Major Indoor Soccer League (1978–92)

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Major Indoor Soccer League (1978–92)
Misl1.png
Sportindoor soccer
Founded1977
Ceased1992
No. of teamshigh of 14
CountryUnited States
Last
champion(s)
San Diego Sockers
Most titlesSan Diego Sockers (8 titles)

The Major Indoor Soccer League, known in its final two seasons as the Major Soccer League, was an indoor soccer league in the United States that played matches from fall 1978 to spring 1992.

History[edit]

The MISL was founded by businessmen Ed Tepper and Earl Foreman in October 1977.

The league fielded six teams for its inaugural 1978–79 season. Before folding after 14 seasons of competition, at the conclusion of the 1991–92 season, a total of 24 franchises – under 31 team names (seven teams would change city/name) – had played in the MISL.

Over its life, MISL teams would be based in 27 different cities – with two different teams, at different times, playing in Cleveland, East Rutherford, New Jersey, St. Louis and Uniondale, New York.

The Houston Summit (1978–80)/Baltimore Blast (1980–92) franchise was the only one to compete for the entire 14 seasons of the MISL's existence. The next longest-lived franchise, and the longest in a single city, were the 13 seasons of the Wichita Wings team, which missed only the inaugural 1978–79 season. The third longest-lived franchise was the 12 seasons of the Detroit Lightning (1979–80)/San Francisco Fog (1980–81)/Kansas City Comets (1981–91) franchise, which missed only the first and last seasons.

The San Diego Sockers was the most successful franchise on the soccer pitch, winning eight of the MISL's 14 overall championships (57%) – which also equates to eight championships during the team's nine seasons in the league (89%). The New York Arrows won the MISL's first four championships, then folded after the league's sixth season.

The most successful player in the MISL is arguably Steve Zungul, a Yugoslav American striker who was MISL Most Valuable Player six times, was the Scoring Champion six times, the Pass Master (most assists) four times, played on eight championship-winning teams (and one runner-up), and won Championship Series Most Valuable Player four times. Zungul is the MISL's all-time leader in goals (652, nearly 200 ahead of the second highest scorer), assists (471, nearly 100 ahead of second) and points (1,123, nearly 300 ahead of second).

Despite ongoing financial hardships, the MISL was a huge success.[1] The league averaged 7,644 fans per game over its 14 regular seasons, and averaged 9,049 fans per game over its 14 playoff runs.

After the MISL folded in 1992, four of the league's seven franchises would continue operation: Cleveland Crunch and Wichita Wings joined the National Professional Soccer League; Dallas Sidekicks and San Diego Sockers helped found the Continental Indoor Soccer League.

MISL inspires Arena Football[edit]

The concept was initially so popular that in 1981, it helped pave the way for the creation of another indoor sports league, the Arena Football League, and subsequently the entire sport of indoor "gridiron" football. During the MISL All-Star Game at Madison Square Garden, National Football League promotions director Jim Foster sketched a design of what a football field would look like on the back of a 9x12 manila envelope.[2] That inspiration gave birth to the concept now known as arena football (also indoor football) and the AFL was born six years later. Foster credits the MISL for the inspiration.[1][3][4]

MISL Teams[edit]

