Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum’ tag

1967-1968 Los Angeles Wolves

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George Benitez Los Angeles WolvesUnited Soccer Association (1967)
North American Soccer League (1968)

Born: 1967 – USA founding franchise
Folded: Postseason 1968

Stadiums:

Team Colors: Forum Blue & Gold

Owner: Jack Kent Cooke

USA Champions: 1967
NASL Championships: None

 

The Los Angeles Wolves were a pro soccer club founded by Washington Redskins and Los Angeles Kings owner Jack Kent Cooke. The Wolves were one of twelve founding members of the United Soccer Association (USA) in 1967. The USA planned to launch in 1968, but accelerated its timetable when a rival league, the National Professional Soccer League (NPSL), announced plans to start play in 1967. The NPSL also had an L.A. franchise, the Los Angeles Toros.

Due to the hasty launch, the USA imported entire European and South American clubs to stock the rosters of its twelve franchises. The Wolves were actually Wolverhampton Wanderers of England in 1967.

The Wolves topped the USA’s Western Conference with a 5-5-2 record. On July 14th, 1967, the Wolves hosted the Washington Whips in the United Soccer Association championship game at Memorial Coliseum. A crowd of 17,824 watched the Wolves best the Whips 6-5 in sudden death overtime.

After the 1967 season, the USA merged with the rival NPSL to form the North American Soccer League (NASL). Jack Kent Cooke’s Wolves retained the Los Angeles market while their erstwhile rivals, the Toros, moved south to San Diego.

The NASL abandoned the imported team strategy, so the 1968 Wolves featured an entirely new roster and coaching staff from the previous year’s champs. The club also left the Memorial Coliseum for a new home at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The re-booted Wolves dropped to 11-13-8 and failed to make the playoffs.

The Wolves folded following the 1968 season. Pro soccer returned to Los Angeles six years later with the formation of the NASL’s Los Angeles Aztecs in 1974.

 

Los Angeles Wolves Shop


Wolves Retro T-Shirt by Ultras

Rock n’ Roll Soccer: The Short Life & Fast Times of the North American Soccer League by Ian Plenderleith

 

Los Angeles Wolves Memorabilia

 

In Memoriam

Wolves founder Jack Kent Cooke died of cardiac arrest on April 6, 1997 at the age of 84.

1967 Wolves Manager Ronnie Allen passed away on June 9, 2001. He was 72.

 

Links

United Soccer Association Media Guides

United Soccer Association Programs

North American Soccer League Media Guides

North American Soccer League Programs

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1976-1979 Los Angeles Skyhawks

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Tony Whelan Los Angeles SkyhawksAmerican Soccer League (1976-1979)

Born: 1976 -ASL expansion franchise
Folded: Postseason 1979

Stadiums:

Team Colors:

Owners:

American Soccer League Champions: 1976

 

The Los Angeles Skyhawks were a 2nd Division pro soccer outfit that competed in the American Soccer League during the late 1970’s. The team won a league championship in its debut season under the direction of British coach Ron Newman, who went on to be a highly successful coach in the NASL, MISL and Major League Soccer.

The Skyhawks came into existence in 1976 as part of a major West Coast expansion by the ASL.  The ASL traced its roots back to the Depression years, but remained a ragtag assemblage of Northeastern ethnic semi-pro clubs until the early 1970’s.  The West Coast experiment last only until 1980, when the league contracted and retreated East back across the Mississippi.

During the ASL’s brief run as a truly national league from 1976 to 1980, the Skyhawks were probably the most successful West Coast club. The team drew decent crowds by 2nd Division standards, including 9,652 for a 1976 exhibition match against the Mexican Olympic Team at L.A. Memorial Coliseum. The club’s normal home grounds were Birmingham Stadium and Pierce College Stadium in the San Fernando Valley.

