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.
The NPSL kicked off on Sunday, April 16 with a full slate of five matches. The most notable 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'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.