1984 United Soccer League season

The 1984 USL season was the United Soccer League's first and only full season.

United Soccer League
ChampionsFort Lauderdale Sun
PremiersOklahoma City Stampede
Matches played108
Goals scored400 (3.7 per match)
Top goalscorerJose Neto
(22 goals)
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The creation of Ingo Krieg, owner of the Jacksonville Tea Men, the United Soccer League formally announced its existence on February 1, 1984. The roots go back to Krieg's frustration over the direction taken by the second division American Soccer League which was declining after a period of overexpansion and financial excesses. Krieg proposed the creation of a financially sound league. In late January 1984, three ASL teams, the Dallas Americans, Detroit Express and Jacksonville Tea Men informed the ASL that they intended to move to the USL for the upcoming season.[1] When the league announced its formal creation on the first of February, it added to the list of teams by including one in Oklahoma City and another in North Carolina.[2] By the end of February, the list of teams had solidified with Detroit dropping out and Buffalo and Fort Lauderdale joining. Bill Burfeind was named league commissioner[3] On March 18, 1984, the league announced a final line-up of nine teams in three divisions. The season would run from May 12 through August 15.[4]

The season went fairly smoothly for a recently founded league, but the playoffs began with considerable confusion. The last week of July, league officials announced that the top team in each division would make the playoffs, for a total of three teams. The two teams with the next highest total points would play a single wild card game to determine the fourth team in the playoffs. Then the team with the highest number of points would play the team with the lowest in one semifinal and the middle two teams would play in the other semifinal. However, on Friday, August 17, two days before the first playoff games, league officials changed the format. They announced that Oklahoma City, which had topped the league with 127 points would play the winner of the wild card game, and not the Buffalo Storm which had the lowest number of points. Then the Storm owner, Sal DeRosa, announced that all games between his team and the Fort Lauderdale Storm would take place in Florida because of the low attendance at Buffalo home games.[5]

Fort Lauderdale Sun owner, Ronnie Sharp was forced to sell his team shortly after winning the 1984 championship, because of his involvement in a drug smuggling operation.[6] Entertainment Investors, Inc., which was mostly made up of a group of doctors that used to sit together at Strikers' games, took over control of the Sun.

League standings

Northern Division

Place Team GP W T L GF GA Points %
1 Buffalo Storm 24 11 0 13 48 41 96 .458
2 New York Nationals 24 10 0 14 32 53 84 .417
3 Rochester Flash 24 7 0 17 27 49 65 .292

Southern Division

Place Team GP W T L GF GA Points %
1 Fort Lauderdale Sun 24 15 0 9 53 34 122 .625
2 Charlotte Gold 24 11 0 13 48 59 105 .458
3 Jacksonville Tea Men 24 11 0 13 46 50 98 .458

Western Division

Place Team GP W T L GF GA Points %
1 Oklahoma City Stampede 24 15 0 9 55 42 127 .625
2 Houston Dynamos 24 13 0 11 54 38 112 .542
3 Dallas Americans 24 14 0 10 37 34 110 .583


Wild card

Houston Dynamos (TX)2–1Dallas Americans (TX)
Jose Neto
Jose Neto  69'
J.K. Butler Stadium, Houston, Texas

Semifinal 1

Houston Dynamos (TX)3–1 (a.e.t.)Oklahoma City Stampede (OK)
Walter Schlothauer  2'
Jose Neto  94' (pen.)
Manny Neves  109' (pen.)
 12' Thompson Usiyan
 110' Thompson Usiyan
J.K. Butler Stadium, Houston, Texas
Attendance: 2,431
Referee: Bob Evans (USA)

Oklahoma City Stampede (OK)1–2Houston Dynamos (TX)
Kenny Killingsworth  13'  28' Manny Andruszewski
 55' Jose Neto
 69' Jose Neto
Referee: Bill Schofield (USA)

