media coverage, both print, radio and television, and (5) establish a high level of competition to facilitate the development of National Team players.
To accomplish these goals, the league established a unique “single-entity” structure, where the teams and player contracts are all owned by the league. Salaries, contracts and player allocations would be made by the league, with consultation by team general managers. The league would be backed by owner-investors who contributed a multimillion dollar investment, and were made the operator of a team. Salaries were be subject to a strict salary cap, to keep costs manageable, and a strict limit on foreigners (5 per team) were established, to insure sufficient playing time for American players. The league would also sign “marquee” players, mostly members of the National Team or foreign stars, who would be placed evenly on rosters to maintain parity. These players would receive endorsement contracts and other financial considerations not subject to the salary limit. Most importantly, on March 24, the league secured an impressive television contract with ABS, ESPN and ESPN2, guaranteeing at least 32 games for the first season. This problem the NASL was never able to overcome, getting decent television coverage. The ultimate philosophy was to start the league at a fiscally conservative level with a solid base and reserves, and build it up as revenues allowed, not spending big bucks to get famous players and an expensive media splash. There were a myriad of challenges to get the league off the ground, no cities were selected as of 1994, and finding suitable stadiums would be a major headache, tempered somewhat by the renovations done for the World Cup.
In January, at a MLS Bidders Conference, the guidelines were laid out for investor groups representing 29 communities that were interested in bidding for teams. The requirements included minimum financial investments, ticket deposit sales, establishment of local training facilities and the securing of stadium leases. By May 18, 22 cities had submitted formal bids for MLS teams. In July, Nike and Reebok were signed as uniform suppliers and sponsors, followed by Adidas as footwear sponsor and Mitre as ball supplier. In June, MLS announced the first seven teams for the league, with 3-5 more to follow. The seven were Boston, Columbus, Los Angeles, New Jersey, New York (Long Island), San Jose and Washington DC.
Work had only begun on securing major investors and sponsors, which needed to be done before the league could even think about signing players. Therefore, they took the major step of pushing the first season back to 1996. Although many took that as a sign of problems, Rothenberg saw that the league simply wasn’t ready, and decided it would be better to take the hit now, and risk losing some of the momentum gained by the World Cup, in exchange for having a much more solid and established program in place, one year later. In retrospect, the decision paid off, and a much stronger MLS finally took to the field in April 1996.
The American Professional Soccer League attained official Division II status this year, and solidified itself as the top professional league in the country, at least until the debut of MLS. They added a new team, the Seattle Sounders, who took their name from their old NASL counterpart. This team was a good addition, being in a major soccer market with an established history of community support. The 1994 season was one of the best ever, with competitive races and an expanded playoff series, with the two-leg series replacing the one-game knockout competition. With the completion of the World Cup, and the disbanding of the USSF’s full-time training program, several national team players signed with APSL clubs, including Hugo Perez with the Los Angeles Salsa. Even more would join for the 1995 season.
Even the best laid plans don’t turn out the way expected, and this year was no exception. The 6-4-2-0+3 scoring system was confusing, and led to three teams finishing 14 points apart in the standings, despite identical 12-8 records. Because wins, shootout wins, and overtime wins (and losses) were tabulated separately, the standings were confusing to read, and newspapers, without written reporting guidelines, were inconsistent in reporting scores. Standings could look substantially different from one newspaper to another, even affecting a team’s position in the table. This problem would be pervasive until all the leagues adopted a simpler 3-1-0 (shootout) system in 1996.
The expansion Seattle Sounders easily won the Commissioner’s Cup (for the regular season title), with Los Angeles, Montreal and Colorado following with their identical records. Fortunately, this did not lead to teams being unfairly left out of the playoffs (as would happen in 1995). However, the playoff system had severe problems of their own. The playoffs advanced teams based on total wins, not on aggregate score. This led to the amazing situation where both teams who scored more on aggregate, ended up losing their series in shootouts, because they had split their series. Colorado defeated Seattle 2-0, 1-4, and 1-0 (SO), and Montreal defeated Los Angeles 2-1, 0-3, 1-0 (SO). The Playoff Final was more straightforward, being a single game, which Montreal won in a tough 1-0 victory over Colorado. In post-season play, the Salsa tied Alianza of El Salvador 2-2 in the 1994 CONCACAF Champions Cup, but did not advance, as they had suffered a road loss to them the previous week.
