New York Arrows

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New York Arrows
Full nameNew York Arrows
GroundNassau Coliseum,
Uniondale, New York
LeagueMajor Indoor Soccer League

The New York Arrows were an indoor soccer team that played in the original Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) from 1978 to 1984. They won the first four MISL championships.


Preparing for the first season[edit]

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 of the North American Soccer League. While preparing for the MISL's inaugural season, the Arrows' imported nearly the entire roster of the Lancers, which played a spring-to-fall schedule.

However, the Arrows did make one significant, and crucial, addition: they signed Steve Zungul, a virtually unknown Yugoslavian player. 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 Hajduk, the Yugoslavia 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.[1]

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 had a better record, but it was the Arrows who took the title, defeating the Philadelphia Fever.

The Arrows finished first in their division the next three years, before taking the titles over the Houston Summit (1979–80) and the St. Louis Steamers (1980–81 and 1981–82).

Dominating players[edit]

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",[2] regularly scored nearly five goals per game and in one instance, scored seven in a game versus the Chicago Horizons in 1981.[3] 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[edit]

Though a powerhouse on the field, the Arrows were mediocre at best at the box office. Despite four championships and a combined regular season record of 114-26 (.814), New York averaged only 7,049 fans for their 70 home games from 1978-82, less than half-filling the Nassau Coliseum. Shortly after the team won its fourth and final MISL title in 1982, the team was sold. In January 1983, the team traded Steve Zungul to the San Jose Earthquakes for Gary Etherington and Gordon Hill.[4] While billed as a move to "Americanize" the Arrows, it was largely a cost-saving device (especially since Hill was British). In the 1982-83 campaign, the Arrows could only manage a 24-24 mark, fourth place, and a first-round playoff exit at the hands of the Baltimore Blast. Zungul would go on to become the NASL League MVP in 1984; without him, the Arrows slipped even further in 1983-84, to 20-28, barely grabbing the last playoff spot in the East. They were eliminated in the first round by Baltimore again, with the final game (a 14-5 loss on May 9, 1984, in front of just 1,779 on Long Island) proving to be the Arrows' last contest ever. The Arrows' lease on the Coliseum expired on July 4, and a group of players looked into buying the club from owner David Schoenstadt. Instead, Schoenstadt (who also owned the MISL's Kansas City Comets) declared the Arrows bankrupt on July 19.


After the folding of the Arrows, the MISL tried again in the New York market by luring the famed New York Cosmos to the league in 1984. However, the Cosmos dropped out of the MISL after playing only 33 games of their planned 48-game schedule, finishing with a league-worst 11-22 record. (With the North American Soccer League folding, the Cosmos tried to play an independent outdoor schedule in 1985, but finally folded for good after three lightly-attended matches at Giants Stadium.) Undaunted, the indoor circuit tried again with the New York Express in 1986, but this proved to be an even bigger disaster: the club folded in February 1987 after losing 23 of their 26 games. The MISL never succeeded in luring big crowds in the sports-heavy New York market.


Their home arena was Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.




Year Record Regular season Playoffs Avg. attendance
1978–1979 16–8 2nd Champions 5,446
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


MISL Championship

  • 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982

League MVP

Championship MVP

Scoring Champion

Pass Master (Assists Leader)

Defender of the Year

Goalkeeper of the Year

Coach of the Year

First Team All MISL

Significant players[edit]


  1. ^ "SPORTS PEOPLE; Zungul Ban Sought - The". New York Times. 1983-07-13. Retrieved 2020-01-12.
  2. ^ Reed, J. D. (2 February 1981). "HE'S LORD OF ALL INDOORS". Sports Illustrated Vault | Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  3. ^ "Zungul Has 7 Goals In Arrows' Victory". The New York Times. 9 March 1981. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  4. ^ Zungul Deal Seems Closer, The New York Times, 18 January 1983
  5. ^ Rhoden, William C. (1983-01-13). "ARROWS ARE SEEKING TO AMERICANIZE SOCCER". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  6. ^ Lewis, Michael (2017-04-11). "Dr Joe Machnik: American soccer's renaissance man". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-08-05.

External links[edit]