Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Harrisburg Heat’ tag

1991-2003 Harrisburg Heat

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National Professional Soccer League (1991-2003)
Major Indoor Soccer League (2001-2003)

Born: July 1991 – NPSL expansion franchise.
Folded: July 9, 2003.

Arena: State Farm Show Arena (7,600)

Team Colors: Purple, Orange, Black & White

Owners:

 

The Harrisburg Heat were a long-running indoor soccer franchise in central Pennsylvania.  Technically an expansion franchise in the National Professional Soccer League in the fall of 1991, the club was in some ways a successor to the region’s previous NPSL entry, the Hershey Impact (1988-1991), which folded shortly before the Heat were organized in July 1991.  Heat founder Dr. Rex Herbert was a team doctor for the Impact and put together a new investor group to keep pro indoor soccer going in the area.  While the Impact played at Hersheypark Arena in Hershey, the Heat moved into the State Farm Show Arena in Harrisburg.

Key players for the Heat included:

  • Trinidadian striker Richard Chinapoo (1992-2000)
  • Canadian midfielder Gino DiFlorio (1998-2002)
  • American defender Bob Lilley (1992-1997)
  • American forward Mark Pulisic (1991-1999)

The Heat’s finest season came in 1994-95.  The team advanced to the NPSL Championship Series, where they were swept in four games by the St. Louis Ambush.

After a slow start at the box office in their inaugural season (3,114 average attendance in 1991-92), the Heat became a popular draw in Harrisburg during the mid-to-late 1990’s, usually averaging 5,000 – 6,000 fans per game each season.   By the early 2000’s though, the entire sport of indoor soccer was in a state of decline.  From 15 member franchises in 1996-97, the NPSL had only six viable clubs by the summer of 2001.  The league re-branded itself as the Major Indoor Soccer League that summer.

The Heat played to declining crowds for two further seasons in the MISL, folding in the summer of 2003.

In 2012 the Harrisburg Heat brand name was re-booted for a new team in the obscure, low-budget Professional Arena Soccer League.  The “new” Heat play in a smaller building at the Farm Show Arena and former Heat star Richard Chinapoo signed on as Head Coach.

 

==In Memoriam==

Former Heat defender Todd Smith died of leukemia on December 31, 2003 at age 38.  Smith was General Manager of Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution when he was diagnosed in March 2002.

 

==Links==

National Professional Soccer League Media Guides

National Professional Soccer League Programs

2001-Present Indoor Soccer Media Guides

2001-Present Indoor Soccer Programs

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