Final APSL League Standings, 1994 Before the season, Seattle was added. Pd W L WN WE WS LN LE LS G+ G- GD Pts Seattle Sounders 20 14 6 14 0 0 4 1 1 38 16 +22 121 Los Angeles Salsa 20 12 8 10 1 1 5 1 2 36 22 +14 106 Montreal Impact 20 12 8 10 0 2 7 0 1 27 18 +9 93 Colorado Foxes 20 12 8 9 1 2 8 0 0 26 26 0 92 Ft Lauderdale Strikers 20 8 12 5 1 2 9 0 3 23 33 -10 72 Vancouver 86ers 20 7 13 6 0 1 11 1 1 25 41 -16 65 Toronto Rockets 20 5 15 5 0 0 15 0 0 14 33 -19 44 Semi-Finals: Colorado defeated Seattle 2-0, 1-4, 1-0 (SO). Montreal defeated Los Angeles, 2-1, 0-3, 1-0 (SO) FINAL: Montreal defeated Colorado, 1-0 After the season, Los Angeles, Ft. Lauderdale and Toronto folded. Leading Goal Scorers: G A Pts Paul Wright, Los Angeles 12 3 27 Paulinho (McLaren), Los Angeles 11 5 27 Chance Fry, Seattle 11 4 26 Jason Dunn, Seattle 10 3 23 Jean Harbor, Montreal 8 4 20 Dale Mitchell, Vancouver 5 9 19 Domenic Mobilio, Vancouver 7 3 17 Ted Eck, Colorado 6 4 16 Lloyd Barker, Montreal 6 1 13 Jason Farrell, Seattle 3 7 13 Shawn Medved, Seattle 1 11 13 David Hoggan, Seattle 5 11 13 Chad Ashton, Colorado 3 4 10 Walter Boyd, Colorado 4 Dino DiFlorio, Toronto 4 Goalkeeping Leaders: (Min 1000 minutes played) Min Svs GA GAA Marcus Hahnemann, Seattle 1262 66 8 0.57 Mike Littman, Los Angeles 1192 52 10 0.76 Pat Harrington, Montreal 1710 18 0.95 Mario Jimenez, Ft. Lauderdale 1155 14 1.09 Mark Dodd, Colorado 1560 19 1.00 Pat Onstad, Toronto 1800 19 1.00 Paul Dolan, Vancouver 1497 36 2.16 Jim St. Andre, Colo./Ft. Lau. 1078 26 2.17 Most Valuable Player: Paulinho, Los Angeles Salsa Coach of the Year: Alan Hinton, Seattle Sounders Rookie of the Year: Jason Dunn, Seattle Sounders APSL 1st All-Star Team: GK Marcus Hahnemann (Seattle) D Robin Fraser (Colorado) D Neil Megson (Seattle) D Danny Pena (Los Angeles) D Steve Trittschuh (Ft. Lauderdale) M Ted Eck (Colorado) M Shawn Medved (Seattle) M Dale Mitchell (Vancouver) M Paulinho (Los Angeles) F Paul Wright (Los Angeles) F Chance Fry (Seattle)
The United States Interregional Soccer League followed last year’s major expansion by an even larger one in 1994. The outdoor season almost doubled in size, from 43 to 72 teams, and saw numerous team moves and name changes. What the league lacked in stability, it made up for in coverage. With their expansion into the Midwest and Mountain states, the USISL now encompassed the entire nation outside of the Pacific Northwest.
With the rapidly growing roster of teams, major differences in organizational level and financial clout became apparent, so the league designated three of the eight divisions as amateur, with the remaining professional divisions having specific financial and salary requirements. The USISL also received USSF sanctioning as the official Division 3 league for the United States. Finally, the USISL committed to establishing the first nationwide women’s soccer league, dubbed the Nike “W” League, which would begin a full season in 1995. For 1994, a provisional schedule was played among approximately ten teams, with the championship being won by the Sacramento Storm.
As in previous seasons, a number of expansion teams were divisional champions, including the Louisville Thoroughbreds, Minnesota Thunder, Long Island Rough Riders, and Cocoa Expos. By now, many major metropolitan areas boasted USISL teams, including Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Detroit, St. Louis, New Orleans, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Baltimore, Washington, New York, Boston and Philadelphia. Although this would later turn out to be a questionable strategy (large city teams did not draw any better and were more expensive to operate), this move did establish the league with more visibility than it ever had previously. Attendance was taking off, with the El Paso Patriots leading the way with an impressive 3,800 per game. Expansion clubs Long Island and Columbus were close behind, and ten teams averaged at least 1,400 per game. The record game crowd was set when 10,149 attended at Minnesota for a game against regional rival Milwaukee on July 11, 1994.
