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1984 Charlotte Gold

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1984 United Soccer League Media GuideUnited Soccer League (1984)

Born: April 1, 1984 – USL founding franchise
Folded: Postseason 1984

Stadium: American Legion Memorial Stadium (24,500)

Team Colors: Carolina Blue & Charlotte Gold

Owner: C. Richard Melvin

USL Championships: None


The Charlotte Gold played one season of lower-division men’s professional soccer in the summer of 1984. The franchise was a successor/replacement for the more popular Carolina Lightnin’ team that played in the 2nd Division American Soccer League from 1981 to 1983. The Lightnin’ folded along with the rest of the ASL during the winter of 1983-84.

The United Soccer League quickly rose from the ashes of the ASL and Charlotte was awarded the league’s ninth and final franchise on April Fools’ Day 1984. The Gold were formed just six weeks prior to their first match on May 19th, 1984.

Former U.S. National Team captain Dave D’Errico was the Gold’s head coach. Charlotte finished the 1984 USL season with an 11-13 record and narrowly missed the playoffs. Following the season, seven of the nine USL clubs folded, including the Charlotte Gold.  The league itself went out of business midway through the 1985 season.

Fun While It Lasted is looking to buy any and all memorabilia from the Charlotte Gold, or acquire photos or images of the team. Post to the comments if you can help.



United Soccer League Media Guides

United Soccer League Programs


Written by Drew Crossley

August 30th, 2016 at 11:50 am

1987-1991 Charlotte Heat

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World TeamTennis (1987-1991)

Born: 1987
Folded: 1991

Venue: Old Providence Racquet Club

Team Colors: Blue and Orange

Owner: Robert Benson

TeamTennis Champions: 1987 and 1988


The Charlotte Heat were a co-ed professional tennis club that competed in Billie Jean King’s summertime TeamTennis promotion for five seasons between 1987 and 1991.  The Heat won the league championship in each of their first two seasons of play.

Team owner Bob Benson previously owned the Carolina Lightnin’ (1981-1983), Charlotte’s first foray into professional soccer, during the early 1980’s.



World TeamTennis Media Guides

World TeamTennis Programs


Written by Drew Crossley

April 28th, 2016 at 7:03 pm

1976-1987 Charlotte Orioles

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Charlotte Orioles ProgramSouthern League (1976-1988)

Born: 1976 – The Asheville Orioles relocate to Charlotte.
Re-Branded: 1988 (Charlotte Knights)

Stadium: Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Park

Team Colors:


Southern League Champions: 1980 & 1984


The Charlotte Orioles were the long-time Class AA Southern League farm club of the Baltimore Orioles.  Promoted locally as “The O’s”, the ball club was owned by famed Southern wrestling promoter Jim Crockett Jr.

The Crocketts ran the O’s in true mom & pop style.  Charlotte’s ballpark, formerly known as Clark Griffith Park, was renamed Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Park in 1976 in honor of the family patriarch, “Big Jim” Crockett, who passed away in 1973.  While Jim Jr. and his brothers focused on the wrestling promotion inherited from their late father, sister Frances Crockett managed the O’s  business operations as one of the rare female General Managers of the era.  A retired wrestler named Klondike Bill handled the groundskeeping duties.

Cal Ripken Charlotte OriolesThe O’s won Southern League championships in 1980 and 1984.  19-year old future Hall-of-Famer Cal Ripken Jr. played all 144 games (naturally) for the 1980 O’s championship team.  The 1980 captured the hearts of Charlotte, setting a city attendance record of 198,528 fans for the 72-game home schedule.  The Sporting News named Frances Crocker its Class AA Baseball Executive-of-the-Year.  In 1981, the O’s broke the local attendance record once again, drawing 211,161.

According to the site, the Charlotte police department sponsored a set of O’s trading cards in 1980, which were distributed one or two cards at a time to youth in the Charlotte community.  Today the orange-bordered Ca Ripken card from this set is generally thought to be most valuable minor league trading card in the world. In February 2014, a high grade Charlotte Orioles Police Ripken card sold at auction for $22,515.

The O’s fortunes took a turn for the worse on March 16th, 1985 when arsonists burned Crockett Park to the ground following a high school baseball game.  The Crockett family quickly erected a makeshift 3,000-seat facility (also known as Crockett Park) to salvage the 1985 season.

In October 1987, the Crocketts sold the team to George Shinn, owner of the Charlotte Hornets NBA expansion franchise due to begin play in 1988. Shinn re-branded the team as the Charlotte Knights.  The Knights upgraded to Class AAA status in 1993 and continue to play in Charlotte to this day.


Charlotte Orioles Memorabilia


In Memoriam

Outfielder Drungo Hazewood (O’s 1980) died of cancer at age 53 on July 28, 2013.



