Continental Indoor Soccer League

The Continental Indoor Soccer League (CISL) was a professional indoor soccer league that played from 1993 to 1997.

Continental Indoor
Soccer League
Continental Indoor Soccer League logo
First season1993
Country United States
Number of teams15
Last championsSeattle SeaDogs
Most championshipsMonterrey La Raza
(2 titles)
TV partnersPrime Network
FSN Southwest


In the summer of 1989 Dr Jerry Buss, the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers and California Sports, told his executive Vice President, Ron Weinstein, he was closing the doors on the Los Angeles Lazers of the Major Indoor Soccer League, MISL, and that if he ever wanted to "create a professional indoor soccer league that played in the summer months, out from under the shadow of the NBA, NFL, NHL, NCAA Football and NCAA Basketball", he would support the endeavor. It was then that the seed was planted in Ron's mind.[1] One year later, in the fall of 1990, Ron Weinstein incorporated the Continental Indoor Soccer League, CISL. Ron, along with his business partner Jorge Ragde, drafted all the necessary franchise documents to bring the league into fruition and create what was the first professional sports league to operate under the "single entity" formula in 1991.[2] Jerry Buss stood by Ron every step of the way until Earvin "Magic" Johnson announced he was HIV positive.[3] Jerry's mind was understandably taken elsewhere for a short period of time. Prior to his temporary absence, Jerry and Ron reached out to Phoenix Suns owner, Jerry Colangelo, and convinced him to be one of the inaugural members of the League.[4]

In Dr. Buss's absence, Colangelo stepped up to the plate to take the lead role in working with Ron to attract NBA and NHL owners. Through Buss's and Colangelo's cooperative efforts they orchestrated two CISL meetings in conjunction with their own NBA Board of Governors meetings. The first was held in 1991 in Marina Del Rey and the second in New York City in 1992. Needless to say their efforts paid off and the CISL was launched with 7 teams committed to begin playing in the summer of 1993 with another eight contracted for 1994.[5]

Monterrey La Raza made the CISL the first US league to have a team from Mexico participating. In 1995, a second team entered the league, the Mexico City Toros.[6] By the end of the 1995 season, the third year of the league, 50% of the teams were already profitable; a feat unprecedented in professional sports history. In 1996, Ron signed a three-year agreement with FOX Sports to televise a game of the week nationally in prime time. Concurrently he signed with General Motors to a three-year million dollar contract to be the official car of the CISL.[7] That same year, the Indiana Twisters became the next expansion franchise admitted to the league.

"The league has become very credible. ... We definitely look upon ourselves as a major-league sport. If you look at the roots of the NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball and NFL, we are so far ahead of the game from where they were when they finished their fourth year." Ron Weinstein was quoted saying to the Houston Chronicle.[8]

In the fall of 1997, the surprising demise of the league took place primarily due to differences of direction between the NBA/NHL owners and three of the leagues non NBA/NHL teams: Dallas, Portland and Houston. They collaborated in an effort to leave the CISL and form their own league, The Premier Soccer Alliance. It is the opinion of many executives within the sports world, that indoor Soccer has never again reached the pinnacle of the CISL since operations formally ceased in the winter of 1998.[9]

The Continental Indoor Soccer League Championship Trophy was titled the "Lawrence Trophy" named in honor of the commissioner and founder's father, Lawrence Albert Weinstein.


Team NBA/NHL Affiliate City/Area Arena
Anaheim Splash Private owner Anaheim, California Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim
Arizona Sandsharks Phoenix Suns Phoenix, Arizona America West Arena
Carolina Vipers Private owner Charlotte, North Carolina Independence Arena
Dallas Sidekicks Dallas Mavericks Dallas Reunion Arena
Detroit Neon Detroit Pistons Auburn Hills, Michigan The Palace of Auburn Hills
Detroit Safari(2nd version of Neon) Private owner Auburn Hills, Michigan The Palace of Auburn Hills
Houston Hotshots Private owner Houston The Summit
Indiana Twisters Private owner Indianapolis Market Square Arena
Las Vegas Dustdevils Private owner Las Vegas MGM Grand Garden Arena/Thomas & Mack Center
Los Angeles United Los Angeles Lakers Los Angeles The Forum
Monterrey La Raza Private owner Monterrey, Nuevo León Gimnasio Del Tec de Monterrey
Mexico Toros Private owner Mexico City Palacio de los Deportes
Portland Pride Private owner Portland, Oregon Memorial Coliseum
Pittsburgh Stingers Pittsburgh Penguins Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Civic Arena
Sacramento Knights Sacramento Kings Sacramento, California ARCO Arena
San Diego Sockers Private owner San Diego San Diego Sports Arena
San Jose Grizzlies (also the Gold) San Jose Sharks San Jose, California San Jose Arena
Seattle SeaDogs Seattle SuperSonics Seattle Seattle Center Coliseum/KeyArena
Washington Warthogs Washington Warthogs Landover, Maryland USAir Arena