By this time, the USISL was being utilized by FIFA as a practice ground for experimental rule changes. For 1994, these included a 60 minute countdown clock with stoppage for dead ball situations, blue cards (for individual fouls; five cards resulting in expulsion with substitution), kick-ins, a fifteen yard wall for free kicks, and bonus points (hence the 6-4-2-0+3 scoring system). Individual divisions also added other experiments, including larger goals (25.5 x 8.5 feet), short corner kicks to be taken from the intersection of the penalty area and the end line, 18 yards from the near goalpost, live shootouts (shooter 1 on 1 with goalkeeper, other players at midfield and can take part once referee whistles), modified free kicks after every 7th foul, etc.
Although it was useful to experiment with rules on a low-key level, this infuriated purist soccer fans in the States and added to the already confused professional scene, with each league having its own idiosyncrasies to the point the Newspapers couldn’t even be consistent in the team standings format. This provided ammunition from soccer skeptics and skepticism from international observers. A major worry among some fans was that Major League Soccer would be tempted to adopt some or all of these changes in an effort to “Americanize” the game, to appeal to NFL “Joe Sixpack” fans.
Once again, the divisional playoffs each decided a champion who would enter the “sizzling nine” championship, along with the defending league champion. This year, the “sizzling nine” was divided into three round-robin groups, with group winners and a wildcard proceeding to the Final Four. Greensboro, Dallas/Ft. Worth and Birmingham competed in the Greensboro Group, with Greensboro advancing after 6-1 and 8-2 trouncings of Birmingham and Dallas/Ft Worth respectively. In the Charlotte group, Charleston defeated Cocoa 4-2 and Chico 6-0 to advance, as did Minnesota in the Raleigh Group, after a 4-2 victory over Long Island and a 2-2 draw with Los Angeles, which was won by L.A. in a shootout.
The draw still stood in the group standings, and based on Los Angeles’s 4-10 goal differential and Minnesota’s defeat of Long island, (all three teams finished at 1-1), Minnesota got the pass, with Long Island qualifying as the wild card. The semifinals were straightforward by comparison, with Greensboro defeating Long Island 2-1 in overtime and Minnesota blanking Charleston 6-0. The Championship saw a closely fought 1-1 draw decided by the ubiquitous shootout.
Top Scorers: GP G Pts Chris Veselka, Austin 13 30 74 Richard Sharpe, Cocoa 15 33 72 Joey Kirk, Milwaukee 18 24 59 A. J. Jones, Texas 14 22 53 Brian McBride, Milwaukee 15 18 53 Manuel Lagos, Minnesota 17 18 45 Tony Sanneh, Milwaukee 17 14 42 Sal Mercado, El Paso 18 20 42 Sheilk N'Dure, Florida 18 17 41 Jason Haupt, Greensboro 18 15 40 Jeff Baicher, CCV Hydra 16 17 36 Leonel Suazo, Washington 12 17 34 Mark Weidner, Birmingham 16 34 Andrew Ziemer, North Bay 16 34 Leading Goalkeepers: (min 1,200 minutes) Min GA GAA Kyle Krpata, San Fran United 1350 12 0.80 Didier Menard, Cocoa 1222 11 0.81 Gerard Averill, Milwaukee 1627 17 0.94 Mike Compisi, Charleston 1440 15 0.94 Aiden Heaney, Greensboro 1260 17 1.21 Daryl Shore, Bimringham 1440 20 1.25 Josh Budde, Tulsa 1614 22 1.27 Steve Quiniones, Cape Cod 1595 24 1.35 Yi Mun, Silicon Valley 1358 23 1.52 Randi Dedini, North Bay 1350 24 1.60 Most Valuable Player: Manuel Lagos, Minnesota Thunder Coach of the Year: Tim Hankinson, Charleston Battery
USISL Women’s League
The USISL Started a Women’s League, with the full launch scheduled for 1995. This year, to prepare for the real event, eighteen teams were formed and played a few exhibition games with each other. Five were invited to the USWISL Women’s Finals in Trinity, NC. The Sacramento Storm defeated three teams by one goal margins, through the sweltering heat, and defeated the Greensboro 1-0 to win the tournament championship.
USISL Indoor Season
The 1993-94 indoor season saw the addition of the Toledo Twisters, with Baltimore, Greensboro and Tulsa joining the circuit from the outdoor league, to bring the league up to 14 teams. Greensboro withdrew early into the season and Toledo folded after 8 lopsided losses. The Atlanta Magic, en route to a league record 37 straight victories, won the Southeast Division, while newcomers Tulsa and Baltimore easily won their divisions. In the “Sizzling Four”, Atlanta and Chattanooga came out on top, while Baltimore and Tulsa proceeded to the 3rd-place game where Baltimore was victorious 2-1. In the championship, the Atlanta Magic won their 2nd cup over Chattanooga 8-3.
