American Professional Soccer League

The American Professional Soccer League (APSL) was a professional men's soccer league with teams from the United States and later Canada. It was formed in 1990 by the merger of the third American Soccer League with the Western Soccer League.[2]

It was the first outdoor soccer league to feature teams from throughout the United States since the demise of the original North American Soccer League in 1984.[2] Between 1990 and 1995 it was the de facto top professional soccer league in the United States. After 1993 it was also the top league in the Canadian soccer pyramid.

However it was never officially granted Level 1 / Division 1 status on the United States soccer pyramid because, at the time, FIFA would not give this status to leagues that crossed national borders. In 1993, it applied for the vacant Level 1/Division 1 role but lost out to Major League Soccer.[3]

For its final two seasons, 1995 and 1996, the APSL changed its name to the "A-League". It was subsequently absorbed by the emerging United Soccer League organization. The USL retained the A-League name until 2004 when it became the USL First Division.

American Professional Soccer League
SportSoccer
Founded1990
Ceased1996
No. of teams22 in 1990
Country United States
 Canada
Last
champion(s)
Seattle Sounders
TV partner(s)Prime Network[1]

History

In 1989, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, the winners of the American Soccer League defeated San Diego Nomads, the winners of the Western Soccer League in a play-off game and as a result were declared United States soccer champions.[4] In 1990, the two leagues merged as the American Professional Soccer League. However, during its inaugural season, in order to avoid high travel expenses, the APSL remained essentially two separate leagues. The ASL became the American Soccer Conference and featured teams from the East Coast, while the WSL became the Western Soccer Conference and featured teams from the West Coast. Teams only played other teams from within the same conference and it was not until the title decider, between Maryland Bays and San Francisco Bay Blackhawks that teams from the two different conferences actually met in a competitive game.[2][5]

Throughout its existence, the league would struggle financially and its roster of teams quickly dropped from 22 in 1990 to just 5 in 1992. However, in 1993 the league received a lifeline when following the demise of the Canadian Soccer League, three former CSL clubs – Vancouver 86ers, Montreal Impact and Toronto Blizzard – joined the APSL.[3][6]

As part of the conditions for been awarded the 1994 FIFA World Cup, the United States Soccer Federation had agreed to launch a new Level 1/Division 1 professional league. In December 1993, together with League One America and Major League Soccer, the APSL was one of three proposals that was put before the USSF national board of directors. At the time the APSL was the only candidate who were actually operating as a league. It featured several established clubs and its roster of players included several members of the United States men's national soccer team. Despite this they lost out to the MLS.[3][6] This decision was effectively the beginning of the end for the APSL and it subsequently went into decline. Despite rebranding itself as the A-League, it faced increasing competition on two fronts. The USISL, later to become the United Soccer Leagues, had initially confined itself to organising regional leagues. However, by 1995 it began organising on a national level. By 1996 the MLS was also up and running and a number of top A-League players left to join it.[7] In 1996 the A-League and the USISL Select League agreed to merge. Six of the seven remaining A-League teams – Montreal Impact, Colorado Foxes, Seattle Sounders, Rochester Raging Rhinos, Vancouver 86ers and Atlanta Ruckus – and two planned A-League expansion teams Toronto Lynx and Hershey Wildcats effectively joined the USISL Select League. However the new league retained the A-League name.[8]

Complete team list

Champions

By year

Year Winner Runners-up Top scorer
1990 Maryland Bays San Francisco Bay Blackhawks Chance Fry
1991 San Francisco Bay Blackhawks Albany Capitals Jean Harbor
1992 Colorado Foxes Tampa Bay Rowdies Jean Harbor
1993 Colorado Foxes Los Angeles Salsa Paulinho Criciúma
1994 Montreal Impact Colorado Foxes Paul Wright
1995 Seattle Sounders Atlanta Ruckus Peter Hattrup
1996 Seattle Sounders Rochester Raging Rhinos Wolde Harris

By club

Club Winner Seasons Won
Colorado Foxes 2 1992, 1993
Seattle Sounders 2 1995, 1996
Maryland Bays 1 1990
San Francisco Bay Blackhawks 1 1991
Montreal Impact 1 1994

League average attendance

  • Regular season/playoffs
  • 1996: 4,946/4,781
  • 1995: 3,347/5,280
  • 1994: 3,478/6,082
  • 1993: 2,271/2,903
  • 1992: 2,104/1,502
  • 1991: 1,827/3,106
  • 1990: 1,082/2,039

References

  1. ^ The Year in American Soccer – 1995
  2. ^ a b c The Year in American Soccer – 1990
  3. ^ a b c The Year in American Soccer – 1993
  4. ^ The Year in American Soccer – 1989
  5. ^ nytimes.com
  6. ^ a b Wangerin, David (2008). Soccer in a Football World: The Story of America's Forgotten Game (Paperback). Temple University Press. (ISBN 1-59213-885-3).
  7. ^ The Year in American Soccer – 1995
  8. ^ The Year in American Soccer – 1996
1990 American Professional Soccer League

Overview of the 1990 American Professional Soccer League season. Although the Western Soccer League and the American Soccer League merged to form the American Professional Soccer League in 1990, the two leagues remained essentially independent leagues, linked by name alone. During this season, they ran separate regular season schedules with two different points systems. They each had their own playoff formats, had separate league MVPs and had their own All-League teams. The first game between the two leagues came in September when the Maryland Bays of the American Soccer League defeated the San Francisco Bay Blackhawks of the Western Soccer League for the American Professional Soccer League championship.

1991 American Professional Soccer League

Final league standings for the 1991 American Professional Soccer League season.

1992 American Professional Soccer League

Final league standings for the 1992 American Professional Soccer League season.