Lawrence Trophy Champions

Season Champion Series Runner-Up
1993 Dallas Sidekicks 2-1 San Diego Sockers
1994 Las Vegas Dustdevils 2-1 Dallas Sidekicks
1995 Monterrey La Raza 2-1 Sacramento Knights
1996 Monterrey La Raza 2-0 Houston Hotshots
1997 Seattle SeaDogs 2-0 Houston Hotshots

By Team

Team Championships Winning years
Monterrey La Raza 2 1995, 1996
Dallas Sidekicks 1 1993
Las Vegas Dustdevils 1 1994
Seattle SeaDogs 1 1997

Annual awards

Most Valuable Player

Goalkeeper of the Year

Coach of the Year

Rookie of the Year

Defender of the Year

Playoff MVP


  1. ^ "Houston Chronicle".
  2. ^ CISL Communications (1997). CISL Official Guide. Sports Press LLC.
  3. ^ "ESPN". September 2004.
  4. ^ "Jerry Colangelo Archives • Fun While It Lasted".
  5. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ "The Daily".
  7. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Duarte, Joseph. "Cisl's Weinstein Calls League Credible and Eyes Expansion". Houston Chronicle.
  9. ^ HENDERSON, MARTIN (24 December 1997). "Soccer League Will Cease Operations". Los Angeles Times – via LA Times.

External links

Anaheim Splash

The Anaheim Splash was a U.S. indoor soccer team that played in the Continental Indoor Soccer League (CISL). It was founded in 1992 as the Los Angeles United, but was sold after the season. The new ownership moved the team to Anaheim, California and renamed it the Anaheim Splash. The team folded in 1997, along with the CISL.

Arizona Sandsharks

Arizona Sandsharks was a U.S. indoor soccer team that played in the Continental Indoor Soccer League (CISL). It was founded in 1992 and folded in 1997, along with the CISL.

Dale Ervine

Dale Ervine (born May 19, 1964 in Torrance, California) is a former U.S. soccer midfielder who spent most of his career playing indoor soccer. He also earned five caps with the U.S. national team between 1985 and 1993.

Dave Kasper

Dave Kasper is a retired American soccer player and the general manager for D.C. United.

Detroit Safari

The Detroit Safari (founded as the Detroit Neon) was a member of the Continental Indoor Soccer League that played at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Their owners, the Palace Sports Group were awarded a franchise on November 4, 1993. Their star player and unofficial coach (the CISL prohibited player-coaches) was experienced indoor player Andy Chapman.The name Detroit Neon was a reference to the Dodge Neon and came from a sponsorship from the Chrysler Corporation like fellow Palace Sports team the International Hockey League Detroit Vipers. In 1997 the naming rights were sold to General Motors and they were named after the GMC Safari minivan. The team folded along with the closing of the Continental Indoor Soccer League after the 1997 season.During the team's existence, some games (including all 1997 home games) were televised on PASS Sports. They led the league in attendance in their first season (1994) and never placed below fifth in league attendance for a season. During the five seasons that the Neon/Safari played, their average attendance was 6,232.

Houston Hotshots

The Houston Hotshots are a professional indoor soccer team in Houston, Texas. They play in the Premier Arena Soccer League (PASL) From 1994 to 1997 and 2000-2001, the Houston Hotshots were a full professional indoor soccer team in Houston, Texas. They played in the Continental Indoor Soccer League (CISL) from 1994 to 1997, and moved to the World Indoor Soccer League in 1999 after the CISL folded. The Hotshots folded in early 2001 after failing to attract new investors. On June 28, 2015, William Alsobrook filed the necessary paperwork to revive the club and announced his intention to field a team in the upcoming Premier Arena Soccer League season.

Jeff Baicher

Jeff Baicher (born November 16, 1968 in Sunnyvale, California) is a retired American soccer forward whose professional career took him through multiple leagues, including the Western Soccer League, American Professional Soccer League, Continental Indoor Soccer League and Major League Soccer. He ended his playing career with the Bay Area Seals of the USL A-League. He earned two caps with the U.S. national team and coaches youth soccer.