Team owner Bob Nordskog pulled the Skyhawks out of the ASL following the 1979 season, which helped to hasten the collapse of 2nd Division soccer on the West Coast and the subsequent retreat of the league back to the Eastern U.S.  The ASL folded for good in early 1984.

 

Los Angeles Skyhawks Shop

American Soccer League Logo T-Shirt by Ultras

 

Los Angeles Skyhawks Memorabilia

 

In Memoriam

Midfielder Micky Cave (Skyhawks ’76) died of carbon monoxide poisoning on November 6, 1984 at age 35.

Former Skyhawks owner Bob Nordskog passed away from a cerebral hemorrhage July 15, 1992 at age 79. New York Times obituary.

Midfielder Alan Sproates (Skyhawks ’77-’79) passed away on February 5, 2015 at age 70. Marin Independent Journal tribute.

 

Downloads

1978 American Soccer League Attendance Report

 

Links

American Soccer League Media Guides

American Soccer League Programs

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1983-1985 Los Angeles Express

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Steve Young Los Angeles ExpressUnited States Football League (1983-1985)

Born: May 11, 1982 – USFL founding franchise
Folded: Postseason 1985

Stadiums:

Team Colors:

Owners:

USFL Championships: None

 

Text coming soon…

 

Los Angeles Express Shop


Express Retro T-Shirt by Throwback Max

Just Published! One of FWIL’s Top Sports Books of 2017

 

Los Angeles Express Memorabilia

 

Express Video

Los Angeles Express debut game at the L.A. Coliseum. March 6, 1983.

In Memoriam

Defensive back David Croudip (Express ’83) died of a cocaine overdose on October 10, 1988 at age 30.  He was a member of the Atlanta Falcons at the time. (New York Times article)

Ex-USC and L.A. Express wide receiver Kevin Williams (’83) died in a freight train crash near Los Angeles while working as a brakeman on February 1, 1996.  Williams was 38.

Founding co- owner Bill Daniels died on March 7, 2000.  The cable TV pioneer was 79 years old.

Express General Manager Don Klosterman (’84-’85) died of a heart attack on June 7, 2000 at age 70.

Former USC and L.A. Express defensive lineman Rich Dimler passed away September 30, 2000 of pancreatitis at age 44.

Linebacker Carlton Rose (Express ’85) died of a stroke on March 26, 2006.  Rose was 44.

Linebacker Eric Scoggins (USC ’80, Express ’83) died of amytrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) on January 10, 2009 at the age of 49.

 

Links

USFL Media Guides

USFL Game Programs

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2001 Los Angeles Xtreme

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Los Angeles XtremeXFL (2001)

Born: 2000 – XFL founding franchise.
Folded: May 10, 2001

Stadium: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Team Colors:

Owner: XFL

XFL Champions: 2001

 

The Los Angeles Xtreme were the winners of the first and only championship of the XFL, the flamboyant but short-lived joint venture between NBC and World Wrestling Entertainment to create an alternative professional football league in the spring.

Tommy Maddox, the former UCLA star quarterback and 1st round draft pick of the Denver Broncos in 1992, was the Xtreme’s lone “name” player.  Maddox led the Xtreme to victory in the XFL’s “Million Dollar Game” championship game and he also led the league in passing yards (2,186) and won the Most Valuable Player award.  After the season, he signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers and returned to the NFL after a five-year absence.   Maddox would win NFL Comeback Player-of-the-Year honors in 2002.

