Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Southern California Lazers’ tag

1978 Southern California Lazers

leave a comment

Southern California LazersAmerican Soccer League (1978)

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

StadiumMurdock Stadium

Team Colors:

Owner: Jack Young

ASL Championships: None

 

This ultra obscure American soccer program comes from a dealer over in the UK.  The Southern California Lazers were a one-year wonder in the old American Soccer League (1933-1983).  For most of its 50-year existence, the ASL was an ethnically-based minor league operation in Northeastern industrial cities.  But in a mid-1970’s bid for mainstream relevance the league hired former basketball great Bob Cousy as its Commissioner – who admittedly knew nothing about soccer – and took on an ambitious nationwide expansion effort.

A real estate developer named Jack Young was one of the main architects of the ASL’s West Coast expansion, which began in 1976.  Young bought the Los Angeles Skyhawks expansion club, which won the ASL championship under the direction of Head Coach Ron Newman in their first season.   A reported crowd of 9,000 turned out to see the championship game at a high school stadium outside L.A.  After two seasons, Young sold the Skyhawks and formed the Lazers as an ASL expansion franchise in nearby Torrance, California for the 1978 season.

There were several notable players on the club, including Head Coach Laurie Calloway of England.  This was Calloway’s first coaching post – he would later go on to Head Coach positions in the NASL and Major League Soccer.  The biggest name on the club was Rildo, the former Brazilian international defender who played on Brazil’s 1966 World Cup team.  Rildo followed his long-time Brazil and Santos F.C. teammate Pele to America in 1977 to play for the New York Cosmos, but by 1978 he founded himself in the lower divisions with the Lazers.  Midfielder Bernie Fagan had a long career in the NASL from 1974 to 1982, interrupted by this lone 2nd division season with Southern California in 1978.

The Lazers were competitive, finishing the 1978 ASL season at 15-8-1.  They also claimed the 2nd highest attendance figures in the league at 3,195 per match at Murdock Stadium on the campus of El Camino College.  But at the end of the season Jack Young folded the team and departed the soccer business.

 

Southern California Lazers Shop


American Soccer League Logo T-Shirt by Ultras

 

Southern California Lazers Memorabilia

 

Downloads

6-3-1978 Southern California Lazers Roster & Bios Sheet (Program Insert)

1978 American Soccer League Attendance Report

 

Links

The Los Angeles Times published a short profile of Lazers owner Jack Young years later in 1990.  He makes a few references to his American Soccer League experiences in the piece.

American Soccer League Media Guides

American Soccer League Programs

##

Written by AC

December 11th, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Follow

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: