National Professional Soccer League (1984–2001)

The National Professional Soccer League was a professional indoor soccer league in the US and Canada. It was originally called the American Indoor Soccer Association.

National Professional
Soccer League
FoundedApril 18, 1984
(as AISA)
Country United States
Number of teams15
Last championsMilwaukee Wave


After five years of study, a group called Soccer Leagues Unlimited, based in Kalamazoo, Michigan, first unveiled its plans for an indoor league, composed exclusively of American players, in November 1983. The group's president, Bob Lemieux (later AISA commissioner), announced that Kalamazoo, Fort Wayne and Springfield, IL were already on board in what was he said was intended to be a sort of farm system, or developmental league, for the well established Major Indoor Soccer League. He added that groups in Indianapolis, Peoria, and Michigan cities, Saginaw and Flint; Kentucky cities, Lexington and Louisville; Ohio cities, Columbus Toledo and Dayton; Erie, PA; and Green Bay, WI were all interested in the prospect of being a part such a league.[1]

Officially starting on April 18, 1984, the American Indoor Soccer Association's charter franchises were Chicago, Milwaukee, Kalamazoo and Fort Wayne;[2] however, a Fort Wayne team did not actually materialize until the league's third season. Three other teams, Louisville, Canton and Columbus, all joined the league prior to the start of the first season in November 1984. The league changed its name to the National Professional Soccer League in 1990.[3] Over the course of 17 seasons, a total of 30 unique franchises in 32 different cities were part of the league at one time or another. During the summer of 2001, the league disbanded and the six surviving teams formed the second incarnation of the Major Indoor Soccer League.[4]

When the league began in 1984, game rules were almost identical compared to the larger and more popular MISL. Beginning with the 1988–89 season,[5] however, the AISA changed their scoring system. Goals were now worth 1, 2, or 3 points depending upon distance or game situation. Basically, all non-power play goals scored from inside the yellow line were worth 2 points while non-powerplay goals from outside the yellow line (50 feet from the goal line) were worth 3 points. Any power play goal was worth 1 point, as was any goal scored during a penalty shootout. Before the 1994–1995 season, the three-point line was changed to a 45-foot arc. Eventually, power play goals were worth either two or three points, but penalty shootouts were still kept at one point.


Champions by season

1984–85 Canton Invaders Louisville Thunder 3–1
1985–86 Canton Invaders Louisville Thunder 3–0
1986–87 Louisville Thunder Canton Invaders 3–2
1987–88 Canton Invaders Ft. Wayne Flames (Challenge Cup)
1988–89 Canton Invaders Chicago Power 3–2
1989–90 Canton Invaders Dayton Dynamo 3–1
1990–91 Chicago Power Dayton Dynamo 3–0
1991–92 Detroit Rockers Canton Invaders 3–2
1992–93 Kansas City Attack Cleveland Crunch 3–2
1993–94 Cleveland Crunch St. Louis Ambush 3–1
1994–95 St. Louis Ambush Harrisburg Heat 4–0
1995–96 Cleveland Crunch Kansas City Attack 4–2
1996–97 Kansas City Attack Cleveland Crunch 4–0
1997–98 Milwaukee Wave St. Louis Ambush 4–1
1998–99 Cleveland Crunch St. Louis Ambush 3–2
1999–2000 Milwaukee Wave Cleveland Crunch 3–2
2000–01 Milwaukee Wave Philadelphia KiXX 3–0

Championships won

Canton Invaders → Columbus Invaders → Montreal Impact 5 84–85, 85–86, 87–88, 88–89, 89–90 86–87, 91–92
Cleveland Crunch 3 93–94, 95–96, 98–99 92–93, 96–97, 99–00
Milwaukee Wave 3 97–98, 99–00, 00–01
Atlanta Attack → Kansas City Attack 2 92–93, 96–97 95–96
Louisville Thunder 1 86–87 84–85, 85–86
Chicago Power 1 90–91 88–89
Detroit Rockers 1 91–92
Tulsa Ambush → St. Louis Ambush 1 94–95 93–94, 97–98, 98–99
Dayton Dynamo → Cincinnati Silverbacks 0 89–90, 90–91
Fort Wayne Flames 0 87–88
Harrisburg Heat 0 94–95
Philadelphia KiXX 0 00–01


  • Bob Lemieux 1984–1985
  • Joe Machnik 1985–1988[6]
  • Steve M. Paxos 1988–2000
  • Steve Ryan 2000–2001


  1. Slater, Jim (November 4, 1983). "Ft. Wayne Will Be Charter Member in New Professional Soccer League". The Star Press. p. 21. Retrieved 20 June 2017 via
  2. "Soccer league planned". Southern Illinoisan. April 19, 1984. p. 15. Retrieved 20 June 2017 via
  3. "Canton wins final AISA crown". Milwaukee Sentinel. April 27, 1990. p. 5B. Retrieved 2012-05-04.
  4. "SOCCER: ROUNDUP; Rivaldo Gets Hat Trick; Barcelona Earns Victory". New York Times. August 9, 2001. Retrieved 2012-04-29.
  5. Bunch, Ken (July 11, 1988). "AISA adds franchises, MISL groups may apply". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. B1. Retrieved 2012-05-04.
  6. Lewis, Michael (2017-04-11). "Dr Joe Machnik: American soccer's renaissance man". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-08-05.
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