1996 USISL Professional League

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The 1996 USISL Professional League was the second highest of the three outdoor men's leagues run by the United Systems of Independent Soccer Leagues during the summer of 1996.

Overview[edit]

This season, the USISL introduced several changes. First, the league added a third, higher league above the professional league. Consequently, several 1995 Pro League teams moved up and did not compete in the 1996 Pro League. Second, the USISL aligned its rules with the newly created Major Soccer League. In previous seasons, the USISL had used 60 minute halves and a shootout for every foul committed after the seventh foul of each half. Both of these were gone for the 1996 season. The USISL also changed its regular season points system to match MLS. This meant each win was worth 3 points and each shootout win was worth 1 point.[1] The average pay for Pro League players was $200 per week. The regular season began in mid-April 1996.

Prime Network provided live broadcast of the USISL All Star Game and delayed broadcast of the Pro League championship game.[2]

All Star Game[edit]

The USISL held its All Star Game on July 17 in Blaine, Minnesota. The game pitted the USISL Select League All Stars against a team composed of USISL Professional League and USISL Premier League players. The league coaches voted to select the players.[3] Players from the USISL Professional League included Goalkeeper Randy DeDini of the Chico Rooks, Defenders Paul Edwards (North Jersey Imperials) and Guy Norcott (Charleston Battery); Midfielders Craig Beeson (Everett BigFoot) and Pat O'Kelly (Central Jersey); Forwards Victor Medina (D/FW Toros) and Jon Payne (Charlotte Eagles).

Regular season[edit]

  • Regulation win = 3 points
  • Shootout win (SW) = 1 points
  • Loss = 0 points

Northeast Conference[edit]

Place Team GP W SW L GF GA GD Points
1 Central Jersey Riptide 16 11 2 3 44 24 +20 35
2 North Jersey Imperials 16 11 0 5 42 26 +16 33
3 Rhode Island Stingrays 16 10 0 6 26 20 +16 30
4 Reading Rage 16 9 1 6 39 31 +8 28
5 Philadelphia Freedom 16 8 2 6 40 25 +15 26
6 New Hampshire Phantoms 16 8 1 7 32 40 -8 25
7 Baltimore Bays 16 5 0 11 34 15 -19 15
8 Albany Alleycats 16 4 0 12 34 44 -10 12
9 Worcester Wildfire 16 0 1 15 19 57 -38 1

South Atlantic Conference[edit]

Place Team GP W SW L GF GA GD Points
1 Charlotte Eagles 16 12 0 4 49 25 +24 36
2 Charleston Battery 16 11 1 4 46 23 +23 34
3 Wilmington Hammerheads 16 6 1 9 20 30 -10 19
4 Washington Mustangs 16 6 0 10 25 37 -12 18
5 Mobile Revelers 16 3 2 11 15 33 -18 11
6 Chattanooga Express 16 1 0 15 18 55 -37 3

Central Conference[edit]

Place Team GP W SW L GF GA GD Points
1 Dallas/Fort Worth Toros 16 9 0 7 33 31 +2 27
2 Rockford Raptors 16 8 1 7 34 28 +6 25
3 Tulsa Roughnecks 16 8 0 8 38 34 +4 24
4 San Antonio Pumas 16 6 0 10 25 37 -12 18
5 Houston Hurricanes 16 5 0 11 28 43 -15 15

Western Conference[edit]

Place Team GP W SW L GF GA GD Points
1 Hawaii Tsumani 16 10 0 6 31 19 +12 30
2 Chico Rooks 16 9 1 6 23 16 +7 28
3 Everett Bigfoot 16 7 3 6 27 20 +7 24
4 San Fernando Valley Golden Eagles 16 7 3 6 20 22 -2 24
5 Yakima Reds 16 8 0 8 29 20 +9 24
6 Cascade Surge 16 7 0 9 33 23 +10 21
7 Central Valley Hydra 16 3 0 13 16 48 -32 9

Playoffs[edit]

The Mobile Revelers made the playoffs despite having only eleven points. This happened because the South Atlantic Conference had four guaranteed play-off spots. The Charleston Battery received a bye into the playoffs as host of the championship final. Therefore, the league went to the Revelers as the next South Atlantic Conference team in line.

Conference Semifinals[edit]

  • North Jersey Imperials 3-1 Rhode Island Stingrays
  • Charlotte Eagles 1-0 Mobile Revelers (forfeit)
  • Wilmington Hammerheads 3-1 Washington Mustangs
  • D/FW Toros 1-0 (SO) Houston Hurricanes
  • Tulsa Roughnecks 3-2 (SO) Rockford Raptors
  • Chico Rooks 3-0 Valley Golden Eagles
  • Everete BigFoot 2-1 Hawaii Tsunami
August 16, 1996
Reading Rage (PA) 1-2 Central Jersey Riptide (NJ)
Matt Woolley Goal 25'
Eric Puls Yellow cardRed card 43'
Archie Moylan Yellow cardRed card
Goal 4' Pat O'Kelly
Goal 74' Pete Schneiders
Pete Schneiders Yellow cardRed card

Conference finals[edit]

Northeast Conference[edit]

August 16, 1996
North Jersey Imperials (NJ) 5-0 Central Jersey Riptide (NJ)
Dave Fitzgerald Goal Goal
Mahwah, New Jersey
Attendance: 300


August 17, 1996
7:30 PM EST
Central Jersey Riptide (NJ) 2-2 OT North Jersey Imperials (NJ)
Ozrek Goal
Crowley Goal
Goal DeLuca
Goal (PK) Lucey
  Penalties  
2-3
Raritan, New Jersey
Attendance: 2,004
  • North Jersey Imperials advanced to Sizzlin' Six finals.