The Lady is a Gem of a G.M.“, Ronald Green, Sports Illustrated, April 26, 1982

Southern League Media Guides

Southern League Programs


Written by AC

May 23rd, 2015 at 3:40 am

1992-1996 Charlotte Rage

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Charlotte RageArena Football League (1992-1996)

Born: October 10, 1991 – Arena Football expansion franchise.
Folded: 1996


Team Colors: Red, Teal & Silver

Owners: Allen J. Schwalb, Joanne Faruggia & Cliff Stoudt

Arena Bowl Championships: None


This early Arena Football franchise played five seasons in North Carolina, splitting dates between the massive, NBA-scale Charlotte Coliseum and the smaller Independence Arena.  The franchise was owned by motion picture financier Allen J. Schwalb, who backed some of the biggest blockbusters of the 1980’s, including Rambo, Rain Main, Moonstruck and Thelma & Louise.

During the Charlotte Rage’s first season in 1992, the team signed Joe DeLamielleure, a perennial All-Pro offensive lineman for the Buffalo Bills during the late 1970’s.  41 years old at the time, DeLamielleure was seven years removed from his last NFL game in 1985.  He played in a handful of games for Charlotte in 1992 before retiring for good.  DeLamielleure remains the only member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame to play Arena Football.

After a promising start in 1992 (13,248 average attendance for five dates), attendance plummeted to below 7,500 per game in 1993.  At some point, Schwalb’s relations with AFL Commissioner Jim Drucker and his fellow owners appeared to sour.  In July 1996, the Charlotte Business Journal reported that league officials were pressuring Schwalb to sell the franchise.  Schwalb had discussions with groups in Salt Lake City and Long Island, but ultimately folded the team in late 1996, taking an $850,000 payout from the league to turn in the franchise.  Schwalb would later file a $200 million Sherman anti-trust lawsuit against the league, asserting that his former business partners unlawfully scuttled his efforts to sell and relocate the franchise and coerced him to sell the team back to the league for a below market price.  The suit seems to have been resolved in the early 2000’s, but it’s not clear what the resolution was.

Arena Football replaced the Charlotte Rage in the North Carolina market with the Raleigh-based Carolina Cobras in 2000.  The Cobras would later move to Charlotte in 2003 before going out of business in late 2004.



==Charlotte Rage Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Year Date Opponent Score Program Other


1992 6/19/1992 vs. Dallas Texans L 32-30 Program


1993 6/5/1993  @ Tampa Bay Storm L 52-19 Program
1993 7/23/1993 @ Orlando Predators L 44-23 Program
1996 4/27/1996 @ Memphis Pharaohs W 54-30 Program



Brief clip of the Rage in action at the Charlotte Coliseum against the Albany Firebirds in 1994.


==In Memoriam==

Former Charlotte Rage owner Allen Schwalb passed away on July 14, 2014 at age 76.  Variety obituary.



Arena Football League Media Guides

Arena Football League Programs


1994 Carolina Vipers

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Carolina VipersContinental Indoor Soccer League (1994)

Born: 1993 – CISL founding franchise.
Folded: Postseason 1994

Arena: Independence Arena (9,475)

Team Colors: Blue, Yellow & Red

Owners: Felix Sabates & Carl Scheer, et al.

CISL Championships: None


The Carolina Vipers soccer team was a founding member of the Continental Indoor Soccer League (1993-1997) but didn’t begin play until the league’s second season in the summer of 1994.

More than 50% of the CISL’s original franchise owners were investors in NBA or NHL franchises.  Vipers majority Felix Sabates was an original investor in the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets and co-owner Carl Scheer was a long-time ABA and NBA exec and the former President of the Hornets.  NASCAR legends Richard & Kyle Petty were also limited partners in the group.

The Sabates-Scheer group also owned the popular Charlotte Checkers minor league hockey team, which debuted nine months before the Vipers in the fall of 1993.  Like the Checkers, the Vipers played in the 9,500 Independence Arena in Charlotte.  After several ownership changes – including a second term for Sabates in the early 2000’s, – the Checkers continue to play in Charlotte today.

The Carolina Vipers, by contrast, were a major misfire in the summer of 1994.  Under Head Coach David Irving, Carolina was one of the worst clubs in the history of the CISL with a 3-25 record.  Fans stayed away in droves.  The Vipers ranked 12th out of 14 clubs with announced attendance of 3,034 per game.   The club quietly folded after the 1994 season ended that September.   The CISL folded three years later in December 1997.



1994 Carolina Vipers $100K sponsorship proposal for Nabisco

Continental Indoor Soccer League Media Guides

Continental Indoor Soccer League Programs






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