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Archive for the ‘National Professional Soccer League 1967’ Category

1967-1977 St. Louis Stars

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St. Louis Stars NASLNational Professional Soccer League (1967)
North American Soccer League (1968-1977)

Born: 1967 – NPSL founding franchise
Moved: October 1977 (California Surf)

Stadia:

  • 1967-1968: Busch Memorial Stadium (50,000)
  • 1969-1970: Francis Field
  • 1971-1974: Busch Memorial Stadium
  • 1975-1977: Francis Field

Team Colors: Red & White with Blue Piping (1967)

Owner: Robert Hermann, et al.

NPSL Championships: None
NASL Championships: None

 

The St. Louis Stars were the first professional soccer team to make their home in the Gateway City. Relatively speaking, the Stars were a beacon of stability in the turbulent American pro soccer scene of the late 1960’s and 1970’s. Of the 22 American pro clubs that began play during the country’s 1967 pro soccer boom, only the Dallas Tornado (1967-1981) outlived the Stars.

The Stars began play as one of ten original franchises in the National Professional Soccer League. The first Stars club in 1967 consisted largely of European imports, including a large number of Yugoslavian players. The team was competitive, finishing 2nd in the NPSL’s Western Division with a 14-11-7 record. Only the two divisional champions advanced to the NPSL’s two-game championship playoff, so the Stars were left out of the postseason. St. Louis was the most popular of the league’s ten clubs at the turnstiles, attracting average crowds of 7,613 per match to the city’s Major League Baseball stadium.

After the 1967 season, the NPSL merged with its rival, the United Soccer Association, to form the North American Soccer League.  17 clubs took part in the 1968 NASL season. But league investors pulled out en masse at the end of the year, reducing the NASL to just 5 clubs for 1969. The Stars were one of the few survivors who struggled onward into the 1970’s. The team departed Busch Stadium for the cheaper, more appropriately scaled confines of Francis Field on the campus of Washington University. Attendance dipped to around 2,000 per match at the start of the new decade.

Beginning in 1969 the Stars began to focus on recruiting local St. Louis players. This was a departure from the rest of the NASL, which became known as something of a retirement home for aging Englishmen of the era. St. Louis University was a soccer powerhouse throughout the 1960’s and into the early 70’s. The Americanization approach helped the Stars earn a loyal (if still small-ish) core audience. Attendance began to rebound hitting a new high of 7,773 per match in 1972. The Stars also reached the NASL final for the only time in 1972, losing 2-1 to the New York Cosmos.

The team reached peak Americanization in 1974 when the entire roster consisted of U.S. citizens with the exception of English player-coach John Sewell. In 1975, the team would gradually begin to add more foreign players, including Peter Bonetti, the reserve goalkeeper on England’s 1966 World Cup champion team. But the bulk of the Stars roster would always remain American.

The club continued to bounce back and forth from Busch Stadium to Francis Field throughout the 1970’s. Attendance peaked at 9,794 per match in 1977. But this proved to be the team’s last season in St. Louis. The club moved to Anaheim, California in October 1977.

College soccer’s Hermann Trophy, awarded annually to the nation’s best male and female players, is named in honor of Stars founder and long-time patron Robert Hermann.

 

St. Louis Stars Shop

Rock n’ Roll Soccer: The Short Life & Fast Times of the North American Soccer League by Ian Plenderleith

 

St. Louis Stars Memorabilia

 

Stars Video

 

Links

National Professional Soccer League Media Guides

National Professional Soccer League Programs

North American Soccer League Media Guides

North American Soccer League Programs

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1967 Los Angeles Toros

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Los Angeles TorosNational Professional Soccer League (1967)

Born: 1967 – NPSL founding franchise
Moved: 1968 (San Diego Toros)

Stadium: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (93,000)

Team Colors: Red & Black

Owner: Dan Reeves & Clarence Martin

NPSL Championships: None

 

The Los Angeles Toros were a One-Year Wonder in the start-up National Professional Soccer League (NPSL) in 1967. The team was part of a soccer war between the NPSL and another 1967 start-up, the United Soccer Association (USA). Both leagues placed franchises into the L.A. Memorial Coliseum in the spring of 1967. The Toros, owned by L.A. Rams owner Dan Reeves, fought for fans and prime dates against the USA’s Los Angeles Wolves, backed by L.A. Lakers and Kings chief Jack Kent Cooke.

The Toros finished 1967 in last place in the NPSL’s Western Division with a league-worst 7-10-15 mark. Attendance of 3,595 per game was 8th best in the 10-team circuit. 20-year old Brazilian striker Eli Durante finished 4th in the NPSL in scoring with 15 goals and 5 assists.

After the 1967 season, the NPSL and the USA merged to form the North American Soccer League. Jack Kent Cooke’s Wolves club kept the L.A. market and the Toros moved south to become the San Diego Toros for the 1968 NASL season. The team went out of business after one last season in San Diego in 1968.

Trivia: the General Manager of the Wolves was Yugoslav ex-patriate footballer, restaurateur and occasional actor Dan Tana, proprietor of the famous late-night Hollywood eatery Dan Tana’s. Robert Urich’s character Dan Tanna in the 1970’s private detective drama Vega$ was named after the Toros exec.

 

Los Angeles Toros Slider

 

In Memoriam

Goalkeeper Blagoje Vidinic passed away on December 29, 2006 at the age of 72.

