dead leagues metanode

Quaintly named in order to have the catchy acronym; one of two professional football (soccer) leagues formed in the United States in 1967. They had meant to begin play in 1968, but...

The USA (led by Jack Kent Cooke) won out over the rival NPSL in winning sanctioning approval from the American governing body, the USSFA (as it was then known); this meant that the USA had a competitive advantage over the NPSL - the NPSL was an "outlaw" league in the eyes of the USSFA (and thus of FIFA), so no player could sign with an NPSL team for fear of suspension. But the league scrambled and found enough lower-division players to get started in '67, so the USA had to hastily assemble its teams and start a year early in order not to lose mindshare.

The USA's solution was equally slapdash - they imported whole teams from Europe and South America (it was off-season for most leagues around the world), and not very good ones, at that. The Los Angeles Wolves were Wolverhampton Wanderers from England; the Washington Whips were Aberdeen from Scotland. These were the two teams that met in the final - LA beat Washington 6-5 in overtime, FWIW.

Other teams: the Cleveland Stokers (Stoke City, England), Dallas Tornado (Dundee United, Scotland), New York Skyliners (Cerro, Uruguay), Houston Stars (Bangu, Brazil), Vancouver Royal Canadians (Sunderland, England), Chicago Mustangs (Cagliari, Italy), Boston Rovers (Shamrock Rovers, Ireland), and Toronto City (Hibernian, Scotland). Two franchises were represented by amateur clubs: the Detroit Cougars (Glentoran, Northern Ireland) and San Francisco Golden Gate Gales (ADO Den Hague, the Netherlands).

Attendance, after the novelty wore off, was fairly abysmal; top-rank stadia like Yankee Stadium, the Astrodome, and the Cotton Bowl became expensive, cavernous albatrosses. While the USA could boast of victory - with an average of about 7500 spectators per game, compared to the NPSL's 4500 - both leagues lost a ton of money that first year. The NPSL went to court to gain recognition from the USSFA; the two sides eventually settled, and the two leagues merged to form the North American Soccer League.

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