Final 1993-1994 USISL Indoor Standings: Before the season, Toledo was added. Texas became the Arsenal. GP W L GF GA PTS Northern Division Baltimore Bays 12 12 0 174 42 48 Richmond Kickers 12 7 5 70 70 28 Greensboro Dynamo 3 1 2 20 20 4 Toledo Twisters 8 0 8 23 117 0 Southeast Division Atlanta Magic 12 12 0 109 39 48 Chattanooga Express 12 8 4 82 69 32 Cocoa Expos 12 6 6 50 58 24 Orlando Lions 12 6 6 45 44 24 Knoxville Impact 12 5 7 85 82 20 Nashville Metros 12 1 11 54 120 4 South Central Division Tulsa Roughnecks 12 9 3 107 88 36 Texas Lightning 12 6 6 92 98 24 Oklahoma City Warriors 12 6 6 101 79 24 Texas Arsenal 12 3 9 57 92 12 Sizzlin' Four: Chattanooga defeated Baltimore 8-6. Atlanta defeated Tulsa 6-2 Baltimore defeated Tulsa 15-10 Atlanta defeated Chattanooga 11-3 3rd Place: Baltimore defeated Tulsa 2-1 FINAL: Atlanta defeated Chattanooga 8-3 After the season, Toledo and Texas folded. Leading Scorers: GP G PT Virgil Stevens, Tulsa 12 28 67 John Dugan, Richmond 7 24 61 Billy Ronson, Baltimore 11 16 61 Jason Maricle, Tulsa 12 18 59 Chris Hellenkamp, Atlanta 12 17 54 Joe Layfield, Baltimore 11 22 52 Willie Molano, Texas Light. 9 17 50 Matt Brences, Chattanooga 12 23 50 Rob Elliott, Baltimore 9 17 46 Caleb Suri, Atlanta 12 19 46 Leading Goalkeepers: Min GA GAA Yaro, Atlanta 688.5 37 3.22 Jason Wright, Baltimore 420 30 4.29 Wayne Hill, Orlando 383 33 5.17 Bill Twaite, Cocoa 480 42 5.25 Steve Myers, Oklahoma City 342.5 30 5.25 Phil Varricho, Texas Arsenal473 45 5.70 Christian Butler, Tulsa 533 58 6.53 "Sizzling Four" Most Valuable Player: Brian Moore, Atlanta Magic Top Scorer: Virgil Stevens, Tulsa Roughnecks Coach of the year: Charlie Morgan, Atlanta Magic Rookie of the year: Billy Ronson, Baltimore Bays
Building on the success of the previous season, the NPSL, celebrating its tenth anniversary, made no franchise changes, outside of dropping the hapless Denver Thunder. Attendance rose to 5,722 per game, and best of all, the league inked a new television contract with ESPN. The regular season saw the top four teams in the American Division finish in their same spots this year, with Baltimore taking their divisional title by three games. In the National Division, the St. Louis Ambush took the crown after a close race with the Detroit Rockers who had switched divisions. Meanwhile, Zoran Karic set a new scoring record with an unprecedented 267 points for the season, a record he would hold for the duration of the century. Cleveland Crunch, on their way back to championship form, set a team scoring record with 717 points.
The playoffs began with a major upset, as American Division champ Baltimore was upset by 4th place Harrisburg, 21-9 and 13-7. Cleveland defeated Buffalo 24-16, 12-16 and 13-8, while favored Detroit and St. Louis both defeated their rivals setting up semis between Harrisburg and Cleveland, and St. Louis with Detroit. The Ambush easily defeated Detroit 16-7 and 15-10, while Cleveland had a harder time of it, going 13-14, 15-10, and 21-10 before advancing to the finals. The championship was a tough affair. The Cleveland Crunch, anxious to avenge their previous season’s loss, rallied from a first game flop (6-26) to beat the St. Louis Ambush 21-14, and then whomp them 29-8, before fighting to a 15-15 draw which went into double overtime before the Crunch finally landed a two-pointer, to take back the NPSL Championship Cup 17-15.