World Wrestling Entertainment pulled the plug on the XFL on May 10, 2001. The shut down came less than three weeks after the Xtreme won the league’s only championship game with a 38-6 drubbing of the San Francisco Demons at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

 

Los Angeles Xtreme Shop

ESPN Films 30 For 30: This Is The XFL

 

Los Angeles Xtreme Memorabilia

 

Xtreme Video

The Xtreme host the San Francisco Demons in the XFL’s first championship (and final game) on April 21, 2001

 

Links

XFL Media Guides

XFL Programs

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Written by AC

January 25th, 2013 at 9:00 pm

1974-1981 Los Angeles Aztecs

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Los Angeles Aztecs Media GuideNorth American Soccer League (1974-1981)

Born: December 11, 1973 – NASL expansion franchise
Folded: December 9, 1981

Stadiums:

Arenas: 

Team Colors:

  • 1977: Tangerine & White
  • 1979: Orange, White & Blue

Owners:

NASL Champions: 1974

 

The Aztecs were L.A.’s intermittently glam soccer club of the 1970’s.  The club won the North American Soccer League championship in their expansion season of 1974.  At various times, the Aztecs had ties to everyone from George Best to Elton John to the Dutch midfield genius Johan Cruyff.  But the club also bounced from one ill-fitting stadium to another every year or two and suffered from revolving door ownership. Each new regime swiftly jettisoned the favored European superstar of its predecessor.

Best arrived first and was still good enough to dominate in the American league. He was arguably the biggest name signed by the NASL other than the Brazilian superstar Pele, who came to the league a year earlier with the New York Cosmos in 1975.  Like Pele, Best came to the NASL after a brief retirement and joined a team in a major media market.  Unlike Pele, Best’s presence in Los Angeles didn’t spark a wave of soccer mania.  While Pele’s Cosmos averaged 34,000 fans per game at Giants Stadium in 1977 (with some crowds in excess of 70,000), the Aztecs failed to crack 10,000 in average attendance at the massive L.A. Coliseum during either of Best’s full seasons with the team in 1976 and 1977.

In 1976, Best scored 15 goals in 23 matches and finished tied for sixth in the NASL in scoring.  In 1977, Best handed off the bulk of the goal scoring duties to teammate Steve David, who led the NASL with 26 goals, many courtesy of Best, who tied a league record with 18 assists.

Luis Fernando Los Angeles AztecsBest eventually wore out his welcome in L.A. during his third season in 1978, thanks to his alcoholism and the related lifestyle issues that so frustrated his managers at his previous stops.  He was suspended without pay early in the 1978 season for missing practices and player poorly when he did show up.  The Aztecs dealt their mercurial 32-year old star to the NASL’s Fort Lauderdale Strikers in June 1978.

The Aztecs went to the well again in 1979, importing the Dutch superstar Johan Cruyff along with his famed coach  from Ajax and the Dutch National Team, Rinus Michels.  Cruyff was an artist on the field and won the NASL’s Most Valuable Player award in 1979. But the team was sold again in the offseason of 1979-80 to the Televisa broadcasting concern in Mexico.  The new owners immediately sold Cruyff off to the Washington Diplomats in early 1980.  The Aztecs stayed relevant for one final season, reaching the NASL quarterfinals in 1980 on the strength of 28 goals from Brazilian striker Luis Fernando.

In 1981, the Aztecs’ final season, attendance dropped more than 50% from 1980 and Televisa folded the club shortly after the season.

 

Los Angeles Aztecs Shop


1979 Aztecs Johan Cruyff Replica Jersey by Ultras


Aztecs Retro T-Shirt by Throwback Max

Ian Plenderleith’s definitive history of “The Short Life & Fast Times of the North American Soccer League

 

Los Angeles Aztecs Memorabilia

 

 

 

 

 

 Aztecs Video

George Best scores against the Dallas Tornado, 1977.

Aztecs booster and (briefly) part-owner Elton John talks up the Aztecs & George Best in this 1977 interview…

 

In Memoriam

Claudio Coutinho (’81), the last Head Coach of the club, drowned in a scuba diving accident on November 27, 1981.  Coutinho was 42.  The Aztecs went out of business two weeks later.

Former Dutch National Team manager and Aztecs coach Rinus Michels (’79-’80) passed away March 3, 2005 at age 77.

George Best (Aztecs ’76-’78) died on November 25, 2005 at age 59 from complications of hard living.

 

Links

North American Soccer League Media Guides

North American Soccer League Programs

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