San Antonio Pumas

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The San Antonio Pumas were an American soccer team founded in 1988 as the San Antonio Heat in the original indoor SISL league. They became the San Antonio Generals before the 1989/90 indoor season and then the San Antonio Pumas before the 1993 outdoor season. They folded after the 1998 season.

History[edit]

San Antonio Heat[edit]

In 1988, the San Antonio Heat entered the Southwest Indoor Soccer League for the 1988–89 indoor season. The Heat were placed in the Central Division with the Austin Sockadillos and Houston Express. Despite finishing third in the division, they gained a wild card berth in the playoffs where they lost to the Houston Express in the first round.[1] The team was less successful during the 1989 outdoor season as they finished sixth and well out of play off contention.

San Antonio Generals[edit]

In the fall of 1989, the team came under new management and was renamed the Generals. It began the 1989–1990 indoor season as a "provisional" team. This meant that all its games would count only as exhibition games. However, when the Houston Express was suspended by the league, the Generals replaced them.[2] In the summer of 1990, the Generals finished third in the Eastern Division but lost to the Austin Sockadillos in the first round of the playoffs.[3] The Generals then had a disastrous indoor season as they went 0–20, scoring 62 goals and letting in 227. The team recovered during the 1991 outdoor season, finishing 8–8, but out of playoff contention.[4] This trend continued as the Generals finished 7–7 during the 1991–1992 indoor season, then mid table during the 1992 outdoor season.[5] In 1992, Randall Schulze purchased the team. San Antonio spent one last season, the 1992–1993 indoor season, as the Generals, once again finishing at 6–6 and out of play off contention.[6]

San Antonio Pumas[edit]

In the spring of 1993, the team was renamed the Pumas. Under head coach Mario Degl'Innocenti, the team again finished even at 8–8 during the 1993 outdoor season. That season, they played eight home games at Blossom Athletic Center and one at Harlandale Memorial Stadium.[7] In 1994, the Pumas owner, Randall Schulze, brought in Hisham Alisaleh as head coach and moved the team up to the USISL D-3 Pro League. The team continued to play its home games at the Blossom Athletic Center.[8] This season, the Pumas saw an improvement in form, finishing at 11–7, only to fall to the DFW Toros in the first round of the playoffs.[9] The team entered the 1995 season little changed from 1994 and improved to 13–7 only to fall in the first round of the playoffs yet again, this time to the El Paso Patriots.[10] However, the team did experience some controversy when the owner released three starters at mid-season after the three players confronted Schulze regarding pay and work issues. At the time, the team had five injured players. This led to another player leaving the team immediately and two more who left a few days later.[11][12] In April 1996, Dave Masterson took ownership of the team after Schulze filed for bankruptcy.[13] Masterson brought in George Price as head coach and the team played their home games at the University of the Incarnate Word Stadium.[14] In June 1996, Price left the team for a few weeks. In his absence, assistant coach Lance Noble served as interim head coach. In 1997, the team began the season with a new owner, Edward C. Nicholson. The team also returned to Harlandale Memorial Stadium.[15] Unfortunately, Nicholson repeated the financial problems of the previous seasons as he missed pay days for the players and coaches.[16] He also failed to acquire liability insurance which led to the cancellation of one game.[17] In mid-June 1997, Giovanni De Avila, head of the America of Houston Corporation, purchased the team from Nicholson. He paid all of the Pumas debts and brought in Mexican World Cup player Francisco Javier Cruz[18] However, De Avila was late with payments to Harlandale Memorial Stadium which led to the Pumas moving to Fox Tech High School at mid-season.[19] As the team continued to search for a suitable stadium, the coach ordered the players to leave the field in the second half of a July 28, 1996 game against the Austin Lone Stars.[20] Despite the turmoil, the team finished the season at 7–10 which put them into the playoffs.[21] In the first game of the playoffs, which the Pumas won 4–3 over the Texas Toros, Francisco Javier Cruz, now head coach, was arrested after charging onto the field to confront a referee.[22] A few days later, the team was forced to forfeit the game when the league discovered it had used a player not listed on the game day roster.[23] In April 1999, Da Avila transferred ownership of the Pumas to former coach Guillermo Espinosa.[24] This was too late to allow Espinosa to enter the team into the USISL for the 1999 season, but intended to return in 2000. Financial difficulties prevented him from doing so and the team ceased operations.