Final NPSL League Standings, 1993-1994 G W L % GB GF GA American Division Baltimore Spirit 40 26 14 .650 -- 594 553 Cleveland Crunch 40 23 17 .575 3 717 613 Buffalo Blizzard 40 19 21 .475 7 499 515 Harrisburg Heat 40 19 21 .475 7 557 585 Canton Invaders 40 18 22 .450 8 537 593 Dayton Dynamo 40 15 25 .375 11 653 665 National Division St. Louis Ambush 40 25 15 .625 -- 676 566 Detroit Rockers 40 24 16 .600 1 575 577 Wichita Wings 40 22 18 .550 3 598 572 Milwaukee Wave 40 20 20 .500 5 496 486 Chicago Power 40 15 25 .375 10 501 616 Kansas City Attack 40 14 26 .350 11 566 628 First Round Harrisburg defeated Baltimore 21-9, 13-7 Cleveland defeated Buffalo 24-16, 12-16, 13-8 St. Louis defeated Milwaukee 20-29, 12-8, 11-10 Detroit defeated Wichita 15-14, 19-16 Second Round Cleveland defeated Harrisburg 13-14, 15-10, 21-10 St. Louis defeated Detroit 16-7, 15-10 FINALS: Cleveland defeated St. Louis 6-26, 21-14, 29-8, 17-15(2OT) All-Star Game: 2/22/1994, at St. Louis. National Division 29, American Division 21 Leading scorers: GP G* A Pts Zoran Karic, Cleveland 36 85 104 267 Hector Marinaro, Cleveland 37 113 43 253 Andy Chapman, Detroit 38 83 31 178 David Doyle, St. Louis 38 75 42 175 Gino DiFlorio, Canton 34 67 31 159 Michael King, Milwaukee 39 58 46 158 Jon Parry, Kansas City 40 72 31 157 Franklin McIntosh, Harrisburg 39 47 55 151 Paul Wright, Baltimore 35 62 43 146 Dennis Brose, Dayton 28 68 22 145 Kevin Koetters, Kansas City 40 56 40 140 Dale Ervine, Wichita 38 62 22 139 Pato Margetic, Chicago 39 36 71 137 Tatu, Wichita 32 51 38 132 Michael Richardson, Chicago 40 50 28 131 *Includes 1 point, 2 point and 3 point goals. Leading Goalkeepers: (min. 1410 minutes) Min PA PAA W-L Victor Nogueira, Milwaukee 2170:50 404 11.17 20-18 Jamie Swanner, Buffalo 2202:37 437 11.90 19-19 Cris Vaccaro, Baltimore 1780:37 363 12.23 23-7 P. J. Johns, Canton 1597:44 360 13.52 13-14 Kris Peat, Wichita 2099:11 477 13.63 19-16 Bryan Finnerty, Detroit 2293:21 523 13.68 23-16 Jeff Robben, St. Louis 1682:54 385 13.73 18-9 Otto Orf, Cleveland 1422:22 347 14.43 15-8 Most Valuable Player: Zoran Karic, Cleveland Crunch Goalkeeper of the Year: Victor Nogueira, Milwaukee Wave Coach of the Year: Daryl Doran, St. Louis Ambush Defender of the Year: Sean Bowers, Detroit Rockers Rookie of the Year: Tarik Walker, Baltimore Spirit First All-NPSL Team: G - Victor Nogueira, Milwaukee D - Sean Bower, Detroit D - Terry Woodbury, Wichita F - Hector Marinaro, Cleveland F - Zoran Karic, Cleveland F - Andy Chapman, Detroit
The CISL was quite pleased with their first year performance. By playing in the summer they were able to avoid a costly bidding war with the NPSL and averaged almost 5,000 fans per game (Monterrey was playing in a temporary small location), not too far behind the NPSL. To draw the family crowd, they promoted the game with much razzmatazz, including fireworks displays, charging music throughout the play, live announcers during play, and show-biz features which made the game into a multi-media entertainment experience as opposed to a simple athletic contest.
For this second season, the remaining three charter franchises made their active debuts: Carolina Vipers, Las Vegas Dustdevils and Pittsburgh Stingers. They also added four expansion franchises, Houston, Washington, Detroit and San Jose, and split the league into two divisions. LA United moved to the new Arrowhead Pond at Anahiem to become the Splash. Their move must have inspired the team as the former last place squad won the divisional title in the West. The Washington Warthogs also made a respectable showing, coming in third. Dallas Sidekicks remained in form, taking the east title Although not many NPSL players were yet taking advantage of the summer CISL experience, Tatu was already among the top scorers, on his way to becoming the CISL’s all-time scorer.
The playoffs were expanded to three game series. The semifinals saw Las Vegas sweep their series with Anahiem 5-4 and 8-5, while Dallas had an easy time with Washington 15-7 and 10-7. The championship saw the Dallas Sidekicks successful run come to an abrupt end as Las Vegas defeated them in three, by scores of 10-4, 10-9, and 9-8. San Diego did not make it past the semifinals, and this former MISL and NASL powerhouse would never contend again in a league championship.
