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The Championship Of NASL

Golden Years

Following the creation of the North American Soccer League (NASL) in 1968, the league championship games were known as the NASL Final until 1974.

The Atlanta Chiefs, Dallas Tornado, Los Angeles Aztecs New York Cosmos, Philadelphia Atoms and Rochester Lancers were crowned champions after winning their respective NASL Finals which were composed of either a single game, home-and-away playoff or best of three series.  The exception was in 1969 as no championship game took place and the Kansas City Spurs were crowned the league winners, having the most points in the regular season.

The NASL also recognized the two champions from 1967: NPSL - Oakland Clippers and USA – Los Angeles Wolves, prior to the league’s formation.

 

Soccer Bowl

The origin of the NASL Soccer Bowl began the following year in 1975, when Commissioner Phil Woosnam, aimed for a neutral-site championship event similar to the NFL Super Bowl.

Unlike, the Super Bowl, the Soccer Bowl was not denoted by Roman numerals; instead the last digits of the year would be used to brand the competition for that year (example Soccer Bowl '75).

In 1984 the league changed the neutral-site format for a best-of-three series played at each team's home field. That year the event was promoted as the Soccer Bowl Series '84, though it was still generally acknowledged as the Soccer Bowl.

The Tampa Bay Rowdies were the first team to lift the Soccer Bowl trophy in 1975 when they defeated the Portland Timbers 2-0 at San Jose’s Spartan Stadium.

Former Portuguese striker Eusébio led the Toronto Metros-Croatia to become the first Canadian side to win the NASL title in 1976.  The following year former Brazilian forward and three-time World Cup winner, Pele concluded his playing career by leading the New York Cosmos to their first Soccer Bowl after posting a 2-1 win over the Seattle Sounders at Portland’s Civic Stadium.

In 1978, a record crowd of 74,091 was on hand at Giants Stadium to witness the Cosmos top the Rowdies, 3-1, for the Soccer Bowl ’78 crown.

Giants Stadium would once again stage Soccer Bowl as the Vancouver Whitecaps became the second Canadian team to win the NASL title after defeating the Rowdies, 2-1 in 1979.

The Cosmos regained the Soccer Bowl trophy the following year in 1980 after a 3-0 blanking of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at Washington D.C.’s RFK Stadium.

After losing to 1981 title to the Chicago Sting at Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium, the Cosmos captured their fourth Soccer Bowl and fifth overall NASL championship the next year with 1-0 shutout over the Seattle Sounders at San Diego Stadium.

Vancouver became the second Canadian city to stage the Soccer Bowl as the Tulsa Roughnecks topped the Toronto Blizzard 2-0 to claim the 1983 title at BC Place Stadium.

The following year, Soccer Bowl changed from a single match to a ‘best of three’ series where the Sting won their second league title by defeating the Blizzard in the first two matches of the series, at Chicago’s Comiskey Park and Toronto’s Varsity Stadium, for the 1984 championship.

 

Modern Era

With the formation of the new NASL and the commencement of play in 2011, the modern era’s league finals saw the NSC Minnesota Stars (now Minnesota United FC) and Tampa Bay Rowdies triumph in 2011 and 2012, respectively, in games played over two legs.  Minnesota overcame the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in 2011 and then lost to the Rowdies in a penalty kicks in 2012.

In 2013, the NASL Final was held as a single match format, for the first time since 1983, between the two season winners (Spring, Fall).  The Fall Season Champion, New York Cosmos captured their sixth overall title by defeating the Spring campaign winners Atlanta Silverbacks, 1-0.

The Championship, the league’s new four-team postseason tournament, was introduced in 2014 which consisted of the season winners (Spring – Minnesota United FC, Fall – San Antonio Scorpions) along with the next two best overall teams from the NASL Combined Standings (Cosmos, Strikers).  The host Scorpions captured their first NASL Soccer Bowl Trophy after defeating Strikers, 2-1, before a modern-era record crowd of 7,847 at Toyota Field in The Championship Final.

The NASL Championship is the third oldest men’s professional outdoor soccer prize in the United States.



NASL Champions

SEASON CHAMPION    RUNNER UP    TOP GOAL SCORER    

1967 NPSL- Oakland Clippers Baltimore Bays Yanko Daucik, Toronto Falcons

USA-Los Angeles Wolves Washington Whips Roberto Boninsegna, Chicago Mustangs

1968  Atlanta Chiefs  San Diego Toros  Janusz Kowalik, Chicago Mustangs

1969#  Kansas City Spurs  Atlanta Chiefs  Kazier Motaung, Atlanta Chiefs

1970  Rochester Lancers  Washington Darts  Kirk Apostolidis, Dallas Tornado

1971  Dallas Tornado  Atlanta Chiefs  Carlos Metrdieri, Rochester Lancers

1972  New York Cosmos  St Louis Stars   Randy Horton, New York Cosmos

1973  Philadelphia Atoms  Dallas Tornado  Kyle Rote Jr., Dallas Tornados

1974   Los Angeles Aztecs  Miami Toros   Paul Child, San Jose Earthquakes

1975   Tampa Bay Rowdies  Portland Timbers  Steve David, Miami Toros

1976   Toronto Metros-Croatia  Minnesota Kicks  Giorgio Chinaglia, New York Cosmos

1977   New York Cosmos  Seattle Sounders  Steve David, Los Angeles Aztecs

1978   New York Cosmos  Tampa Bay Rowdies  Giorgio Chinaglia, New York Cosmos

1979   Vancouver Whitecaps  Tampa Bay Rowdies  Oscar Fabiani, Tampa Bay Rowdies

1980   New York Cosmos  Fort Lauderdale Strikers  Giorgio Chinaglia, New York Cosmos

1981   Chicago Sting  New York Cosmos  Giorgio Chinaglia, New York Cosmos

1982   New York Cosmos  Seattle Sounders  Giorgio Chinaglia, New York Cosmos

1983   Tulsa Roughnecks  Toronto Blizzard  Roberto Cabañas, New York Cosmos

1984   Chicago Sting  Toronto Blizzard  Steve Zungul, San Jose Earthquakes

2011  NSC Minnesota Stars Fort Lauderdale Strikers Etienne Barbara, Carolina RailHawks

2012  Tampa Bay Rowdies Minnesota Stars Pablo Campos, San Antonio Scorpions

2013  New York Cosmos   Atlanta Silverbacks   Brian Shriver, Carolina RailHawks

2014  San Antonio Scorpions   Fort Lauderdale Strikers   Christian Ramirez, Minnesota United FC

 

# No Championship Game, League Title Awarded For Most Points In Regular Season