The Championship Of NASL
After the creation of the North American Soccer League in 1968, the league’s 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 the NASL Final (in either a single game, home-and-away playoff, or best-of-three series). The exception was in 1969 when no championship game was played and the Kansas City Spurs were crowned the league winners, after amassing the most points in the regular season.
The NASL also recognized two champions in 1967: the Oakland Clippers of the NPSL and the Los Angeles Wolves of the USA, before they merged into the NASL.
The NASL Soccer Bowl began in 1975, when Commissioner Phil Woosnam conceived a week-long, neutral-site championship, similar to the NFL’s Super Bowl.
Unlike the Super Bowl, Soccer Bowl was not denoted by Roman numerals; instead the last digits of the year were used (for example Soccer Bowl ’75).
In 1984, the league changed the neutral-site format to 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 Portugal international striker Eusébio led the Toronto Metros-Croatia to the NASL title in 1976, becoming the first team from Canada to win the trophy.
The next year, Brazilian forward and three-time World Cup winner Pelé concluded his playing career by leading the New York Cosmos to their first Soccer Bowl title.by 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 in East Rutherford, N.J., as the Cosmos topped the Rowdies, 3-1, to win Soccer Bowl ’78.
Giants Stadium again staged the Soccer Bowl in 1979, when the Vancouver Whitecaps became the second Canadian team to win the NASL title, defeating the Rowdies, 2-1.
The Cosmos regained the title in 1980, blanking the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, 3-0, at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in Washington.
After losing the 1981 title to the Chicago Sting at Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium, the Cosmos captured their fourth Soccer Bowl, and the club’s fifth NASL Championship, in 1982 with a 1-0 shutout of the Seattle Sounders in San Diego.
Vancouver became the second Canadian city to stage the Soccer Bowl as the Tulsa Roughnecks topped the Toronto Blizzard, 2-0, at BC Place in 1983.
The next year, Soccer Bowl was a best-of-three series as the Sting won their second league title, sweeping the Blizzard in two matches, first at Chicago’s Comiskey Park and then at Toronto’s Varsity Stadium, to capture the 1984 title. Cosmos’ captured league-best third (in modern
With the launch of the new NASL and the start of play in 2011, the NSC Minnesota Stars (now Minnesota United FC) and then the Tampa Bay Rowdies in 2012 were the first champions of the league’s Modern Era playing a two-leg series.
Minnesota defeated the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in 2011 and then lost to the Rowdies in a penalty-kick shootout the next year.
In 2013, the format shifted to a single-game NASL Final (for the first time since 1983) between the winners of the Spring Season (New York Cosmos) and the Fall Season (Atlanta Silverbacks). New York captured its sixth championship, 1-0, on a free kick by the Spanish star Marcos Senna.
The Championship, the league’s four-team postseason tournament, was introduced in 2014. The winners of the Spring Season (Minnesota) and the Fall Season (San Antonio), plus the two teams (New York and Fort Lauderdale) with the next-best point totals in the Combined Standings also advanced. After the Cosmos and Loons were eliminated, the host San Antonio captured their first NASL Soccer Bowl Trophy, defeating the Strikers, 2-1, at Toyota Field in The Championship Final.
In 2015, the Cosmos again reigned over the NASL, defeating Ottawa Fury FC, 3-2, in the league’s final. New York, the Spring Season Champion, defeated the Strikers in The Championship Semifinals. Ottawa, the Fall Season winners, ousted Minnesota United, 2-1, in extra time to advance. The Championship Final was played before a Modern Era record crowd of 10,166 at Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y. The Soccer Bowl Trophy is the third-oldest professional outdoor soccer prize in the United States.
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
2015: New York Cosmos, Ottawa Fury FC, Stefano Pinho - Fort Lauderdale Strikers
* No Championship Game, League Title Awarded For Most Points In Regular Season