 

Links

National Professional Soccer League Media Guides

National Professional Soccer League Programs

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1967 Pittsburgh Phantoms

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1967 National Professional Soccer League YearbookNational Professional Soccer League (1967)

Born: 1967 – NPSL founding franchise
Folded: 1968

Stadium: Forbes Field (35,714)

Team Colors: Purple & White

Owners: Peter Block & Richard George, et al.

NPSL Championships: None

 

The Pittsburgh Phantoms soccer team played for a single season at Forbes Field in the summer of 1967. The Phantoms were one of ten original franchises in the National Professional Soccer League, a circuit formed in the wake of the 1966 World Cup, the first to be broadcast in the United States. Peter Block and Richard George, a pair of 32-year old stockholders in the city’s new NHL franchise, the Pittsburgh Penguins, headed the Phantoms 20-man ownership group.

The Phantoms endured a bumpy campaign, cycling through four coaches en route to a 10-14-7 5th place finish. The team also suffered several losses in the courtroom. The worst was a $50,000 settlement paid to Sparta Rotterdam for signing 27-year old defender Theo Laseroms while he was still under contract to the Dutch club.

FGerman striker Manfred Rummel paced the team in scoring with 14 goals and 4 assists. Former Dutch National Team player and Ajax star Co Prins earned a bid to the NPSL’s post-season All-Star team at forward, Pittsburgh’s only selection. Prins also briefly served as head coach of the club.

The Phantoms folded after the 1967 season citing a $750,000 financial loss.

In 1994, a Roller Hockey International franchise called the Pittsburgh Phantoms began play at the Civic Arena. Like the soccer Phantoms of the 1960’s, the roller hockey Phantoms were backed financially by the owners of the Pittsburgh Penguins and lasted for only one season.

 

Pittsburgh Phantoms Shop

Phantoms Logo T-Shirt by Ultras

Pittsburgh Phantoms Memorabilia

 

In Memoriam

Player-coach Co Prins died of a heart attack while playing soccer on September 26, 1987. Prins was 49.

Defender Theo Laseroms suffered a fatal heart attack on April 25, 1991 at age 51.

Phantoms co-owner Peter Block died of cancer at age 82 on December 13, 2015. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette obituary.

Striker Manfred Rummel passed on July 27, 2017 at age 79.

 

Links

National Professional Soccer League Media Guides

National Professional Soccer League Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

January 30th, 2018 at 12:20 pm

1967 Chicago Spurs

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Chicago SpursNational Professional Soccer League (1967)

Born: 1967 – NPSL founding franchise
Moved: January 1968 (Kansas City Spurs)

Stadium: Soldier Field (100,000)

Team Colors: Red & White with Blue trim

Owner: William Cutler & Al Kaczmarek

NPSL Championships: None

 

The Chicago Spurs were one of ten founding franchises in the outlaw (non-FIFA sanctioned) National Professional Soccer League launched in 1967. The club finished 10-11-11 in their lone season of competition and failed to make the playoffs. The team was also a flop at the box office, attracting fewer than 3,000 fans per match to 100,000-seat Soldier Field.

Following the 1967 season, the NPSL merged with the rival United Soccer Association to form the North American Soccer League. The USA had a Windy City franchise as well, the Chicago Mustangs. The Spurs moved to Kansas City in January 1968 while the Mustangs took the Chicago slot in the NASL.

The Spurs played three more seasons in Kansas City and won the NASL title in 1969. The club closed down after the 1970 season.

 

Chicago Spurs Memorabilia

 

Links

National Professional Soccer League Media Guides

National Professional Soccer League Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

January 30th, 2018 at 11:27 am

1967 Philadelphia Spartans

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Philadelphia SpartansNational Professional Soccer League (1967)

Born: 1967 – NPSL founding franchise
Folded: January 6, 1968

Stadium: Temple University Stadium (20,000)

Team Colors: Maroon & Gold

Owners: Art Rooney, Patrick Rooney, John Macartney

NPSL Championships: None

 

The Philadelphia Spartans were a One-Year Wonder pro soccer entry in the National Professional Soccer League during the summer of 1967. The Rooney family, owners of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers, were the financial backers of the club. The NPSL also had a Pittsburgh franchise, the Phantoms, but they were owned by the ownership group of the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team.

The team finished 14-9-9 in their only season of play. Although good enough for a second place finish in the NPSL’s Eastern Division, the Spartans did not make the playoffs. The NPSL’s postseason format saw the league’s two regular season division winners advance directly to a two-game championship series.

The Spartans 34-year old Argentine midfielder Ruben Navarro was named the NPSL’s Most Valuable player in 1967, despite scoring only one goal. Fellow Argentine Orlando Garro led the club in scoring with 12 goals and 2 assists.

The Rooney family folded the Spartans in January 1968 citing operating losses of half a million dollars.

A different version of the Philadelphia Spartans began play in the lower-division American Soccer League in 1969 and played until 1972.

 

Philadelphia Spartans Memorabilia

 

In Memoriam

Spartans owner Arthur J. Rooney died on August 25, 1988 at age 87. New York Times obituary.

Argentine defender Ruben Navarro, the NPSL’s 1967 MVP, passed away on July 14, 2003 at the age of 70.

 

Links

National Professional Soccer League Media Guides

National Professional Soccer League Programs

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