1993 American Professional Soccer League

Statistics of American Professional Soccer League in season 1993.

1994 American Professional Soccer League

Statistics of American Professional Soccer League in season 1994.

A-League (1995–2004)

The A-League was a professional men's soccer league which featured teams from the United States and Canada. The A-League emerged from the restructured American Professional Soccer League in 1995 and operated until 2004, after which it was re-branded the USL First Division. During its first season, in 1995, it was the de facto top professional soccer league in both countries, before it was replaced at the top of the United States soccer pyramid by Major League Soccer (MLS) in 1996.

American Soccer League (1988–89)

The American Soccer League has been a name used by four different professional soccer sports league in the United States. In 1988, the third American Soccer League was created as an East Coast counterpart to the West Coast-based Western Soccer Alliance. The third iteration of the ASL lasted only two seasons, merging with the WSA in 1990 to form the American Professional Soccer League.

Bruce Murray (soccer)

Bruce Edward Murray (born January 25, 1966) is a retired American soccer forward/Mid fielder, who at the time of his retirement was the all-time leading scorer for the U.S. National Team. His standout college career led to his selection by Soccer America Magazine to its College Team of the Century. He then played professionally in both Europe and the United States, including the American Soccer League and American Professional Soccer League. Concussion syndrome forced him to retire in 1995, Murray had earned 86 caps, scoring 21 goals, including one at the 1990 FIFA World Cup. He was also a member of the U.S. national futsal team which placed third at the 1989 FIFA Futsal World Championship. He currently coaches at the Center for Soccer Excellence at The St. James in Springfield, Virginia. He is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

Colorado Foxes

The Colorado Foxes were a professional soccer team, based in Commerce City, Colorado, that played in the American Professional Soccer League, and later in the A-League, between 1990 and 1997. The Foxes won two APSL titles, in 1992 and 1993. In 1992 they won the regular season as well as the Professional Cup, giving them a minor treble.When Major League Soccer started and the Colorado Rapids became the region's premier team, the Foxes tried to stay afloat for two years, before relocating, becoming the San Diego Flash. Players that played for the Foxes and then went on to play in MLS include Marcelo Balboa, Robin Fraser, Brian Haynes, Chad Ashton, Tom Soehn, Ted Eck, Chris John, and Mark Dodd.

Fort Lauderdale Strikers (1988–1994)

The Fort Lauderdale Strikers were an American soccer team established in 1988 as part of the third American Soccer League. In 1990, it moved to the American Professional Soccer League where it spent five seasons before folding in 1994. The Strikers won the 1989 ASL championship, as well as the 1989 National Pro Soccer Championship.

Gary Collier (footballer)

Gary Bernard Collier (born 4 February 1955) is an English former professional footballer who played as a central defender. Active in both England and the United States, Collier made over 500 career league appearances.

Los Angeles Heat

Los Angeles Heat joined the Western Soccer Alliance in 1986. They joined the American Professional Soccer League in 1990 when the WSL merged with the American Soccer League. The club played in Los Angeles, California.

Los Angeles Salsa

The Los Angeles Salsa was a refounded American Professional Soccer League franchise. The club played on the campus of California State University, Fullerton at Titan Stadium in Orange County, California. It also played home games at Weingart Stadium on the campus of East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park, California.

North American Soccer Football League

The North American Soccer Football League, also known as the North American Football League, was a soccer league that operated for two seasons, 1946 and 1947.

Fred Weiszmann was the league founder and first president in 1946 while Leslie O'Connor was the president in 1947 (as elected in December 1946).

Financial problems reduced the league to five teams in September 1947. The Maroons and Vikings of Chicago were replaced with the Chicago Tornadoes. The remaining teams were the St. Louis Raiders, Pittsburgh Indians, Toronto Greenbacks, and Detroit Pioneers. The Tornadoes were a combination of the best players from the old Vikings and Maroons.

Robin Fraser

Robin Fraser (born December 17, 1966) is an American soccer coach and former player. He is currently an assistant coach for Toronto FC of Major League Soccer.

Fraser played six seasons in the American Professional Soccer League and ten in Major League Soccer. He earned 27 caps with the United States men's national soccer team between 1988 and 2001.

San Diego Nomads

The San Diego Nomads is a U.S. soccer team in San Diego, California.

San Francisco Bay Blackhawks

San Francisco Bay Blackhawks were a professional soccer team which came into existence in 1989 as a team in the Western Soccer League (WSL). The Blackhawks spent time in the American Professional Soccer League (APSL) and the United States Interregional Soccer League (USISL). In 1993, the team competed in USISL as the San Jose Hawks, but left organized competition at the end of the season.

Seattle Sounders (1994–2008)

Seattle Sounders was an American professional soccer team founded in 1994 as a member of the American Professional Soccer League. In 1997, the team became a member of the USL First Division, the second tier of the United States soccer pyramid, until 2008, after which the majority of the team's staff and resources were directed to the new Major League Soccer franchise, Seattle Sounders FC.

They played their last season at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Washington, having previously played for many years at Qwest Field (now CenturyLink Field). The team was last coached by Brian Schmetzer. The team's colors were blue and white. The team had a sister organization, the Seattle Sounders Women, who played in the women's USL W-League.

Toronto Blizzard (1986–93)

This article is about the second Toronto Blizzard that played from 1986–1993. For the original team of the NASL, see Toronto Blizzard (1971–84).The second iteration of the Toronto Blizzard emerged from the folding of the North American Soccer League. It played in the Canadian Soccer League from 1986 to 1992 until the CSL folded in 1992. The Blizzard attempted to play in the American Professional Soccer League, but folded the very next season in 1993 after poor financial prospects and lack of attendance.

Defunct soccer leagues in the United States
Outdoor
Indoor/Arena
Women's

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