Semifinal 2

Fort Lauderdale Sun (FL)3–0Buffalo Storm (NY)
Mark Schwartz (Cubillas) 59:20'
Teófilo Cubillas  62:58'
Teófilo Cubillas (Crescitelli)  76:59'
Tom Groark  70:13'
John Lignos  76:59'

Fort Lauderdale Sun (FL)5–1Buffalo Storm (NY)
Mark Schwartz  12:16'
Mark Schwartz  17:49'
Teófilo Cubillas  42:20'
Mark Schwartz  45:21'
Christiansen  52'
Dave Watson  56:53'
 49:12' Jerry Martello
 52' Jerry Martello
 55' Corney


Houston Dynamos (TX)1–1 (a.e.t.)Fort Lauderdale Sun (FL)
Giulio Bernardi  105:30'  78' Tom Mulroy
 83' Asa Hartford
 98:12' Keith Weller (Christensen)
David Irving
Jose Neto
Walter Schlothauer
Giulio Bernardi
Lesh Shkreli
4–2 Mark Longwell
Boris Bandov
Ronil Dufrene
Tom Groark
J.K. Butler Stadium, Houston, Texas
Referee: Manuel Ortiz (USA)[9]
Fort Lauderdale Sun (FL)3–0Houston Dynamos (TX)
Mark Schwartz (Crescitelli)  11:04'
Mark Schwartz (Cubillas)  22:43'
Teófilo Cubillas (Dufrene)  33:15'
Attendance: 4,250
Referee: Ron Miller[10]
Fort Lauderdale Sun (FL)1–1 (a.e.t.)Houston Dynamos (TX)
Dave Watson (Bandov)  41:08' Report  33:20' Jose Neto (Hilton)
Teófilo Cubillas
Mark Schwartz
John Lignos
Tom Mulroy
Boris Bandov
Dave Watson
3–2 Jose Neto
Nathan Sacks
Beto Dos Santos
Manny Andruszewski
Glenn Davis[11]


Points leaders

Rank Scorer Club Goals Assists Points
1 Jose Neto Houston Dynamos 22 8 30
2 David Kemp Oklahoma City Stampede 28
3 Thompson Usiyan Oklahoma City Stampede 26
4 Mark Schwartz Fort Lauderdale Sun 13 6 19
5 Carlos Salguero Buffalo Storm 19
6 Tony Johnson Houston Dynamos 11 7 18


  1. 3 ASL Clubs Plan to Join New League The Daily Oklahoman - Monday, January 30, 1984
  2. UNITED LEAGUE BRINGS SOCCER BACK TO TOWN Miami Herald, The (FL) - Wednesday, February 1, 1984
  3. United Soccer League Names Six Franchises The Daily Oklahoman - Thursday, February 23, 1984
  4. Soccer League Officially Formed The Daily Oklahoman - Sunday, March 18, 1984
  5. SUN TO PLAY HOST TO BUFFALO Miami Herald, The (FL) - Saturday, August 18, 1984
  6. Sarni, Jim (September 3, 1984). "Taste of championship sweet for Cubillas, Sun". Fort Lauderdale News. p. 11C. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  7. Sarni, Jim (August 24, 1984). "High-pressure tactics net Sun playoff win". Fort Lauderdale News. p. 1C. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  8. Sarni, Jim (August 26, 1984). "Sun rout Storm advance USL finals". Fort Lauderdale News. p. 1C. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  9. Sarni, Jim (August 30, 1984). "Dynamos upset Sun in Game 1". Fort Lauderdale News. p. 1C. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  10. Sarni, Jim (September 1, 1984). "Sun ties series; title at stake tonight". Fort Lauderdale News. p. 1C. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  11. "Sun Beats Houston 2–1 To Win Title". Palm Beach Post. September 2, 1984. p. D9. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  12. Sarni, Jim (September 2, 1984). "Sun wins USL crown with shootout victory". Fort Lauderdale News. p. 1C. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  13. Sarni, Jim (September 3, 1984). "Taste of championship sweet for Cubillas, Sun". Fort Lauderdale News. p. 11C. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
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