Continental Indoor Soccer League

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Continental Indoor
Soccer League
Continental Indoor Soccer League logo.png
First season1993
Country United States
Number of teams15
Last championsSeattle SeaDogs
Most championshipsMonterrey La Raza
(2 titles)
TV partnersPrime Network
FSN Southwest

The Continental Indoor Soccer League (CISL) was a professional indoor soccer league that played from 1993 to 1997.


In the summer of 1989 Dr Jerry Buss, the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers and California Sports, told his executive Vice President, Ron Weinstein, he was closing the doors on the Los Angeles Lazers of the Major Indoor Soccer League, MISL, and that if he ever wanted to "create a professional indoor soccer league that played in the summer months, out from under the shadow of the NBA, NFL, NHL, NCAA Football and NCAA Basketball", he would support the endeavor. It was then that the seed was planted in Ron's mind.[1] One year later, in the fall of 1990, Ron Weinstein incorporated the Continental Indoor Soccer League, CISL. Ron, along with his business partner Jorge Ragde, drafted all the necessary franchise documents to bring the league into fruition and create what was the first professional sports league to operate under the "single entity" formula in 1991.[2] Jerry Buss stood by Ron every step of the way until Earvin "Magic" Johnson announced he was HIV positive.[3] Jerry's mind was understandably taken elsewhere for a short period of time. Prior to his temporary absence, Jerry and Ron reached out to Phoenix Suns owner, Jerry Colangelo, and convinced him to be one of the inaugural members of the League.[4]

In Dr. Buss's absence, Colangelo stepped up to the plate to take the lead role in working with Ron to attract NBA and NHL owners. Through Buss's and Colangelo's cooperative efforts they orchestrated two CISL meetings in conjunction with their own NBA Board of Governors meetings. The first was held in 1991 in Marina Del Rey and the second in New York City in 1992. Needless to say their efforts paid off and the CISL was launched with 7 teams committed to begin playing in the summer of 1993 with another eight contracted for 1994.[5]

Monterrey La Raza made the CISL the first US league to have a team from Mexico participating. In 1995, a second team entered the league, the Mexico City Toros.[6] By the end of the 1995 season, the third year of the league, 50% of the teams were already profitable; a feat unprecedented in professional sports history. In 1996, Ron signed a three-year agreement with FOX Sports to televise a game of the week nationally in prime time. Concurrently he signed with General Motors to a three-year million dollar contract to be the official car of the CISL.[7] That same year, the Indiana Twisters became the next expansion franchise admitted to the league.

"The league has become very credible. ... We definitely look upon ourselves as a major-league sport. If you look at the roots of the NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball and NFL, we are so far ahead of the game from where they were when they finished their fourth year." Ron Weinstein was quoted saying to the Houston Chronicle.[8]

In the fall of 1997, the surprising demise of the league took place primarily due to differences of direction between the NBA/NHL owners and three of the leagues non NBA/NHL teams: Dallas, Portland and Houston. They collaborated in an effort to leave the CISL and form their own league, The Premier Soccer Alliance. It is the opinion of many executives within the sports world, that indoor Soccer has never again reached the pinnacle of the CISL since operations formally ceased in the winter of 1998.[9]

The Continental Indoor Soccer League Championship Trophy was titled the "Lawrence Trophy" named in honor of the commissioner and founder's father, Lawrence Albert Weinstein.


Team NBA/NHL Affiliate City/Area Arena
Los Angeles United/Anaheim Splash Los Angeles Lakers/Private owner Los Angeles, California/Anaheim, California The Forum/Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim
Arizona Sandsharks Phoenix Suns Phoenix, Arizona America West Arena
Carolina Vipers Private owner Charlotte, North Carolina Independence Arena
Dallas Sidekicks Dallas Mavericks Dallas Reunion Arena
Detroit Neon/Safari Detroit Pistons Auburn Hills, Michigan The Palace of Auburn Hills
Houston Hotshots Private owner Houston The Summit
Indianapolis/Indiana Twisters Private owner Indianapolis Market Square Arena
Las Vegas Dustdevils Private owner Las Vegas MGM Grand Garden Arena/Thomas & Mack Center
Monterrey La Raza Private owner Monterrey, Nuevo León Gimnasio Del Tec de Monterrey
Mexico Toros Private owner Mexico City Palacio de los Deportes
Portland Pride Private owner Portland, Oregon Memorial Coliseum/Moda Center
Pittsburgh Stingers Pittsburgh Penguins Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Civic Arena
Sacramento Knights Sacramento Kings Sacramento, California ARCO Arena
San Diego Sockers Private owner San Diego San Diego Sports Arena
San Jose Grizzlies San Jose Sharks San Jose, California San Jose Arena
Seattle SeaDogs Seattle SuperSonics Seattle Seattle Center Coliseum/KeyArena
Washington Warthogs Washington Capitals Landover, Maryland USAir Arena

Lawrence Trophy Champions[edit]

Season Champion Series Runner-Up
1993 Dallas Sidekicks 2–1 San Diego Sockers
1994 Las Vegas Dustdevils 2–1 Dallas Sidekicks
1995 Monterrey La Raza 2–1 Sacramento Knights
1996 Monterrey La Raza 2–0 Houston Hotshots
1997 Seattle SeaDogs 2–0 Houston Hotshots

By Team[edit]

Team Championships Runner Up Champions Runner-Up
Monterrey La Raza 2 0 1995, 1996
Dallas Sidekicks 1 1 1993 1994
Las Vegas Dustdevils 1 0 1994
Seattle SeaDogs 1 0 1997
Houston Hotshots 0 2 1996, 1997
Sacramento Knights 0 1 1995
San Diego Sockers 0 1 1993

Annual awards[edit]

Most Valuable Player[edit]

Goalkeeper of the Year[edit]

Coach of the Year[edit]

Rookie of the Year[edit]

Defender of the Year[edit]

Playoff MVP[edit]


  1. ^ "Houston Chronicle".
  2. ^ CISL Communications (1997). CISL Official Guide. Sports Press LLC.
  3. ^ "ESPN". September 2004.
  4. ^ "Jerry Colangelo Archives • Fun While It Lasted".
  5. ^ {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ "The Daily".
  7. ^ "Sports Business Journal".
  8. ^ Duarte, Joseph. "Cisl's Weinstein Calls League Credible and Eyes Expansion". Houston Chronicle.
  9. ^ Henderson, Martin (December 24, 1997). "Soccer League Will Cease Operations". Los Angeles Times.

External links[edit]