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1976-1979 New Jersey Americans

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New Jersey Americans SoccerAmerican Soccer League (1976-1979)

Born: February 26, 1976 – ASL expansion franchise.
Moved: 1980 (Miami Americans)

Stadiums:

Team Colors:

Owners: Joseph Raymond, Marshall Samarel, et al.

ASL Champions: 1977

 

The New Jersey Americans were a professional soccer club that played for four seasons in the 2nd Division American Soccer League (1933-1983) during the late 1970’s.  They shared a brand name with the short-lived New Jersey Americans (1967-1968) basketball team from the ABA, who eventually became the Brooklyn Nets of the NBA.

The Americans started out in 1976 at Wall Stadium, a 9,000-seater which was part of an auto racing track near Asbury Park.  In 1977, the team moved to Rutgers Stadium in Piscataway.  The Americans gained some minor (very minor) attention in the late 1970’s for signing  a pair of aging former Benfica / Portuguese National Team legends of the 1960’s in Tony Simoes (1978) and Eusebio (1979).

1977 New Jersey AmericansThe Americans’ finest season was in 1977, when the team posted a 16-7-1 record to top the ASL’s East Division.  Minor league legend Jose Neto led the ASL in scoring with 17 goals despite missing a third of the games.   New Jersey hosted the ASL Championship Game at Rutgers Stadium on September 4, 1977 and dominated the Sacramento Spirits 3-0 on goals by Ringo Cantillo, Telmo Pires and Juan Cano.  A reported crowd of 6,493 turned out for the match.  After the season, Cantillo was named the league’s MVP for 1977.

ASL Commissioner Bob Cousy, the former Boston Celtics star, challenged the North American Soccer League champion New York Cosmos to face the Americans to “really determine the soccer professional championship of the United States”.  This was sort of like the Rochester Red Wings proposing to play the New York Yankees to resolve any lingering doubts about the meaning of the World Series.  The Cosmos, busy selling out stadiums in the Caribbean and South America for Pele’s farewell tour, declined to respond.

In early 1980 the Americans ownership sold the club to new investors who relocated the franchise to Miami, Florida.  The Miami Americans lasted one season before running out of money and folding.  The ASL itself went out of business in early 1984.

Americans owner Joseph Raymond later briefly owned the Philadelphia Fever of the Major Indoor Soccer League in 1981 and 1982.

 

New Jersey Americans Shop

American Soccer League Logo T-Shirt by Ultras

 

New Jersey American Memorabilia

 

In Memoriam

Forward Paul Kitson, who played for the Americans in 1978, died of a heart attack on August 25, 2005.  Kitson was 49.

 

Links

American Soccer League Media Guides

American Soccer League Programs

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Written by AC

July 28th, 2013 at 2:17 pm

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