Lively Tales About Dead Teams

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1977 Team Hawaii

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North American Soccer League (1977)

Born: October 1976 – The San Antonio Thunder relocate to Honolulu.
Moved: November 1977 (Tulsa Roughnecks)

Stadium: Aloha Stadium (50,000)

Team Colors: Gold, Blue & Green

Owner: Ward Lay Jr.

 

Team Hawaii was a brief entry in the North American Soccer League (1968-1984).  The nomadic franchise lasted just one season at Honolulu’s Aloha Stadium in the summer of 1977 before moving on the greener pastures.

The club began life in 1975 as an expansion franchise in Texas, the San Antonio Thunder (1975-1976).  After two seasons of poor support in West Texas, 32-year old owner Ward Lay Jr. moved his franchise to Hawaii in October 1976.  Lay was the son of Herman Warden Lay, Sr., founder of the Frito-Lay potato chip empire.

Lay, based out of Dallas, was an absentee owner and his club led a star-crossed existence in Hawaii.  It rained during five of the first seven home matches.  Team Hawaii fared poorly under Head Coach Hubert Vogelsinger, finishing out of postseason consideration with an 11-15 record.   Fans stayed away in droves.  Dave Litterer’s American Soccer History Archives site pegs average attendance at just 4,550 per match, which was second worst in the 18-team NASL in 1977.  The ticket sales high point was an April 1977 match against Pele and the New York Cosmos, the NASL’s biggest gate attraction.  Still, the crowd of 12,877 swam in the 50,000-seat expanse of Aloha Stadium.

Shortly after the 1977 concluded, Ward Lay came close to moving Team Hawaii to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  That fell through and Lay moved the club to Tulsa, Oklahoma instead in November 1977.  As the Tulsa Roughnecks, the club played seven seasons in the NASL before folding along with the rest of the league in early 1985.

 

Team Hawaii Shop

Team Hawaii NASL Logo T-Shirt by Neutral FC

 

In Memoriam

Hawaii owner Ward Lay Jr. passed away from liver cancer at age 66 in October 2011.

 

Links

North American Soccer League Media Guides

North American Soccer League Programs

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Written by AC

December 9th, 2012 at 7:55 pm

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