Tulsa Roughnecks (1978–84)

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This article is about the original Tulsa Roughnecks of the NASL. For other teams to use the name, see Tulsa Roughnecks (disambiguation).
Tulsa Roughnecks
Full nameTulsa Roughnecks
Nickname(s)Roughnecks, Necks
FoundedNovember 15, 1977[1]
DissolvedJuly 17, 1985; 34 years ago (July 17, 1985)
Skelly Stadium (40,000)
Tulsa Assembly Center[2] (8,900)
Tulsa Fairgrounds Pavilion (5,883)

The Tulsa Roughnecks (1978–1984) were a North American Soccer League (NASL) team from Tulsa, Oklahoma. It played its home games at Skelly Stadium on the campus of the University of Tulsa. The team, previously Team Hawaii, moved to Tulsa after the 1977 season.[3] Former player and coach then General Manager of the 1983 Tulsa Roughnecks Alex Skotarek united one of the lowest budget teams and salary payouts to all franchises in NASL resulting in a NASL championship in 1983 Soccer Bowl in Vancouver BC with a 2-0 Tulsa defeating Toronto.

Shortly after the Tulsa Roughnecks victory of the 1983 Soccer Bowl President Ronald Reagan sent congratulatory remarks to the team as they carried the trophy in a celebration parade through downtown Tulsa marking the Roughnecks as the first and only professional franchise to win a sports championship title in the state of Oklahoma.


The Roughnecks first match was a 6–5 indoor loss on February 11, 1978 at the Bayfront Center versus the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Three nights later in their home debut, the same two teams faced off in front of the first 3,250 Roughnecks fans at the Tulsa Assembly Center.[4][5] A few weeks later they would capture the Skelly Indoor Invitational which they hosted.[6] Over the years Tulsa regularly appeared in the NASL playoffs. They won the NASL title in Soccer Bowl '83, defeating the Toronto Blizzard at BC Place Stadium (Vancouver) by a score of 2–0 before a paid attendance of 60,051.[7] The teams all-time win-loss record was 104–106. The Roughnecks' home games consistently drew better-than-league-average attendance with the annual record occurring during the 1980 season when the team averaged 19,787 spectators over 16 games for a total attendance that year of 316,593 (placing the Roughnecks at No. 5 between the Seattle Sounders and the Washington Diplomats). The largest home game attendance for Tulsa occurred on April 26, 1980 when 30,822 fans watched the Roughnecks' 2–1 victory over the New York Cosmos at Skelly Stadium. The highest attendance for any Roughneck game occurred on August 26, 1979 when Tulsa met the Cosmos in New York for a NASL playoff game before a crowd of 76,031.[7]


Although the NASL's final season was 1984, and the league folded in early 1985, the Roughnecks continued to operate as an independent club. They had put together an ambitious schedule of more than 20 matches stretching from May into August, against teams from the USL, MISL, WACS, Europe, and South America, as well as other former NASL sides that had not folded.[8] Excluding several cancelations along the way, the team compiled a record of 8–2–1, before suspending operations on July 17, 1985.[9]

Famous Roughnecks players include Iraj Danaeifard, Charlie Mitchell, Billy Caskey, Victor Moreland,[10] Barry Wallace, Alan Woodward, Zeljko Bilecki, Carmelo D'Anzi, Winston DuBose, Njego Pesa, Laurie Abrams, Chance Fry, Terry Moore and David McCreery.


Year League W L T Pts Reg. Season Playoffs Avg. Attendance
1978 NASL indoor 2 2 0 N/A Won, Skelly Invitational 2,250
1978 NASL 15 15 0 132 2nd, National Conference, Central Division Lost 1st Round (Minnesota) 11,256
1979 NASL indoor 0 3 0 N/A 3rd Place, Budweiser Invitational[11] 6,340
1979 NASL 14 16 0 139 3rd, National Conference, Central Division Won Conference Quarterfinal (Minnesota)
Lost Conference Semifinal (New York)
1979–80 NASL Indoor 7 5 0 3rd, Western Lost 1st Round (Minnesota) 4,657
1980 NASL 15 17 0 139 3rd, National Conference, Central Division Lost 1st Round (New York) 19,787
1980–81 NASL Indoor 9 9 0 2nd, Southern Division Did not qualify 5,288
1981 NASL 17 15 0 154 3rd, Central Division Lost 1st Round (Minnesota) 17,188
1981–82 NASL Indoor 10 8 0 3rd, American Conference, Central Division Won 1st Round (Chicago)
Lost Semifinal (Tampa Bay)
1982 NASL 16 16 0 112 2nd, Southern Division Lost 1st Round (New York) 14,554
1983 NASL Indoor Grand Prix 4 4 0 3rd in Grand Prix preliminary rounds Lost Semifinal (Tampa Bay)
Won 3rd place match (Ft. Lauderdale)
1983 NASL 17 13 0 145 1st, Southern Division Won 1st Round (Ft. Lauderdale)
Won Semifinals (Montreal)
Won Soccer Bowl '83 (Toronto)
1983–84 NASL Indoor 11 21 0 6th Did not qualify 3,707
1984 NASL 10 14 0 98 4th, Western Division Did not qualify 7,797
1985 Independent 8 2 1 friendlies only none 3,651


Ownership & Staff[edit]

  • United States Carl Moore – Co-Owner (1978–83)
  • United States Mike Kimbrel – Co-Owner (1978–83)
  • United States Rick Lowenherz – Co-Owner (1978–83)
  • United States Fred Williams – Co-Owner (1978–83)
  • United States Jim Boeh – Communications Director
  • United States General Manager Alex Skotarek 1983 NASL Championship season former Tulsa Roughneck player and coach
  • Tulsa Cable – Owner (1984)


Many former players have found employment as paid trainers of youth soccer teams for clubs such as the Tulsa United, Tulsa Soccer Club (TSC), Tornado Soccer Club, and Hurricane Football Club (HFC).



External links[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chase, Al (November 16, 1977). "Pro Soccer in Island Gone with Wind". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  2. ^ https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=888&dat=19780214&id=R4JIAAAAIBAJ&sjid=tlkDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6781,4725398&hl=en
  3. ^ "Breaking up is hard to do". Chicago Tribune. July 18, 1985. p. 2, Sec 3. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  4. ^ Tierney, Mike (February 11, 1978). "Rowdies expected to rough up Roughnecks". St. Petersburg Times. p. 1C. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
  5. ^ Tierney, Mike (February 15, 1978). "Rowdies trounce Tulsa". St. Petersburg Times. p. 1C. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
  6. ^ Lobaugh, Tom (March 6, 1978). "Tulsa Kicks Up A Victory". Tulsa World. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-01-27. Retrieved 2011-01-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ http://nasljerseys.com/images/Roughnecks/Roughnecks%2085%20Schedule.jpg
  9. ^ http://nasljerseys.com/Friendlies/Teams/Roughnecks%20Friendlies.htm
  10. ^ Brucculeri, Jeff (January 30, 2014). "Soccer great Victor Moreland liked what he discovered in Tulsa in 1978". Tulsa Beacon. Tulsa, OK: Biggs Communications. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
  11. ^ https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=rsEwAAAAIBAJ&sjid=3VgDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6654,3317860&dq=rowdies+had+to+do+more&hl=en
  12. ^ a b https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=qcJaAAAAIBAJ&sjid=HFkDAAAAIBAJ&pg=2106,1706476&dq=championship+effort+carried+rowdies&hl=en
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-10-23. Retrieved 2016-06-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)