Final CISL League Standings, 1994 Carolina, Las Vegas and Pittsburgh were activated. Houston, Detroit, Washington, and San Jose were added. Los Angeles moved to Anahiem. Seattle was added but remained inactive until 1995. G W L % GB GF GA Eastern Division Dallas Sidekicks 28 24 4 .857 -- 255 160 Monterrey La Raza 28 17 11 .607 7 271 210 Washington Warthogs 28 14 14 .500 10 215 193 Pittsburgh Stingers 28 13 15 .464 11 165 189 Detroit Neon 28 11 17 .393 13 188 204 Houston Hotshots 28 7 21 .250 17 150 223 Carolina Vipers 28 3 25 .107 21 126 245 Western Division Anahiem Splash 28 20 8 .714 -- 227 172 San Diego Sockers 28 18 10 .643 2 222 178 Las Vegas Dustdevils 28 17 11 .607 3 200 198 Sacramento Knights 28 15 13 .536 5 163 179 Portland Pride 28 15 15 .500 6 176 189 San Jose Grizzlies 28 12 16 .429 8 177 181 Arizona Sandsharks 28 11 17 .393 9 200 214 Quarterfinals: Anaheim defeated Sacramento 4-10, 8-5, 5-4 (OT) Las Vegas defeated San Diego, 10-6, 6-7 (OT), 6-5 (OT) Dallas defeated Pittsburgh 15-3, 5-3 Washington defeated Monterrey 11-9, 4-5 (OT), 16-11 Semifinals: Las Vegas defeated Anaheim 5-4, 8-5 Dallas defeated Washington 15-7, 10-7 Championship Series: Las Vegas defeated Dallas 4-10, 10-9, 9-8 Scoring Leaders: GP G A Pts Tatu, Dallas 25 60 67 127 Drago, Detroit 27 53 60 113 David Doyle, Dallas 28 50 53 103 Goran Hunkaj, Washington 25 47 53 100 Zizinho, Monterrey 27 59 38 97 Dale Ervine, Anahiem 27 39 37 76 Nebo Bandovic, Houston 28 43 29 72 Octavio Perez, Monterrey 26 32 36 68 Raffaele Ruotolo, Anahiem 26 31 37 68 Steve Kinsey, Detroit 28 39 29 68 Genoni Martinez, Monterrey 28 36 29 65 Marco Lopez, Monterrey 27 32 30 62 Goalkeeping Leaders: (Min 830 minutes) Min Svs GA GAA Antonio Cortes, San Diego 1007:40 234 96 5.72 Joe papaleo, Dallas 1064:37 237 106 5.97 Jorge Valenzuela, Anahiem 1395:18 320 141 6:06 Mike Dowler, Sacramento 1559:19 352 160 6.16 Doug Pietras, Pittsburgh 1568:38 413 161 6.16 Dan Madsen, San Jose 832:31 218 87 6.27 Jim Brazeau, Washington 1078:51 254 115 6.40 Mark Lehnert, San Jose 831:48 230 90 6:49 Most Valuable Player: Tatu, Dallas Goalkeeper of the Year: Antonio Cortes, San Diego Coach of the Year: George fernandez, Anahiem Defender of the Year: Ralph Black, Anahiem Rookie of the Year: John Olu Molomo, San Diego Playoff MVP: Branko Segota, Las Vegas All-CISL First Team: G - Joe Papaleo, Dallas D - Terry Woodbury, Arizona D - Ralph Black, Anahiem M - Goran Hunjak, Washington F - Tatu, Dallas F - David Doyle, Dallas
The main event for the Men’s National Team, of course, was the World Cup competition (see above), but they had plenty to keep them busy the rest of the year. The year started with a tour of the west coast, with friendlies against Norway, Switzerland and Russia. The Norway game was a close 2-1 victory with goals by Marcelo Balboa and Cobi Jones. Switzerland and Russia were both 1-1 draws, with the Russia game drawing a good crowd of 43,651 at Seattle on January 29. Next on the agenda was the Carlsberg Cup in Hong Kong. The team didn’t do as well there, losing in penalty kicks to Denmark, and managing only a single Lalas goal against Denmark.
After that, the three month period from late February through late May was a grueling schedule of 13 games against teams ranging through Sweden, Bolivia, Romania, Estonia, Chile and Moldova, and by design included several World Cup participants, including Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Romania and Chile. The record here was decidedly mixed; The only victory against a World Cup team was a close 1-0 win over South Korea on March 5 (a closed door game, not against the full national team). This portended possible trouble as the World Cup loomed. At the same time, many of these practice games came out draws, and the team was steadily improving their skills.
