Lively Tales About Dead Teams

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1985-1990 Edmonton Brickmen

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Edmonton BrickmenWestern Soccer Alliance (1986)
Canadian Soccer League (1987-1990)

Born: 1985
Folded: Postseason 1990

Stadia:

Team Colors:

Owner: Peter Pocklington

Western Soccer Alliance Championships: None
Canadian Soccer League Championships: None

 

In 1981, five Canadian cities enjoyed major league professional soccer, courtesy of the North American Soccer League. The Calgary Boomers, Edmonton Drillers, Montreal Manic, Toronto Blizzard and Vancouver Whitecaps took the field that summer, and also played fast-paced indoor soccer during the winter months. But by the spring of 1985 it was all gone. The clubs peeled away one by one until the NASL itself closed up shop in early 1985.

In July 1985 a small group of former NASL cities on the West Coast staged the Western Soccer Alliance challenge series. The tournament saw clubs from Portland, San Jose, Seattle and Victoria, British Columbia compete against one another and against the Canadian National Team, touring European clubs and a side from Alberta known as the Edmonton Brickmen. When the Western Soccer Alliance put on a more conventional league season in the summer of 1986, the Brickmen joined as a full-fledged member.

Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington owned the Brickmen. Pocklington owned the NASL’s Edmonton Drillers from 1979 to 1982 and lost millions of dollars on that team. Nevertheless, he would make continued forays into pro soccer in Edmonton in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Pocklington backed both the Brickmen and a revived indoor-only version of the Drillers in the mid-1990’s. Veteran sports exec Mel Kowalchuk, who also ran the city’s Edmonton Trappers Class AAA baseball team, headed up the Brickmen front office. Former Driller Ross Ongaro served as head coach.

The Brickmen withdrew from the Western Soccer Alliance in 1987 to join the new Canadian Soccer League. The club was never particularly good. The Brickmen never posted a winning record in four seasons and finished in last place in 1988 and 1990. Edmonton’s best showing was in 1989 when the team advanced to the CSL playoff semi-finals. They were blown out 9-3 in a two-leg series by the eventual champion Vancouver 86ers.

The Brickmen folded after the 1990 season.

 

Edmonton Brickmen Shop

The Puck Talks Here: The Amazing Life & Turbulent Times of Peter Pocklington by Terry McConnell & J’Lyn Nye
(KINDLE Edition)

 

Edmonton Brickmen Memorabilia

 

Links

Western Soccer Alliance Programs

Canadian Soccer League Media Guides

Canadian Soccer League Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

January 14th, 2018 at 5:07 pm

1986-1990 San Diego Nomads

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San Diego Nomads Media GuideWestern Soccer Alliance (1986-1988)
Western Soccer League (1989)
American Professional Soccer League (1990)

Born: 1986 – Western Soccer Alliance expansion franchise.
Died: Postseason 1990 – The Nomads drop to amateur/youth club status.

Stadiums:

Team Colors: White, Blue & Red

Owners:

 

The San Diego Nomads were a low-budget semi-pro/pro soccer club that competed during the late 1980’s, a period viewed as the Dark Ages for outdoor professional soccer in the United States.  After the demise of the North American Soccer League in 1984 there was no nationwide pro league in the country for the remainder of the decade.  The best players toiled indoors in the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL), which was dominated by foreign players.

The city of San Diego happened to host the finest indoor team of the era.  The Sockers (1978-1996) were a former outdoor side turned indoor dynasty and they employed the highest paid soccer player in the United States at the end of the 1980’s – the Yugoslav striker Branko Segota, who earned $102,000 during the 1989-90 MISL season.

The Nomads entered the Western Soccer Alliance (1985-1988) quietly in the spring of 1986.  For the next four summers, the Nomads would compete as a semi-pro side.  U.S. National Team players like Marcelo Balboa and Paul Caligiuri played alongside high school players and moonlighting Sockers players such as Paul Dougherty and Paul Wright.

San Diego NomadsIn 1989, the Nomads won the Western Soccer League title with a semi-pro roster.  The victory earned them a meeting with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the East Coast-based American Soccer League to crown the so-called National Pro Soccer Champion.  The Strikers were a fully professional side, featuring many veterans of the old NASL.  The Nomads had three 17-year old high school players on the team and were missing five regular players for the title match due to NCAA commitments.  The Nomads took an early 1-0 lead, but ultimately were no match for the veteran Strikers and lost 3-1.  The match drew an impressive (for the era) 8,600 fans in the neutral site of San Jose’s Spartan Stadium on September 9th, 1989.

In 1990 the Western Soccer League merged with the American Soccer League to former the American Professional Soccer League (APSL).  Although teams continued to play a regional schedule, it was a baby step to the restoration of a fully professional league with a nationwide footprint.  The Nomads committed to field a pro side for the first time in 1990.  At the same time, the club shifted its home games from Balboa Stadium in San Diego to the campus of Southwestern College in Chula Vista.

The move to Chula Vista was a bust at the box office and the Nomads withdrew from professional play after the 1990 APSL season.  Like many lower-division American clubs of the 1990’s and 2000’s, the Nomads came to realize their real business was running academy programs at the youth level.  The Nomads still exist today as an academy program (www.nomadssoccer.org) and still use the same logo from their adult semi-pro/pro sides of a quarter century ago.

 

==San Diego Nomads Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other

1988

1988 6/19/1988 vs. F.C. Seattle Storm ?? Program

1989

1989 4/23/1989 vs. L.A. Heat L 2-1 (PKs) Program
1989 7/23/1989 vs. Portland Timbers W 1-0 (PKs) Program
1989 9/9/1989 Fort Lauderdale Strikers L 3-1 Program

1990

1990 4/7/1990 @ San Francisco Bay Blackhawks ?? Program
1990 8/4/1990 vs. California Emperors ?? Program

 

==Links==

American Professional Soccer League Media Guides

American Professional Soccer League Programs

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