National Professional Soccer League (1967)
|Other club(s) from||Canada|
|Folded||merged with USA to form NASL in 1968|
|Number of teams||10|
|Last champions||Oakland Clippers
|Most championships||Oakland Clippers (1)|
The National Professional Soccer League (NPSL) was a North American professional soccer league that existed for only the 1967 season before merging with the United Soccer Association (USA) to form the North American Soccer League. It had ten charter members, nine from the United States and one from Canada. To encourage attacking play, the NPSL introduced a new standings points system that was later used by the NASL – 6 points for a win, 3 for a draw, 0 for a loss and 1 bonus point for each of the first three goals scored. The circuit's commissioner was Ken Macker, an American publisher of three Philippines-based newspapers. The name National Professional Soccer League was revived in 1990 and used by a United States professional indoor soccer league.
In 1966 a group of sports entrepreneurs led by Bill Cox and Robert Hermann formed a consortium called the North American Professional Soccer League with the intention of forming a professional soccer league in United States and Canada. However this was just one of three groups with similar plans. The NAPSL eventually merged with one of these groups, the National Soccer League, led by Richard Millen, to form the National Professional Soccer League. A third group, the United Soccer Association was sanctioned by both the USSFA and FIFA. Because of this the NPSL was branded an outlaw league by FIFA and players faced sanctions for signing with it. Despite this the NPSL, which secured a TV contract from CBS, set about recruiting players, and announced it would be ready to launch in 1967.
|Atlanta Chiefs||Atlanta Stadium (50,893)||William Bartholomay (Atlanta Braves)|
|Baltimore Bays||Memorial Stadium (52,185)||Jerold Hoffberger (Baltimore Orioles)|
|Chicago Spurs||Soldier Field (100,000)||William B. Cutler, Michael Butler|
|Los Angeles Toros||Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (93,000)||Dan Reeves (Los Angeles Rams)|
|New York Generals||Yankee Stadium (67,000)||RKO General Inc., Elser Enterprises Inc.|
|Oakland Clippers||Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (53,000)||Joseph O'Neill, H.T. Hilliard|
|Philadelphia Spartans||Temple University Stadium (20,000)||John Rooney (Pittsburgh Steelers)|
|Pittsburgh Phantoms||Forbes Field (35,714)||Peter Block, Richard George (Pittsburgh Penguins)|
|St. Louis Stars||Busch Memorial Stadium (50,000)||Robert Hermann/Bill Bidwill (St. Louis Cardinals-football)|
|Toronto Falcons||Varsity Stadium (25,000)||Joseph Peters|
1967 season recap
The NPSL kicked off on Sunday, April 16 with a full slate of five matches attended by a total of 46,547 fans. The largest crowd of the day was found in Philadelphia, where 14,163 cheered the hometown Spartans to a 2–0 victory over the Toronto Falcons. The most notable however, was Baltimore's 1-0 home victory over Atlanta in front of a crowd of just 8,434. It was televised by CBS which signed a two-year contract to broadcast a game every Sunday afternoon live and in color. Play-by-play voice Jack Whitaker was joined by the former Northern Ireland international Danny Blanchflower as a pundit. Blanchflower was not impressed with the standard of play and did not hesitate to say so.
The NPSL was also criticised after Pittsburgh's 2-1 triumph over Toronto in the Falcons' home opener on Sunday, May 14. Of the twenty-one fouls that afternoon, eleven were called to allow CBS to insert commercials into its telecast. Referee Peter Rhodes also admitted that he had forced players to fake injuries to serve the same purpose. This raised many questions about whether the television networks and its sponsors were having too much influence over televised sporting events.
The NPSL did however attract some notable players including three former Aston Villa players Phil Woosnam, Vic Crowe and Peter McParland who, together with another veteran of the English League, Ron Newman all turned out for Atlanta Chiefs. Two ex-Real Madrid players, Juan Santisteban and Yanko Daucik, also turned out for Baltimore Bays and Toronto Falcons respectively. Santisteban made the NPSL All-Star team and Daucik finished as the league’s top scorer.
The NPSL's only season concluded when Western Division champion Oakland defeated the Bays, winners of the Eastern Division. Dennis Viollet gave Baltimore a 1-0 win on Sunday, September 3 before a home crowd of 16,619. Six days later, in the second leg at Oakland, Dragan Djukic scored a hat trick as the Clippers won 4-1 in front of 9,037.
1967 Regular season
W = Wins, L = Losses, T= Ties GF = Goals For, GA = Goals Against, Pts= point system
6 points for a win, 3 points for a tie, 0 points for a loss, 1 point for each goal scored up to three per game.
|New York Generals||32||11||13||8||60||58||143|
|St. Louis Stars||32||14||11||7||54||57||156|
|Los Angeles Toros||32||7||15||10||42||61||114|
NPSL League leaders
GP = Games Played, G = Goals (worth 2 points), A = Assists (worth 1 point), Pts = Points
|Rudi Kolbl||St. Louis||23||15||8||38|
|Eli Durante||Los Angeles||23||15||5||35|
|Bora Kostić||St. Louis||28||12||5||29|
|Norbert Pogrzeba||St. Louis||31||11||6||28|
*Led league in assists
|Mirko Stojanovic, Oakland||G|
|Mel Scott, Oakland||D|
|Badu DaCruz, Baltimore||D|
|Juan Santisteban, Baltimore||M|
|Ilija Mitic, Oakland||M|
|Ruben Navarro, Philadelphia||M|
|Willy Roy, Chicago||F|
|Co Prins, Pittsburgh||F|
|Mario Baesso, Oakland||F|
|Art Welch, Baltimore||F|
|Emment Kapengwe, Atlanta||F|
NPSL Final 1967
|Aggregate||First leg||Second leg||Attendance|
|Oakland Clippers||4 - 2||Baltimore Bays||0 - 1||4 - 1||September 3 Memorial Stadium 16,619
September 9 Oakland-Alameda Coliseum 9,037
|September 3||Baltimore Bays||1–0||Oakland Clippers||Memorial Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland|
|Dennis Viollet||Attendance: 16,619
Referee: Walter Crossley
|September 9||Oakland Clippers||4–1||Baltimore Bays||Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, Oakland, California|
|Guy Saint-Vil||Attendance: 9,037
Referee: Mike Ashkenazi
1967 NPSL Champions: Oakland Clippers
Post season awards
In December 1967 the NPSL merged with the United Soccer Association to form the North American Soccer League. As a result of the merger several of the original NPSL franchises folded or relocated. This was partly to avoid some cities having two teams. Philadelphia Spartans and Pittsburgh Phantoms both folded, while Chicago Spurs became Kansas City Spurs and Los Angeles Toros became San Diego Toros. Together with New York Generals, Baltimore Bays, Atlanta Chiefs, Toronto Falcons, St. Louis Stars and Oakland Clippers, these teams then became founding members of the NASL. However, only Atlanta Chiefs, who won the inaugural NASL title, and St. Louis Stars enjoyed any longevity. The remaining franchises all folded by 1970.
- Maule, Tex. "Kickoff For A Babel Of Booters," Sports Illustrated, April 24, 1967.
- 1966 in American soccer
- 1967 in American soccer
- 1968 in American soccer
- 1969 in American soccer
- NASL Rosters
- Official 1968 North American Soccer League Guide. St. Louis: The Sporting News, 1968.
- Durso, Joseph. "Local Pro Soccer Teams May Share Stadium With Yanks in Spring," The New York Times, Sunday, February 12, 1967.