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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.


Team Colors: White, Blue & Red



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


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



American Professional Soccer League Media Guides

American Professional Soccer League Programs



1990-1991 Salt Lake Sting

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Western Soccer League (1990)
American Professional Soccer League (1990-1991)

Born: September 1989 – WSL expansion franchise.
Folded: July 5, 1991.

Stadium: Derks Field

Team Colors: Green & Blue


  • 1990:Jack Donovan, et al.
  • 1991: Mike Silva et al.
  • 1991: American Professional Soccer League


The Salt Lake Sting were a professional club that enjoyed a short, strange ride for parts of two seasons in the early 1990’s.  The Sting were formed as an expansion team in the Western Soccer League in September 1989.  Club founder Jack Donovan and his partners were a subset of the ownership group of the Salt Lake Trappers of minor league baseball.  (Although the Sting group did not include the Trappers’ most famous part-owner – actor Bill Murray). The Sting shared 40-year old Derks Field with the Trappers, with the soccer pitch awkwardly stretched across the outfield and portions of the dirt infield.

At the same time that the Sting joined the Western Soccer League in late 1989, the WSL began the process of merging with the East Coast-based American Soccer League to form the American Professional Soccer League (APSL).  During the 1990 season, the Sting were considered to be part of the Western Soccer League, which was also the West Conference of the APSL.

Under Head Coach Laurie Calloway, the Sting put a competitive team on the field, earning a playoff visit with a 12-8 record.  George Pastor finished 2nd in scoring in the 22-team APSL with 14 goals and 9 assists.  Sting teammate Derek Sanderson was fifth with 11 goals and 6 assists.  Salt Lake’s season-long nemesis, the Colorado Foxes, eliminated the Sting in the playoff quarterfinals 2 games to 0.

The Sting packed the stands at Derks Field in 1990, setting a WSL single-game attendance record of 9,406 fans for their home opener in April.  For the season, the Sting established another league attendance record, with nearly 54,000 fans for 10 home dates.

Despite the big numbers, Donovan and his partners lost money on the Sting and decided to unload the club in December 1990.  That marked the beginning of the end.  When no buyer came forward, the Sting were reorganized as a non-profit foundation led by Mike Silva, meant to operate the club on an interim basis until new investors could be found.  The Sting Foundation solicited corporate sponsors to underwrite the team, but the sponsors were reluctant to follow through on their pledges after they watched the team’s attendance collapse dramatically from the heights of 1990.  Fewer than 1,000 fans showed for a rainy 1991 home opener.  Two weeks into the 1991 season, Silva’s foundation was out of cash and the APSL was forced to step in and meet payroll.

Meanwhile Laurie Calloway departed after the 1990 season and was replaced as head coach by Soviet émigré Valery Volostnykh.  Top scorers Pastor and Sanderson returned, but the Sting couldn’t find their form on the field either.  The Sting’s record was 3-7 on July 5th, 1991 when the APSL grew tired of funding the rudderless franchise and shut it down in midseason.  The club’s final ten matches were recorded as forfeits and the team officially finished deep in last place with a 3-17 record.


==Salt Lake Sting Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other


1990  8/11/1990 @ San Francisco Bay Blackhawks ?? Program



APSL Media Guides

APSL Programs



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