Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Bleecker Stadium’ tag

1988-1991 Albany Capitals

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Albany CapitalsAmerican Soccer League (1988-1990)
American Professional Soccer League (1990-1991)

Born: 1987 – ASL founding franchise
Folded: Postseason 1991

Stadium: Bleecker Stadium (6,000)

Team Colors: Blue & White

Owner: Armand Quadrini

 

The Albany Capitals were a late 80’s/early 90’s professional soccer team in the capital district of New York.  The club played in the American Soccer League, which was the highest level of professional soccer in the United States at the time, despite it’s very modest scale and budget.  The ASL later changed its name to the American Professional Soccer League during the Caps final two seasons, as the result of a merger with the Western Soccer League in 1990.  The team played in 55-year old Bleecker Stadium, the city’s Depression-era multi-purpose stadium.

The Capitals, owned by local property develop Armand Quadrini, were a shoestring operation.  During the ASL’s first season 1988, the league salary cap was a meager $50,000 and the entire operating budget for the Capitals was reportedly just $250,000.  Attendance was barely over 1,000 fans per game in 1988 and the Caps never drew more than 2,000 or a single match that year, although crowds would pick up slightly in the seasons to follow.

Despite the low budget, the Capitals managed to attract some interesting players over the years, mostly because there were just very few opportunities to play outdoor soccer in the United States at the time.  U.S. National Team mainstay John Harkes made his pro debut with the club in 1989, playing alongside USNT teammates Brian Bliss and Mike Windischmann.  Forward Chico Borja was a former New York Cosmos who earned most of this pay during the winter playing indoors, which is where most of the money was in American soccer during this era.  Like Borja, goalkeeper Arnie Mausser was another North American Soccer League veteran playing out his final few outdoor seasons in the ASL.  Future ESPN and NBC soccer broadcaster Glenn Davis also played for the Caps.

During the Capitals’ final season in 1991, the club advanced to the APSL Championship Series against the San Francisco Bay Blackhawks, despite a losing regular season record of 10-11.  The Capitals won Game One by a score of 3-1, but dropped Game Two and the tie-breaking “mini-game” to lose the series.  These proved to be the last matches the club ever played.

The Capitals folded during the winter of 1991-1992.

 

==Albany Capitals Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other

1989

1989 5/14/1989 @ New Jersey Eagles  W 2-1 Program
1989 7/9/1989 @ New Jersey Eagles  W 5-1 Program

1990

1990 6/10/1990 @ New Jersey Eagles  W 3-1 Program

 

==Links==

American Soccer League Media Guides

American Soccer League Programs

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1978-1981 New York Eagles

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1978 New York Eagles ProgramAmerican Soccer League (1978-1979 & 1981)

Born: 1978 – ASL expansion franchise.
Folded: Postseason 1981

Stadiums:

Team Colors:

Owner: Prenk Curanaj

ASL Championships: None

 

The New York Eagles were a nomadic/sporadic entry in the lower-division American Soccer League (1933-1983) between 1978 and 1981 until years of bad debts and bounced checks finally sunk the club.

The franchise started out as an expansion franchise based out of Mt. Vernon, New York in 1978.  The club drew poorly, as you might imagine from the team’s forlorn advertising brochure (at left), showcasing the empty, rundown grandstand at Memorial Field in all its grainy, black-and-white decrepitude.  That, and the club had to compete with the glitzy New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League for metropolitan NYC-area soccer fans.  An unfair fight if there ever was one.  The club’s lone recognizable name in Mt. Vernon was Peruvian World Cup veteran Ramon Mifflin, a former Cosmos from 1975 to 1977.  The club’s announced 1978 attendance of 1,288 per match was 9th among the ASL’s 10 clubs.

In November 1978 the Eagles announced a move to Albany’s Bleecker Stadium for the 1979 season.  Unpaid bills followed the club from Mt. Vernon. Eagles President Prenk Curanaj wrote several bad checks to Albany businesses shortly after arriving in town, which quickly soured the locals on their new team.  One of the bad checks went to the team’s advertising agency, who quite reasonably mothballed all of the promotion intended to introduce the club to Capital District fans.  Unpaid judgments to 1978 creditors nearly sank the Eagles on the eve of their Bleecker Stadium debut against the Pennsylvania Stoners on April 14, 1979, but Curanaj managed to buy time and get the season underway.

The 1979 Eagles were competitive on the field at 14-7-7 but was bounced in the first round of the playoffs.  The roster was heavy on Yugoslavs under the direction of a Yugoslav Head Coach, Gjelosh Nikac.   The best of the bunch was Billy Boljevic, a prolific scorer everywhere he played in the United States who never quite managed to break out of the obscurity of lower division and indoor soccer.  In 1981, Boljevic would lead the Eagles and the ASL with 25 goals in 26 matches en route to league MVP honors.

The Eagles chronic financial troubles forced the team to shut down after the 1979 season.  Surprisingly, the club returned to Bleecker Stadium and the ASL in the spring of 1981, once again under Curanaj’s management.  The same old problems cropped up again. The IRS showed up during an August 21, 1981 Eagles match at Bleecker.  The feds seized the night’s game receipts to settle liens for unpaid income and social security taxes.

The Eagles folded at the end of the 1981 season.  Oddly – according to Dave Litterer and his American Soccer History Archive site – the other owners of the ASL then decided to appoint Prenk Curanaj as their Chairman of the Board. This despite the fact that he had shut down his club (twice), had public and persistent problems paying his bills and no longer owned a franchise in their league.

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The American Soccer League played two more seasons and then shutdown in late 1983.

Pro soccer returned to Albany and Bleecker Stadium in 1988 with the arrival of the Albany Capitals, who played in a new and different American Soccer League.  The Capitals lasted four seasons from 1988 to 1991.

 

New York Eagles Shop


American Soccer League Logo T-Shirt by Ultras

 

New York Eagles Memorabilia

 

Downloads

1978 American Soccer League Attendance Report

 

Links

American Soccer League Media Guides

American Soccer League Programs

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Written by AC

January 13th, 2013 at 10:23 pm

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