Team City/Area Arena Seasons
Baltimore Blast
Houston Summit, 1978–80
Baltimore, Maryland
Houston, Texas
Baltimore Arena
The Summit
1978–92
Buffalo Stallions Buffalo, New York Buffalo Memorial Auditorium 1979–84
Chicago Horizons Rosemont, Illinois Rosemont Horizon 1980–81
Chicago Sting Chicago Chicago Stadium
Rosemont Horizon
1982–83*, 1984–88
Cincinnati Kids Cincinnati Riverfront Coliseum 1978–79
Cleveland Crunch Cleveland, Ohio Richfield Coliseum 1989–92
Cleveland Force Cleveland, Ohio Richfield Coliseum 1978–88
Dallas Sidekicks Dallas, Texas Reunion Arena 1984–92
Golden Bay Earthquakes Oakland, California Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Arena 1982–83*
Kansas City Comets
Detroit Lightning, 1979–80
San Francisco Fog, 1980–81
Kansas City, Missouri
Detroit, Michigan
Daly City, California
Kemper Arena
Cobo Arena
Cow Palace
1979–91
Las Vegas Americans
Memphis Americans, 1981–84
Hartford Hellions, 1979–81
Paradise, Nevada
Memphis, Tennessee
Hartford, Connecticut
Thomas & Mack Center
New Haven Coliseum, Mid-South Coliseum
Hartford Civic Center
1979–85
Los Angeles Lazers
Philadelphia Fever, 1978–82
Inglewood, California
Philadelphia
The Forum
The Spectrum
1978–89
Minnesota Strikers Bloomington, Minnesota Met Center 1984–88
New Jersey Rockets East Rutherford, New Jersey Brendan Byrne Arena 1981–82
New York Arrows Uniondale, New York Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum 1978–84
New York Express Uniondale, New York Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum 1986–87
New York Cosmos East Rutherford, New Jersey Brendan Byrne Arena 1984–85
Phoenix Inferno/Pride Phoenix, Arizona Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum 1980–84
Pittsburgh Spirit Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Civic Arena 1978–80, 1981–86
San Diego Sockers San Diego, California San Diego Sports Arena 1982–83*, 1984–92
St. Louis Steamers St. Louis, Missouri St. Louis Arena 1979–88
St. Louis Storm St. Louis, Missouri St. Louis Arena 1989–92
Tacoma Stars
Denver Avalanche, 1980–82
Tacoma, Washington
Denver, Colorado
Tacoma Dome
McNichols Sports Arena
1980–82, 1983–92
Wichita Wings Wichita, Kansas Kansas Coliseum 1979–92

*Three North American Soccer League (NASL) teams temporarily joined the MISL for the 1982–83 season, as the NASL did not play indoors for that season. As the NASL was folding in 1985 four of its former teams (Chicago, Minnesota, New York and San Diego) joined the MISL in late 1984.

The "Denver Avalanche" had declared bankruptcy and ceased operations after the 1981–82 season, but the franchise still existed and was transferred to Tacoma after a dormant season.

In June 1987, the MISL granted a conditional franchise to NBA Denver Nuggets owner Sidney Shlenker, to commence play in the 1988–89 season.[5] When the tentative "Denver Desperados" attracted deposits on 400 season tickets, rather than the required 5,000 within four months, the franchise was revoked in November 1987.[6]

Attendance[edit]

Year Average Playoffs
1978–79 4,453 4,766
1979–80 6,102 6,691
1980–81 6,839 10,740
1981–82 8,735 8,848
1982–83 7,895 11,536
1983–84 8,868 10,252
1984–85 8,696 8,511
1985–86 8,680 11,983
1986–87 8,714 12,514
1987–88 8,439 7,771
1988–89 7,765 7,557
1989–90 7,765 6,584
1990–91 6,566 7,264
1991–92 7,844 6,825
Seasons Overall
14 7,644 9,049

MISL/MSL Championship Series[edit]

By year[edit]

Season Champions Series Runners-up MVP Winning coach
1978–79 New York Arrows 2–0 Philadelphia Fever Shep Messing Don Popovic
1979–80* New York Arrows 7–4* Houston Summit Steve Zungul Don Popovic
1980–81* New York Arrows 6–5* St. Louis Steamers Steve Zungul Don Popovic
1981–82 New York Arrows 3–2 St. Louis Steamers Steve Zungul Don Popovic
1982–83 San Diego Sockers 3–2 Baltimore Blast Juli Veee Ron Newman
1983–84 Baltimore Blast 4–1 St. Louis Steamers Scott Manning Ken Cooper
1984–85 San Diego Sockers 4–1 Baltimore Blast Steve Zungul Ron Newman
1985–86 San Diego Sockers 4–3 Minnesota Strikers Brian Quinn Ron Newman
1986–87 Dallas Sidekicks 4–3 Tacoma Stars Tatu Gordon Jago
1987–88 San Diego Sockers 4–0 Cleveland Force Hugo Pérez Ron Newman
1988–89 San Diego Sockers 4–3 Baltimore Blast Victor Nogueira Ron Newman
1989–90 San Diego Sockers 4–2 Baltimore Blast Brian Quinn Ron Newman
1990–91 San Diego Sockers 4–2 Cleveland Crunch Ben Collins Ron Newman
1991–92 San Diego Sockers 4–2 Dallas Sidekicks Thompson Usiyan Ron Newman

*Single-game championship, game score rather than series results.

