January 2010

…NASL, History Repeating

When you create a new national professional soccer league, there are only so many names available for your invention.  You have to describe the geography with terms like national or North America, or U.S.  You have to include the term soccer.  And you have to use a collective noun like association, or league. Then you put the words in order.  Seriously, when naming a soccer league you have fewer options than putting together Mr. Potato Head.

So occasionally we end up with names that get recycled.  For example NASL, the North American Soccer League.

After the 1966 World Cup generated some serious buzz in the U.S., three groups announced plans to form a professional soccer league in the United States.  One barely got further than the announcement.  The other two, the National Professional Soccer League and the United Soccer Association, rushed to start ahead of each other and played separate seasons in 1967.  The NPSL had a CBS contract but not the sanction of the United States Soccer Federation.  The entire league had six Americans on its teams among its 179 players.

The USA did not even attempt to recruit Americans.  League organizers imported whole teams from foreign cities for the 1967 season.  The Vancouver Royal Canadians were actually the club from Sunderland, England.  The New York Skyliners were from Cerro, Uruguay.  The USA had no national television carrier but USSF blessing.

The two leagues merged for the 1968 season under the name, North American Soccer League.

Jamie Clary

  • doorworker

    Hey, Mike Connell!
    He’s why I took #6 or my jerseys as a kid.