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Posts Tagged ‘NASL’

While waiting for good news about signings from the City Islanders, I get this: Our cross-state rivals have signed our all-time leading goal scorer, and one of our best defenders has left to join AC St. Louis. Oh boy.

Penn St. alumni and Harrisburg great Chad Severs has been signed by the Pittsburgh Riverhounds this offseason. Chad made 51 appearances for the Isles and holds the all-time scoring mark with 31. In addition to the depature of Tiyi Shipalane to D.C. United and the retirement of Steve Fisher, the departure of Severs raises questions about the Islanders firepower this coming season. That is something Isles fans will be wondering about for the next weeks as the season approaches; hopefully the FO has identifed some young offensive talent at the various combines and camps held throughout the off-season.

Also making news this week is the departure of defensive stalwart Tim Velten. Tim has been signed by NASL expansion side AC St. Louis, his hometown team, and he joins the list of Islanders who will not feature at Skyline this season. Though all of these departures mean there will be some unfamiliar faces on the island this season, the news makes me anxious for the signings to come. Regardless, Skyline will still be a fun place to take in a game and Socceritaville will still be calling my name.

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Danny Califf sports a mohawk at Union camp

Philadelphia Union will head to Guadalajara, Mexico, for a one-week training session later this month. Let’s see if the snow follows them there like it has to Greensboro, N.C.

Union manager Peter Nowak tells the Inquirer he plans to tailor his system to the players, not vice versa. Does that mean farewell to the 3-5-2 for a while?

Union defender Shavar Thomas is off to join the Jamaican national team for its friendly Wednesday against Argentina.

The NASL-USL released their 2010 schedule yesterday. Here’s the logo the combined Division 2 league will be using this year, courtesy of Dr. Frankenstein.

Want to buy an English soccer team? There’s an ad in today’s Financial Times for the sale of Crystal Palace, who play in England’s second division.

The EPL’s bottom eight teams have won a combined eight of their last 82 matches, the London Guardian notes. Score one for MLS and league balance. For a European league with more balance, check out The New York Times’ look at the German Bundesliga.

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This concludes the two-part “Great Philly Soccer Teams: Philadelphia Atoms.” You can read Part I here.

Before Atoms coach Al Miller took the young team to England to train and to scout for some British players to fill out the roster, back in Philadelphia, Atoms general manager Bob Ehlinger’s marketing skills were put into play. In addition to players,the team needed a name. So a name-the-team contest was held with the winner being awarded an all-expenses paid to the FA Cup Final. Press coverage was cultivated. Given the woeful state of Philadelphia professional sports at the time, the local press enthusiastically covered the new team. Favorable coverage was aided by the fact that throughout the season Miller proved to be a natural with the press.

The Atoms first game was away to the St. Louis Stars. Like the the Atoms, the Stars also fielded a squad filled with Americans, as they had done for years. It proved to be an inauspicious start as the Atoms lost 1-0 in front of a paltry 6,782 spectators. Concerns about whether the Atoms would be any good aside, some wondered if teams filled with Americans would be able to draw fans: with the exception of the Stars and Atoms, only 19 Americans were on the rosters of the other seven teams then in the NASL.

Steve Holroyd writes, “Skeptics around the league expected that the ‘Philadelphia Experiment’ would also fall flat. Philadelphia soccer fans thought otherwise: a league-record 21,700 fans went to the home opener at Veterans Stadium on May 11, “after a parade of 3,000 youngsters in full soccer dress welcomed the team.” The debut home game was against Lamar Hunt’s Dallas Tornado, a team that had won the NASL championship in 1971 and had made it to the semifinals in 1972. Though the match ended as a scoreless draw, the Atoms had shown they could hold their own against the league’s best. Throughout the season the fans kept coming. By the end of the season, attendance at Atoms games would be nearly twice the league average with 11,382 per game. (more…)

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Philadelphia Atoms LogoThe Philadelphia Atoms joined the NASL as an expansion team in 1973. They were the first expansion team to win a championship in its first year in any American professional sport. That they accomplished this with a squad managed by an American coach that was largely made up of Americans – many of whom were local products – led to the first Sports Illustrated cover to feature a soccer player. Their victory was in no small measure responsible for saving a then faltering NASL from dissolution.