By club[edit]

Club Winner Runner-Up Seasons Won Seasons Runner-Up
San Diego Sockers 8 0 1982–83, 1984–85, 1985–86, 1987–88, 1988–89, 1989–90, 1990–91, 1991–92
New York Arrows 4 0 1978–79, 1979–80, 1980–81, 1981–82
Baltimore Blast 1 5 1983–84 1979–80 (as Houston Summit), 1982–83, 1984–85, 1988–89, 1989–90
Dallas Sidekicks 1 1 1986–87 1991–92
St. Louis Steamers 0 3 1980–81, 1981–82, 1983–84
Philadelphia Fever 0 1 1978–79
Minnesota Strikers 0 1 1985–86
Tacoma Stars 0 1 1986–87
Cleveland Force 0 1 1987–88
Cleveland Crunch 0 1 1990–91

Commissioners[edit]

All-time statistics leaders[edit]

Points[edit]

  1. 1,123 – Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia United States Steve Zungul (New York Arrows, Golden Bay Earthquakes, San Diego Sockers, Tacoma Stars)
  2. 841 – Canada Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Branko Šegota (New York Arrows, San Diego Sockers, St.Louis Storm)
  3. 690 – Brazil Tatu (Dallas Sidekicks)
  4. 686 – Canada Dale Mitchell (Tacoma Stars, Kansas City Comets, Baltimore Blast)
  5. 683 – Finland Kai Haaskivi (Houston Summit, Cleveland Force, Baltimore Blast, Cleveland Crunch)
  6. 682 – Netherlands Jan Goossens (Golden Bay Earthquakes, Minnesota Strikers, Kansas City Comets, Dallas Sidekicks)
  7. 664 – United States Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Preki (Tacoma Stars, St. Louis Storm)
  8. 612 – Ecuador Chico Borja (Las Vegas Americans, Wichita Wings, Los Angeles Lazers)
  9. 544 – United States Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Fred Grgurev (Philadelphia Fever, New York Arrows, New Jersey Rockets, Memphis/Las Vegas Americans, Pittsburgh Spirit, New York Express)
  10. 542 – Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia United States Stan Stamenkovic (Memphis Americans, Baltimore Blast)

Goals[edit]

  1. 652 – Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Steve Zungul (New York Arrows, Golden Bay Earthquakes, San Diego Sockers, Tacoma Stars)
  2. 463 – Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Branko Šegota (New York Arrows, San Diego Sockers, St. Louis Storm)
  3. 406 – Brazil Tatu (Dallas Sidekicks)
  4. 406 – Canada Dale Mitchell (Tacoma Stars, Kansas City Comets, Baltimore Blast)
  5. 344 – Netherlands Jan Goossens (Golden Bay Earthquakes, Minnesota Strikers, Kansas City Comets, Dallas Sidekicks)
  6. 332 – Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Preki (Tacoma Stars, St. Louis Storm)
  7. 331 – Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Fred Grgurev (Philadelphia Fever, New York Arrows, New Jersey Rockets, Memphis/Las Vegas Americans, Pittsburgh Spirit, New York Express)
  8. 307 – England Andy Chapman (Wichita Wings, Cleveland Force, Baltimore Blast)
  9. 297 – Guernsey Craig Allen (New Jersey Rockets, Cleveland Force)
  10. 297 – Finland Kai Haaskivi (Houston Summit, Cleveland Force, Baltimore Blast, Cleveland Crunch)

Assists[edit]

  1. 471 – Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Steve Zungul (New York Arrows, Golden Bay Earthquakes, San Diego Sockers, Tacoma Stars)
  2. 386 – Finland Kai Haaskivi (Houston Summit, Cleveland Force, Baltimore Blast, Cleveland Crunch)
  3. 378 – Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Branko Šegota (New York Arrows, San Diego Sockers, St. Louis Storm)
  4. 338 – Ecuador Chico Borja (New York Cosmos, Las Vegas Americans, Wichita Wings, Los Angeles Lazers)
  5. 338 – Netherlands Jan Goossens (Golden Bay Earthquakes, Minnesota Strikers, Kansas City Comets, Dallas Sidekicks)
  6. 332 – Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Preki (Tacoma Stars, St. Louis Storm)
  7. 311 – Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Stan Stamenkovic (Memphis Americans, Baltimore Blast)
  8. 284 – Brazil Tatu (Dallas Sidekicks)
  9. 280 – Canada Dale Mitchell (Tacoma Stars, Kansas City Comets, Baltimore Blast)
  10. 271 – Denmark Jorgen Kristensen (Wichita Wings, Kansas City Comets)

Goals against average[edit]

(9,500 minutes minimum)

