Calgary Kickers

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Calgary Kickers were a Canadian soccer team which competed in the Canadian Soccer League from 1987 to 1989. They were named the Calgary Strikers for the 1989 season. Their home stadium was Mewata Stadium in Calgary.

Founded 1986/7
Dissolved 1989
Ground Mewata Stadium
League Canadian Soccer League

History[edit]

The Kickers' gensis was a team formed in 1953 and represented Alberta inter-provincially several times including winning the 1974 Challenge Trophy or the Canadian National Championship and held exhibition matches against professional sides such as Edmonton Drillers.[1] Prior to the 1987 season, the Kickers had sold more than 2,000 season tickets.[2]

The Calgary Kickers joined the CSL for the league's inaugural season in 1987. That season was the team’s best as it ran to an 11-5-4 regular season record and then hosted the championship game after overcoming the Vancouver 86ers in overtime in the playoff semi-finals. On October 6, 1987, the Kickers won the league title with a 2-1 victory over the Hamilton Steelers. Nick Gilbert of the Kickers was the league's leading goal scorer.[3]

The Kickers were unable to sustain their success and fell to a 6-6-13 record the next season under coach Keith Wilson and later Dave Randall.[4] In the playoffs, Calgary lost to the Winnipeg Fury in the Western Division Play-In Round two games to nil after 0-2 and 2-1 (OT) defeats. In 1988, Calgary also played each of the U.S. based Western Soccer Alliance teams. These games counted in the WSA standings even though Calgary was not a member of that league.[5] Following the 1988 season the team folded and the players were dispersed via a draft due to unpaid wages. Nick Gilbert had been traded for cash and a draft pick to Toronto Blizzard.

In 1989, a new community owned team named the Calgary Strikers purchased the CSL franchise under coach Tony Towers, but the team did little better than the previous season on and off the field. They earned an 8-3-15 record and by September injuries and player availability due to finances affected results especially the final away game in which only twelve players traveled. The team was in a back and forth competition for third place with Winnipeg most of the season. They earned it with a late season surge of three wins including their final game 2-3 over Winnipeg. Their third place finish meant they got the last Western Division playoff spot in the Play-In Round against the Edmonton Brickmen who defeated them 1-3 and 0-0 to end their season. After the season despite a private individual rumored to be interested in operating the team in 1990 fronting money for the community-owned team to travel for the playoffs, the team folded.[6]


Honors[edit]

Championship

  • 1987

MVP

Leading scorer

All Star Team

Record[edit]

Year Team Name League Record Regular Season Post-season
1987 Calgary Kickers CSL 11-5-4 1st Western Champions
1988 Calgary Kickers CSL 6-6-16 3rd Western Play-In Round
1989 Calgary Strikers CSL 8-3-15 3rd Western Play-In Round

Note: Record is W-D-L

References[edit]

  1. ^ Konotopetz, Gyle (May 17, 1983). "Ranger-Kickers spring into action". Calgary Herald Newspaper. Retrieved January 18, 2015. 
  2. ^ MacDonald, Archie (February 26, 1987). "Soccer rebirth". Vancouver Sun Newspaper. Retrieved January 18, 2015. 
  3. ^ Litterer, David (December 12, 2011). "The Year in American Soccer 1988". American Soccer History Archives. Retrieved May 22, 2014. 
  4. ^ Litterer, David (June 15, 2008). "The Year in American Soccer 1988". American Soccer History Archives. Retrieved May 22, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Western Soccer Alliance 1988 Season". A-League Archives. January 25, 2007. Retrieved May 22, 2014. 
  6. ^ Litterer, David (May 30, 2008). "The Year in American Soccer 1989". American Soccer History Archives. Retrieved May 22, 2014.