Philadelphia soccer history has many important examples of teams that were backed by businesses: the John A. Manz team, who in 1897 became the first team from outside of  Southern New England/Northern New Jersey to win the AFA’s American Cup, was backed by a brewer; Bethlehem Steel FC, the most dominant team in American soccer of the 1910s and 1920s, by the steel company; Uhrik Truckers, winners of two ASL championships in the 1950s, by a trucking company. All of these teams, however, competed in leagues that were either amateur or semi-professional against teams that were largely backed by the kinds of ethnic social clubs that have contributed so much to American soccer history.

The Philadelphia Atoms were part of a new trend in American soccer toward professionalism in which teams, backed by business owners or groups, would have unprecedented media coverage on a national scale. The resulting soccer explosion of the 1970s led to the rapid expansion of youth soccer programs across the country. This in turn led to the movement of soccer into the national sport consciousness, the rise of the US national team as a legitimate power in world soccer, and the eventual establishment of a stable and growing professional league.  (more…)

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Ukrainian Nationals CrestThe Ukrainian Nationals, also known as “Tryzub” Philadelphia, played in the American Soccer League (ASL) from 1957 until 1970. Along the way they won six national championships, four U.S. Open Cups and two Lewis Cups. They won “the double”  – the league championship and U.S. Open Cup –  in 1961 and 1963. They won “the mini double” – the league championship and the league cup or Lewis Cup – in 1964.

Like so many teams in the history of soccer in Philadelphia, the Ukrainian Nationals’ beginnings can be traced to an ethnic social club. As the Philadelphia Ukrainians, they first took the field in 1950 and by 1956 had reached the finals of the National Amateur Cup, losing to St. Louis Kutis S.C. The Philadelphia Ukrainians decided to turn pro after that and joined the ASL for the 1957-58 season. For reasons that are at present unknown to me, the Philadelphia Ukrainians were suspended by the United States Soccer Football Association one week into the season. The Ukrainian Nationals were formed in their place, taking part of their name from the by now defunct Philadelphia Nationals. They went on to finish second in the ASL their first season. During their time in the ASL they never finished lower than third. (more…)

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The U.S. Soccer Federation has brokered a deal for a single Division 2 soccer league to operate this year.

USSF officials announced the deal Thursday as a one-year compromise between the United Soccer Leagues and the breakaway teams that moved to form their own league, the North American Soccer League.

“This agreement allows us to continue to develop the professional game in many important markets around the country, while at the same time working towards the long-term stability of Division 2 professional soccer,” U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said.

The league will operate with two six-team conferences, one dubbed the USL Conference and the other named the NASL Conference. The Vancouver Whitecaps, Montreal Impact, Carolina RailHawks, Crystal Palace Baltimore, Miami FC and Carolina Railhawks will play in the NASL Conference. The USL Conference will include the Portland Timbers, Puerto Rico Islanders, Austin Aztex FC, Rochester Rhinos, Tampa Bay Rowdies and and unnamed Minnesota team to replace the Minnesota Thunder.

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Jeremiah White headed to Qatar? Greg Seltzer says so. Like him, I’m waiting to hear back from White to confirm that. If so, that would be a blow to Philadelphia Union, who talked with the American free agent winger last week.  We’ll keep you posted.

Veron: No. 1 in South America.

U.S. Soccer Federation refuses to sanction USL-1 or NASL and orders them back to the drawing board for another week. Interesting analysis from Andrea Canales. Not sure she’s right, but she’s worth reading.

Juan Sebastian Veron named South American Player of the Year. Nice award for a classy player.

The New York Times looks at financial problems caused by government-funded stadiums. Union Field at Chester, with $77 million in government support, may be among the last to see such generous government funding. (The story ran on Christmas, but it’s still relevant.)

Portsmouth seeking new owners – again.

Luca Toni moves to Roma on loan. Now maybe he’ll shut up and play.

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