The final friendly was a different story: On June 4, 1994, the US played Mexico at Pasadena, CA, in a sold out stadium of 92,405 fans, most of them rooting for Mexico. Coach Milutinovic had wanted to prepare the team for a high-pressure game in front of a hostile game, and they got that. Mexico actually had the slight edge in the game, which was played largely in the midfield, but the US got through with a fantastic shot from Thomas Dooley at the midfield, to Eric Wynalda near the left corner. Wynalda beat a defender, dribbled to the end line, turned, nutmegged another defender, and drew goalkeeper Jorge Campos toward him, and flicked the ball out to Roy Wegerle who landed the open shot. They then held this lead for the duration of the game.
After the World Cup, the team immediately started to plan their development program for World Cup 1998, and started with a friendly at London against England. England was ready for revenge after the debacle of the previous year, and the Americans, possibly feeling the post-cup letdown, were shut out 2-0. Five more games, against Saudi Arabia, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica and Honduras saw mixed results, the best victory being a 3-0 win over Jamaica on November 22, with a pair by Klopas and another goal by Kirovski. Losses against Saudi Arabia (1-2) and Trinidad & Tobago (0-1) during the fall were more disappointing.
The main task facing the Women’s National Team was to qualify for the 1995 Women’s World Championships. Unlike the Men’s World Cup, the US had to qualify along with everyone else, and to that end, the team reassembled in March for a series of friendlies for two months. First up was the Algarve Cup, held in Portugal, where they easily beat Portugal 5-0 (2 goals by Carin Gabarra), and had a tougher time of it topping Sweden (1-0), before losing the championship to Norway on March 20, by an equal score. The Algarve Cup was followed by a 3-1 win over Trinidad & Tobago, and two easy wins over Canada.
They took a break until July 31, when they geared up for World Cup Qualifying in the inaugural USA Women’s Cup, which pitted the Americans against three of the world superpowers; Germany, China, and Norway. Here they looked true to form, winning all three, most impressively a 4-1 romp over Norway, off of two goals by Mia Hamm, one by Michelle Akers-Stahl and an own goal, to take USA Women’s Cup 1994. World Cup Qualifying, by comparison was an easy jaunt, there being no other powers in CONCACAF. The CONCACAF 1994 Women’s Championship served as the World Cup qualification tournament. The USA embarrassed Mexico 9-0, Trinidad 11-1 and Jamaica 0-0, before taking a relatively modest 6-0 shutout over Canada to complete qualifying and win the ticket for their second World Championship in as many tries.
Several perennial favorites made it to the first round of the U. S. Open Cup including Milwaukee Bavarian, San Francisco Greek-Americans, the Chicago AAC Eagles and St. Petersburg Kickers. In the quarterfinals, the San Francisco Greek Americans defeated the Los Angeles Exiles, Philadelphia Flames defeated New York Hermes 3-0, Milwaukee Bavarian defeated the Chicago AAC Eagles 2-1 and St. Petersburg Kickers defeated the USISL’s Dallas Rockets 2-0.
San Francisco walked over Philadelphia 3-0 in the semi-finals, while Milwaukee Bavarian had a true “walk-over” when St. Petersburg forfeited. the final was played July 30, 1994 at United German-Hungarian Field in Oakford, PA where San Francisco Greek-American beat Milwaukee Bavarian 3-0 before 400 fans to take the Cup.
This was another year of rapid growth for college soccer. NCAA varsity teams increased from 609 to 641 for men, and 445 to 506 for women. More varsity teams were added than in any year since the big expansion after world war II. The growth in women’s programs was impressive but for the fact that SIXTY EIGHT new programs had been established the previous year!
In the Men’s NCAA Division 1 tournament, the third round saw Indiana defeat Cal State Fullerton 2-1, UCLA defeated College of Charleston 3-2, Virginia defeated James Madison 4-1, and Rutgers defeated Brown 3-1. In the semifinals, Indiana defeated UCLA 4-1, and Virginia defeated Rutgers 2-1. The championship returned to Davidson, NC where on December 11, 1994, Virginia defeated Indiana 1-0 to win their fourth straight national championship.
In response to the rapid growth of women’s soccer, the Women’s NCAA Division 1 tournament was expanded from 16 to 24 teams. In the third round, Notre Dame defeated William & Mary 1-0, Portland defeated Stanford 2-1 (3 overtimes), Connecticut defeated Hartford 2-1 (3 overtimes), and North Carolina defeated Duke 3-1. In the semifinals, Notre Dame defeated Portland 1-0, and North Carolina shut out Connecticut 3-0. The championship moved across the country to Portland, Oregon, where on November 20, 1994, North Carolina won their ninth straight championship, shutting out Notre Dame 5-0.