South Atlantic Conference[edit]

August 15, 1996
Charlotte Eagles (NC) 0-3 Wilmington Hammerheads (NC)
Goal Goal 31' Dewan Bader
Charlotte, North Carolina
Attendance: 1,045
  • Wilmington Hammerheads advanced to the Sizzlin' Six finals.

Central Conference[edit]

August 16, 1996
Tulsa Roughnecks (OK) 1-3 DFW Toros (TX)
Goal Berti Generes
Goal Victor Medina
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Attendance: 704
  • Originally planned for August 17th, the second game was postponed until Sunday morning, August 18th, because of heavy rainfall and flooding which rendered the playing field unusable on Saturday.
August 18, 1996
7:00 AM CST
DFW Toros (TX) 1-0 Tulsa Roughnecks (OK)
  • D/FW Toros advanced to the Sizzlin' Six finals.

Western Conference[edit]

August 17, 1996
Chico Rooks (CA) 0-0 Everett BigFoot (WA)
  Penalties  
Manny Ugbah Penalty scored
Dean Freeman Penalty scored
2-1 Penalty missed
Penalty missed
Penalty missed
Penalty missed
Chico, California
Attendance: 1,056
  • Chico Rooks advanced to Sizzlin' Six finals.

Sizzlin' Six Tournament[edit]

The Sizzlin’ Six Tournament was a six-team, two group, round robin tournament. Each of the four conference champions entered the tournament, along with national finals host Charleston Battery and the Charlotte Eagles who had the regular-season record among the conference runners-up.

Each team received 3 points for a win, 1 for a tie and 1 bonus point for each game in which they scored three or more goals. The top two teams in each group with the most points advanced to the semifinals in Charleston, South Carolina.

Group A[edit]

Place Team W L GF GA GD Points
1 Charleston Battery 2 0 4 2 +2 6
2 Chico Rooks 1 1 3 3 0 3
3 DFW Toros 0 2 2 4 -2 0
August 19, 1996
8:00 PM EST
Charleston Battery (SC) 2-1 Dallas/Fort Worth Toros (TX)
Stoney Field, Charleston, South Carolina


August 20, 1996
8:00 PM EST
Chico Rooks (CA) 2-1 OT DFW Toros (TX)
Dean Freeman Goal 27'
Mauricio De Melo Goal 120'
Goal 8' Edgar Hernandez
Red card Baltazar Ascensio
Red card Jose Bazan
Stoney Field, Charleston, South Carolina
Attendance: 320


August 21, 1996
8:00 PM EST
Charleston Battery (SC) 2-1 Chico Rooks (CA)
Patrick Olalere Goal 12'
Files Goal 82'
Goal 45' Juan Lojas
Stoney Field, Charleston, South Carolina
Attendance: 1,539

Group B[edit]

Place Team W L GF GA GD Points
1 Charlotte Eagles 2 0 7 2 +5 7*
2 Wilmington Hammerheads 1 1 3 1 +2 4*
3 North Jersey Imperials 0 2 2 9 -7 0
  • Charlotte and Wilmington scored three or more goals in one game each, giving them each one bonus point.
August 19, 1996
8:00 PM EST
Wilmington Hammerheads (NC) 3-0 North Jersey Imperials (NJ)
Laney Field, Wilmington, North Carolina


August 20, 1996
8:00 PM EST
Charlotte Eagles (NC) 6-2 North Jersey Imperials (NJ)
Keith Dakin Goal 11' Goal 24' Goal 46'
Jeremy Sorzano Goal 36'
Philibert Jones Goal 50'
Donovan Francis Goal 59'
Goal 12' David Price
Goal 30' Gerry Lucey
Laney Field, Wilmington, North Carolina
Attendance: 236


August 21, 1996
8:00 PM EST
Wilmington Hammerheads (NC) 0-1 Charlotte Eagles (NC)
Goal 33' Keith Dakin
Laney Field, Wilmington, North Carolina
Attendance: 1,250

Semifinals[edit]

August 23, 1996
6:00 PM EST
Charlotte Eagles (NC) 1-0 Chico Rooks (CA)
Stoney Field, Charleston, South Carolina


August 23, 1996
8:00 PM EST
Charleston Battery (SC) 2-0 Wilmington Hammerheads (NC)
Stoney Field, Charleston, South Carolina

Final[edit]

August 24, 1996
8:00 PM EST
Charleston Battery (SC) v Charlotte Eagles (NC)
  Penalties  
3-2
Stoney Field, Charleston, South Carolina

Points leaders[edit]

Rank Scorer Club Goals Assists Points
1 Philibert Jones Charlotte Eagles 18 20 45
2 Patrick Olalere Charleston Battery 20 5 45
3 Craig Beeson Everette BigFoot 17 2 36
4 Jon Payne Charlotte Eagles 14 8 36
5 Carlos Rocha Rhode Island Stingrays 14 3 33
6 Robert DeLuca North Jersey Imperials 14 3 31
7 Pat O'Kelly North Jersey Imperials 12 6 30

Honors[4][edit]

All-League:

External links[edit]

References[edit]