New England Tea Men
|Full name||New England Tea Men|
|Stadium||Schaefer Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts, United States
Providence Civic Center (indoor) Providence, Rhode Island
The New England Tea Men were a soccer team based in Foxborough, Massachusetts in the Boston metropolitan area. They played in the North American Soccer League (NASL) from 1978 to 1980. Their home field was Schaefer Stadium. They also played one season of indoor soccer in the NASL, using the Providence Civic Center for home games.
The Tea Men were owned by tea company Lipton, who gave them their unusual name, which recalled both the company's tie-in and the Boston Tea Party. They won their division in 1978 and made a further playoff run in 1980. However, the team struggled for financial solvency in Massachusetts. Right at the start of the 1980–81 indoor season they relocated to Jacksonville, Florida and became the Jacksonville Tea Men.
Led in its initial season by former Charlton Athletic F.C. striker Mike Flanagan, the Tea Men won their division to much public acclaim, with Flanagan winning the league MVP award. Subsequent seasons proved not as successful for two important reasons: Flanagan, contracted to Charlton, remained in England (an attempt to secure him via a transfer failed, reportedly over endorsement rights), and the team was temporarily evicted from Schaefer Stadium when the owners of Foxboro Raceway next door claimed the Tea Men's matches were causing problems on racing dates. After spending one unhappy season at Nickerson Field, the team reached an accord with Bay State to play at Foxboro but not on racing dates, so the Tea Men had to play many Monday night dates, which caused attendance to dwindle. After leaving Boston, the team moved to Jacksonville and became the Jacksonville Tea Men. The original owner of the team was the Lipton Tea company and so the name was given with the Boston Tea Party in mind.
|Year||League||W||L||Pts||Reg. Season||Playoffs||Avg. Attendance|
|1978||NASL||19||11||165||1st(t), American Conference, Eastern Division||Lost 1st Round (Ft. Lauderdale)||12,064|
|1979||NASL||12||18||110||4th, American Conference, Eastern Division||Did not qualify||6,562|
|1979–80||NASL Indoor||2||10||—||5th, Eastern Division||Did not qualify||3,249|
|1980||NASL||18||14||154||3rd, American Conference, Eastern Division||Lost 1st Round (Tampa Bay)||8,748|
|Division Champions (1)
NASL Most Valuable Player
U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame
All-Star First Team Selections
All-Star Honorable Mentions
- Derek Carroll – President
- Bill Alex – Play-by-Play Announcer
- Steve Glendye – Color Commentator on Northeast Sports Network
- Bart Hubbuch (June 25, 2006). "Remember the Tea Men? A pro kickoff". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved January 14, 2011.