  1. 4.03 – Hungary Zoltán Tóth (New York Arrows, San Diego Sockers, St. Louis Storm)
  2. 4.09 – Canada Tino Lettieri (Minnesota Strikers)
  3. 4.14 – Poland Krzysztof Sobieski (Pittsburgh Spirit, Cleveland Force, Dallas Sidekicks)
  4. 4.18 – Mozambique Victor Nogueira (Chicago Sting, Cleveland Force, San Diego Sockers)
  5. 4.21 – United States David Brcic (New York Cosmos, Wichita Wings, Pittsburgh Spirit, Los Angeles Lazers, Kansas City Comets, St. Louis Storm)
  6. 4.26 – Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Slobo Ilijevski (St. Louis Steamers, Baltimore Blast, St. Louis Storm)
  7. 4.32 – United States P.J. Johns (Cleveland Force, Tacoma Stars, Cleveland Crunch)
  8. 4.35 – United States Jim Gorsek (San Diego Sockers, Los Angeles Lazers, Kansas City Comets, St. Louis Storm)
  9. 4.3972 – United States Joe Papaleo (Pittsburgh Spirit, Tacoma Stars, Dallas Sidekicks)
  10. 4.3979 – United States Keith Van Eron (Cincinnati Kids, Wichita Wings, Philadelphia Fever, Baltimore Blast, Las Vegas Americans)

Awards[edit]

Most Valuable Player[edit]

Year Winner
1978–79 Steve Zungul, New York
1979–80 Steve Zungul, New York
1980–81 Steve Zungul, New York
1981–82 Steve Zungul, New York and Stan Terlecki, Pittsburgh
1982–83 Alan Mayer, San Diego
1983–84 Stan Stamenkovic, Baltimore
1984–85 Steve Zungul, San Diego
1985–86 Steve Zungul, San Diego
1986–87 Tatu, Dallas
1987–88 Erik Rasmussen, Wichita
1988–89 Preki, Tacoma
1989–90 Tatu, Dallas
1990–91 Victor Nogueira, San Diego
1991–92 Victor Nogueira, San Diego

Scoring Champion[edit]

Year Winner
1978–79 Fred Grgurev, Philadelphia
1979–80 Steve Zungul, New York
1980–81 Steve Zungul, New York
1981–82 Steve Zungul, New York
1982–83 Steve Zungul, New York/Golden Bay
1983–84 Stan Stamenkovic, Baltimore
1984–85 Steve Zungul, San Diego
1985–86 Steve Zungul, San Diego/Tacoma
1986–87 Tatu, Dallas
1987–88 Erik Rasmussen, Wichita
1988–89 Preki, Tacoma
1989–90 Tatu, Dallas
1990–91 Tatu, Dallas
1991–92 Zoran Karic, Cleveland

MISL Pass Master[edit]

The Pass Master award was given out to the player with the most assists during the regular season.

Year Winner
1978–79 Fred Grgurev, Philadelphia
1979–80 Steve Zungul, New York
1980–81 Jorgen Kristiansen, Wichita
1981–82 Steve Zungul, New York
1982–83 Stan Stamenkovic, Memphis
1983–84 Stan Stamenkovic, Baltimore
1984–85 Steve Zungul, San Diego
1985–86 Steve Zungul, San Diego/Tacoma
1986–87 Kai Haaskivi, Cleveland
1987–88 Preki, Tacoma
1988–89 Preki, Tacoma and Chico Borja, Wichita
1989–90 Jan Goossens, Kansas City
1990–91 Tatu, Dallas
1991–92 Zoran Karic, Cleveland

Defender of the Year[edit]

Year Winner
1981–82 Val Tuksa, New York
1982–83 Bernie James, Cleveland
1983–84 Kim Roentved, Wichita
1984–85 Kevin Crow, San Diego
1985–86 Kim Roentved, Wichita
1986–87 Bruce Savage, Baltimore
1987–88 Kevin Crow, San Diego
1988–89 Kevin Crow, San Diego
1989–90 Wes McLeod, Dallas
1990–91 Kevin Crow, San Diego
1991–92 Kevin Crow, San Diego

Goalkeeper of the Year[edit]

Year Winner
1978–79 Paul Hammond, Houston
1979–80 Sepp Gantenhammer, Houston
1980–81 Enzo Di Pede, Chicago
1981–82 Slobo Ilijevski, St. Louis
1982–83 Zoltán Tóth, New York
1983–84 Slobo Ilijevski, St. Louis
1984–85 Scott Manning, Baltimore
1985–86 Keith Van Eron, Baltimore
1986–87 Tino Lettieri, Minnesota
1987–88 Zoltán Tóth, San Diego
1988–89 Victor Nogueira, San Diego
1989–90 Joe Papaleo, Dallas
1990–91 Victor Nogueira, San Diego
1991–92 Victor Nogueira, San Diego