Jim Gabarra

Jim Gabarra (born September 22, 1959) is a retired American soccer forward who coached the Washington Spirit National Women's Soccer League team, and previously coached Sky Blue FC and the Washington Freedom women's soccer teams. He played professionally in the American Soccer League, United Soccer League, American Indoor Soccer Association, Major Indoor Soccer League and Western Soccer Alliance.

John Bain (soccer)

John Bain (born 3 June 1957 in Falkirk, Scotland) is a retired Scottish-US soccer midfielder who currently coaches youth soccer in the United States. Bain began his professional career in England before moving to the United States in 1978. Over his twenty-year playing career, Bain played for numerous leagues and teams, both indoors and out. After retiring from playing professionally, he has coached at the professional, youth club and high school levels in the US.

Las Vegas Dustdevils

The Las Vegas Dustdevils were an indoor soccer team based out of Las Vegas, Nevada that played in the Continental Indoor Soccer League (CISL). The team won the league championship in 1994, but folded after their second season.

Paul Child (soccer)

Paul Child (born December 8, 1952) is an English-American former soccer forward who played nine seasons in the North American Soccer League. He led the league in scoring in 1974 and was a two time first team All-Star. He also earned two caps with the U.S. national team in 1973. He is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

Pittsburgh Stingers

The Pittsburgh Stingers are a defunct indoor soccer team that played in the Continental Indoor Soccer League (CISL) for two seasons from 1994 to 1995.

Portland Pride

The Portland Pride are a defunct indoor soccer team that played in the Continental Indoor Soccer League (CISL) from 1993 to 1997.

Sacramento Knights

Sacramento Knights were an indoor soccer team that played from 1993 to 2001 in ARCO Arena and were owned by the NBA's Sacramento Kings. The team played in the Continental Indoor Soccer League from 1993 to 1997. The team then moved to the World Indoor Soccer League in 1998 after the CISL folded. The team itself folded when the WISL merged with the Major Indoor Soccer League in 2001.

Sam George (soccer)

Sam George (born June 29, 1970 in Mission Viejo, California) is a retired American soccer midfielder who played two seasons in the Western Soccer Alliance, three in the Continental Indoor Soccer League and four in Major League Soccer.

Samuel Ekemé

Samuel Ekemé Ndiba (born July 12, 1966 in Kumba) is a Cameroonian former football player who spent ten seasons in Cameroon, one in Major League Soccer, at least two in the USISL, one in the Continental Indoor Soccer League and five in the National Professional Soccer League / Major Indoor Soccer League. He was a member of the Cameroon national football team at the 1994 World Cup.

San Jose Grizzlies

San Jose Grizzlies were a professional indoor soccer team based in San Jose, California. The team was founded on November 24, 1993 as a member of the Continental Indoor Soccer League. After playing in the 1994 and 1995 CISL seasons, the Grizzlies folded following the 1995 season. The team played at San Jose Arena. In two seasons the Grizzlies avg. attendance was 3,712.

Seattle SeaDogs

The Seattle SeaDogs are a defunct indoor soccer team that played in the Continental Indoor Soccer League (CISL) from 1995 to 1997. They won the last CISL championship in 1997.

Washington Warthogs

The Washington Warthogs were a professional indoor soccer team in the Continental Indoor Soccer League (CISL) from 1994–1997. They played their home games in the USAir Arena in Landover, Maryland, an arena they shared with the Washington Capitals, Washington Bullets and the Georgetown Hoyas.

The Warthogs featured the league's only female player, first with Colette Cunningham and then Kristine Lilly replaced her the next year. Also of note, their head coach, Jim Gabarra, was also a player.

The Warthogs were particularly popular with families, as parents would take their kids to the inexpensive games. The team's popularity largely fed on growing participation in soccer among area youth.

The two top players of the team over its history were Denison Cabral and Dante Washington. Both went on to strong outdoor careers with Washington playing in MLS, and both later played for the Baltimore Blast of the MISL.

The 4 season that the Warthogs played in Washington they average attendance was 6,489 per game.

Clyde Watson went on to coach Women's Professional Soccer and girls elite travel soccer.

Ritchie Burke, Irad Young, and Marcello Valencia became coaches for Public and Private schools, as well as travel soccer teams.

David Tenney was in charge of Manassas soccer Goalkeepers, now lives in Washington State.

Kyle Glasgow was the only fan elected to the Warthog hall of fame.

Some games were televised on HTS.

Continental Indoor Soccer League seasons
Defunct soccer leagues in the United States

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