Division II Men’s champion: Tampa defeated Oakland, 3-0
Division II Women’s champion: Franklin Pierce defeated Regis, 2-0
Division III Men’s champion: Bethany defeated Johns Hopkins, 1-0
Division III Women’s champion: Trenton State defeated UC-San Diego, 4-3
NAIA Men’s Champion: West Virginia Weslayen 4, Mobile 2
NAIA Women’s Champion: Lynn defeated Park, 3-1.
NJCAA Division I Men’s Championship: Spartanburg Methodist 3, Yavapai 2
NJCAA Division III Men’s Championship: Herkimer Community College 1, Nassau Community College 0
NJCAA Women’s Championship: Monroe Community College 1, Champlain College 0
NCCAA Division 1 Championship: Geneva College 2, Malone 1
NCCAA Division 2 Championship: Moody Bible Institute 3, Pacific Christian 2 (OT)
Final Men's Division 1 Coaches' Poll: 1. Boston University 2. Indiana 3. Fresno State 4. UNC-Charlotte 5. Virginia 6. South Carolina 7. UCLA 8. Southern Methodist 9. Georgetown 10. Lafayette Final Women's Division 1 Coaches' Poll: 1. Notre Dame 2. North Carolina 3. Stanford 4. Duke 5. William & Mary 6. Connecticut 7. Portland 8. Hartford 9. Santa Clara 10. Virginia Men's Division 1 NSCAA All-Americans (1st team): G - David Kramer, Fresno State D - Brandon Pollard, Virginia D - Eddie Pope, North Carolina M - Jason Kreis, Duke M - Brian Maisonneuve, Indiana M - Matt McKeon, St. Louis M - Todd Yeagley, Indiana F - Brent Bennett, James Madison F - Mac Cozier, UNC Charlotte F - Darren Eales, Brown F - Staale Soebye, San Francisco Women's Division 1 NSCAA All-Americans (1st team): G - Jennifer Renola, Notre Dame D - Jessica Fischer, Stanford D - Heidi Kocher, Massachusetts D - Thori Staples, North Carolina State M - Cindy Daws, Notre Dame M - Jennifer Lalor, Santa Clara M - Jessica Reifer, Hartford M - Tisha Venturini, North Carolina F - Shannon MacMillan, Portland F - Tiffeny Milbrett, Portland F - Natalie Neaton, William & Mary F - Kelly Walbert, Duke Men's National Award Winners: Hermann Trophy: Brian Massioneuve, Virginia Missouri Athletic Club Award: Todd Yegley, Indiana ISAA Player of the Year: Brian Maissoneuve, Indiana ISAA Goalkeeper of the Year: David Kramer, Fresno State NSCAA Coach of the Year (Division 1): Jerry Yeagley, Indiana Women's National Award Winners: Hermann Trophy: Tisha Venturini, North Carolina Missouri Athletic Club Award: Tisha Venturini, North Carolina
National Amateur Cup Championship: Denver Kickers defeated Chicago AAC Eagles 1-0, on July 21.
James P. McGuire Cup (U-19 Men): Baltimore Spirit
J. Ross Stewart Cup (U-19 Women): Greater Boston Bolts
Andy Stone Cup (U-18 Boys): F.C. Portland (OR) Academy
Frank Kelly Cup (U-18 Girls): Fountain Valley (CA) Spirit
Don Greer Cup (U-17 Boys): Club Ohio/Dynamo, Columbus
L. Moynihan Cup (U-17 Girls): DeAnza Magic (CA)
D.J. Niotis Cup: (U-16 Boys) Texans
Patricia Masotto Cup (U-16 Girls): ’78 Roadrunners (CA)
CONCACAF Champions Cup: The Los Angeles Salsa (APSL) lost to Alianza (El Salvador) 1-0 and 2-2 to lose on aggregate goals. Cartagenes (Mexico) defeated Atlante (Mexico) 3-2 for the cup
CONCACAF U-20 Championship: The United States defeated Guyana 4-0, lost to 3-1 and beat Trinidad & Tobago 5-0. This got them second place, and they failed to advance. Hondoras won the final round with three victories to take the title.
CONCACAF U-17 Championship: The US beat the Netherlands Antilles 7-0, Trinidad % Tobago 5-3, and lost to Costa Rica 4-1. In the final round, they beat Costa Rica 2-1, beat Canada 1-0 and lost to Mexico 2-1. Costa Rica finished 1st, the USA 2nd and Canada 3rd, and they all thereby qualified for the 1995 U-17 World Youth Cup.