Rookie of the Year[edit]

Year Winner
1979–80 Jim Sinclair, Buffalo
1980–81 Don Ebert, St. Louis
1981–82 Germain Iglesias, Buffalo
1982–83 Kirk Shermer, Los Angeles
1983–84 Kevin Maher, Pittsburgh
1984–85 Ali Kazemaini, Cleveland
1985–86 Dave Boncek, Kansas City
1986–87 John Stollmeyer, Cleveland
1987–88 David Doyle, Kansas City
1988–89 Rusty Troy, Baltimore
1989–90 Terry Brown, St. Louis
1990–91 David Banks, San Diego
1991–92 Tommy Tanner, Cleveland

Newcomer of the Year[edit]

This award was given to 'the most outstanding player in his first year of competition in the Major Indoor Soccer League'[7] in order to differentiate it from the Rookie of the Year award.

Year Winner
1986–87 Steve Kinsey, Minnesota
1987–88 Nenad "Ziggy" Zigante, Wichita
1988–89 Domenic Mobilio, Baltimore
1989–90 Claudio DeOliviera, St. Louis
1990–91 Paul Peschisolido, Kansas City

Coach of the Year[edit]

Year Winner
1978–79 Timo Liekoski, Houston
1979–80 Len Bilous, Pittsburgh and Pat McBride, St. Louis
1980–81 Don Popovic, New York
1981–82 Dave Clements, Denver
1982–83 Pat McBride, Kansas City
1983–84 Kenny Cooper, Baltimore
1984–85 Peter Wall, Los Angeles
1985–86 Gordon Jago, Dallas
1986–87 Dave Clements, Kansas City
1987–88 Ron Newman, San Diego
1988–89 Kenny Cooper, Baltimore
1989–90 Billy Phillips, Dallas
1990–91 Trevor Dawkins, Cleveland
1991–92 Gordon Jago, Dallas

Championship Series Most Valuable Player[edit]

Year Winner
1978–79 Shep Messing, New York
1979–80 Steve Zungul, New York
1980–81 Steve Zungul, New York
1981–82 Steve Zungul, New York
1982–83 Juli Veee, San Diego
1983–84 Scott Manning, Baltimore
1984–85 Steve Zungul, San Diego
1985–86 Brian Quinn, San Diego
1986–87 Tatu, Dallas
1987–88 Hugo Perez, San Diego
1988–89 Victor Nogueira, San Diego
1989–90 Brian Quinn, San Diego
1990–91 Ben Collins, San Diego
1991–92 Thompson Usiyan, San Diego

Championship Series Unsung Hero[edit]

This award was given to the player 'in the Championship Series whose impact to his team's success was measured by hustle, determination and leadership.'[8]

Year Winner
1987–88 George Fernandez, San Diego
1988–89 Paul Dougherty, San Diego
1989–90 Paul Wright, San Diego
1990–91 Glenn Carbonara, San Diego
1991–92 Kevin Crow, San Diego

Prominent players[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b MISL History @ MISL A Look Back
  2. ^ Improvisation Lies at the Heart of Arena Football, William N. Wallace, The New York Times, May 9, 1988
  3. ^ "A good idea...on paper". The Florida Times-Union. May 12, 2001. Retrieved 2009-08-06.
  4. ^ ArenaFan Rewriting The History Books: Test Game Date Revealed To Be Wrong (30 April 2012). ArenaFan.com quoting Chicago Sun-Times and other sources.
  5. ^ "MISL awards Denver expansion franchise". Eugene Register-Guard. June 26, 1987. p. 4C. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  6. ^ "MISL team folds". Wilmington Morning Star. November 6, 1987. p. 2B. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  7. ^ MISL Official Tenth Anniversary Guide. 1987. p. 44.
  8. ^ Official MISL Guide 1989-90. 1989. p. 44.
  • Leary, Dan; Griffin, John (1987). MISL Official Tenth Anniversary Guide. New York: Major Indoor Soccer League Communications Department.
  • Griffin, John, ed. (1989). MISL Official Guide 1989-90. Overland Park, Kansas: Major Indoor Soccer League Communications Department.

External links[edit]