New York Arrows
|Full name||New York Arrows|
Uniondale, New York
|League||Major Indoor Soccer League|
Preparing for the first season
In 1978, the New York Arrows began their first season as an indoor soccer team in the newly established Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL). They were owned by Bernie Rodin, and John Luciani who also owned the Rochester Lancers. While preparing for the MISL's inaugural season, the Arrows' management employed a tactic which had been used in the United Soccer Association in the 1960s. The USA had imported professional teams from Europe as a means of quickly creating teams. The Arrows decided to revisit this concept, and imported nearly the entire roster of the Rochester Lancers of the North American Soccer League, which played a spring-to-fall schedule.
However, the Arrows did make one significant, and crucial, addition: they signed a virtually unknown Yugoslavian player by the name of Slaviša Žungul. Zungul was a seasoned outdoor player from HNK Hajduk Split who had gained the approval of the Yugoslavia Football Federation to play outside of his native country for a few months. When he refused to return to Split Hejduk, the Yugoslavian Football Federation obtained a ruling from FIFA forbidding any outdoor team from signing him. This ruled out nearly every club in the world, and forced Zungul to sign with a team in the newly established MISL.
On December 22, 1978, the New York Arrows kicked off the first season of MISL, playing in the league's first game, at home versus the Cincinnati Kids.
The decision to import the Lancers paid off, as the Arrows finished second out of six teams. Only the Houston Summit (essentially the NASL Houston Hurricanes) had a better record. But it was the Arrows who took the title, defeating the Philadelphia Fever.
The Arrows' winning ways continued for the next three seasons, as they finished first in their division before taking the titles over the Houston Summit (1979–80) and the St. Louis Steamers (1980–81 and 1981–82).
While the Arrows dominated the league as a team, several Arrows players gained repeated individual recognition. In his four seasons with the Arrows, Steve Zungul, "The Lord of All Indoors", regularly scored nearly 5 goals per game and on one instance, scored seven in a game vs. the Phoenix Inferno in 1981. His scoring exploits led to his selection as League MVP four times running. He was also the four time league scoring leader and a two time assists leader. While Zungul was head and shoulders above nearly every other player in the league, he was not the only Arrows great. Shep Messing was the first championship series MVP and a perennial all star. His replacement, Zoltan Toth, was the 1982–1983 Goalkeeper of the Year. Juli Veee was an outstanding midfielder while Branko Šegota was a perennial All Star. However, these are merely a handful of great Arrows players.
Decline and bankruptcy
Though a powerhouse on the field, they were not a powerhouse at the box office. Shortly after the team won its fourth and final MISL title, the team was sold. In January 1983, the team traded Steve Zungul to the San Jose Earthquakes for Gary Etherington and Gordon Hill. While billed as a move to "Americanize" the Arrows, it was largely a cost saving device. While Zungul went on to become the NASL League MVP in 1984, the Arrows collapsed and folded at the end of the season. The six seasons in the MISL the Arrows avg. 6,440 per game.
- Owner – John Luciani (1978–1982)
- Owner – David Schoenstadt (1982–1984)
- General Manager – Tod Leiweke
|Year||Record||Regular Season||Playoffs||Avg. Attendance|
|1979–1980||27–5||1st Atlantic Division||Champions||7,813|
|1980–1981||35–5||1st Atlantic Division||Champions||8,083|
|1981–1982||36–8||1st Eastern Division||Champions||6,429|
|1982–1983||24–24||4th Eastern Division||1st Round||5,623|
|1983–1984||20–28||4th Eastern Division||1st Round||5,478|
- 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982
Pass Master (Assists Leader)
Defender of the Year
- 1981–1982 Veljko Tukša
Goalkeeper of the Year
- 1982–1983 Zoltan Toth
Coach of the Year
- 1980–1981 Dragan Popović
First Team All MISL
- 1978–1979: Shep Messing, Slaviša Žungul
- 1979–1980: Shep Messing, Branko Šegota, Slaviša Žungul
- 1980–1981: Shep Messing, David D'Errico, Branko Šegota, Slaviša Žungul
- 1981–1982: Veljko Tukša, Slaviša Žungul
- 1982–1983: Veljko Tukša
- Fernando Clavijo
- David D'Errico
- Fred Grgurev
- Shep Messing
- Doc Lawson
- Branko Šegota
- Zoltan Toth
- Juli Veee
- Slaviša Žungul
- Zungul Deal Seems Closer, The New York Times, 18 January 1983
- Rhoden, William C. (1983-01-13). "ARROWS ARE SEEKING TO AMERICANIZE SOCCER". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
- Lewis, Michael (2017-04-11). "Dr Joe Machnik: American soccer's renaissance man". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-08-05.