Year-by-year[edit]

Year Division League Reg. Season Playoffs Open Cup
1988/89 N/A SISL Indoor 3rd, South 1st Round N/A
1989 N/A SISL 6th Did not qualify Did not enter
1989/90 N/A SISL Indoor 5th, Texas Did not qualify N/A
1990 N/A SISL 3rd, Eastern Quarterfinals Did not enter
1990/91 N/A SISL Indoor 9th, Southwest Did not qualify N/A
1991 N/A SISL 4th, Tex-Oma Did not qualify Did not enter
1991/92 N/A USISL Indoor 4th, Tex-Oma Did not qualify N/A
1992 N/A USISL 4th, South Central Did not qualify Did not enter
1992/93 N/A USISL Indoor 3rd, South Central Did not qualify N/A
1993 N/A USISL 4th, South Central Did not qualify Did not enter
1994 3 USISL 3rd, South Central Divisional Semifinals Did not enter
1995 3 USISL Pro League 4th, South Central Divisional Semifinals Did not qualify
1996 3 USISL Pro League 4th, Central Did not qualify Did not qualify
1997 3 USISL D-3 Pro League 5th, South Central Division Finals Did not qualify
1998 3 USISL D-3 Pro League 3rd, South Central Division Semifinals Did not qualify

Coaches[edit]

  • Parker Cowand
  • "Big" Bill Anderson
  • Mario Degl'Innocenti (1993)
  • Hisham Alisaleh (1994–1995)
  • George Price (1996)
  • Lance Noble (1996 – interim)
  • Guillermo Espinosa (1997)
  • Janio Cabezas (1998)
  • Francisco Javier Cruz (1998)

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Year in American Soccer – 1989
  2. ^ Sockadillos earn playoff spot in 12–7 rout of San Antonio Austin American-Statesman – Sunday, February 18, 1990
  3. ^ The Year in American Soccer – 1990
  4. ^ The Year in American Soccer – 1991
  5. ^ The Year in American Soccer – 1992
  6. ^ The Year in American Soccer – 1993
  7. ^ Kickoff San Antonio Express-News – Wednesday, May 5, 1993
  8. ^ Pumas ready to rise to another level as new season kicks off San Antonio Express-News – Wednesday, April 13, 1994
  9. ^ USISL – 1994
  10. ^ USISL – 1995
  11. ^ Pumas ' players, owner revolt continues San Antonio Express-News – Wednesday, July 5, 1995
  12. ^ Check it out: Pumas finally get paid San Antonio Express-News – Friday, July 21, 1995
  13. ^ Pumas , late start and all, survive thanks to new owner San Antonio Express-News – Thursday, April 18, 1996
  14. ^ Pumas ready to roar into action once again San Antonio Express-News – Friday, May 3, 1996
  15. ^ Pumas ready to open season with new owner, new home San Antonio Express-News – Friday, March 28, 1997
  16. ^ Pumas coach, players see payday come, go San Antonio Express-News – Saturday, May 31, 1997
  17. ^ Insurance woes may shelve Pumas ' game vs. Toros San Antonio Express-News – Wednesday, June 4, 1997
  18. ^ Pumas get boost from new owners San Antonio Express-News – Friday, June 13, 1997
  19. ^ Pumas looking for new home USISL team no longer welcome at Harlandale Memorial Stadium San Antonio Express-News – Monday, June 15, 1998
  20. ^ Angry Pumas walk out, give Lone Stars 1–0 win Austin American-Statesman (TX) – Sunday, July 26, 1998
  21. ^ USISL – 1998
  22. ^ Coach arrested in Pumas' win San Antonio Express-News – Sunday, August 2, 1998
  23. ^ Pumas owner not giving up Team's setbacks can't take away de Avila's perseverance San Antonio Express-News – Monday, August 10, 1998
  24. ^ San Antonio is starving for a successful soccer team San Antonio Express-News – Monday, April 12, 1999