United Soccer Association

The United Soccer Association was a professional soccer league featuring teams based in the United States and Canada. The league survived only one season before merging with the National Professional Soccer League to form the North American Soccer League. Every team in the league was actually an imported European or South America club, that was then outfitted with a "local" name. Dick Walsh served as the commissioner.

United Soccer Association
Foldedmerged with NPSL
to form NASL in 1968
CountryUnited States
Other club(s) fromCanada
Number of teams12
Level on pyramid1
Promotion toNone
Relegation toNone
Last championsLos Angeles Wolves
Most championshipsLos Angeles Wolves (1)


In 1966 a group of sports entrepreneurs, led by Jack Kent Cooke and including Lamar Hunt and Steve Stavro, formed a consortium known as the North American Soccer League with the intention of forming a professional soccer league in North America. This group was subsequently sanctioned by both the USSFA and FIFA. However a rival consortium known as the National Professional Soccer League also emerged and to avoid confusion Cooke renamed his consortium the United Soccer Association. The USA originally intended to launch its league in the spring of 1968. However the NPSL, which secured a TV contract from CBS, announced it was ready to launch in 1967. Not wanting to lose ground to its rival, the USA decided to fast track its launch. Without any players of its own, it opted to import whole teams from Europe and South America. It was intended that these teams would represent the franchises during the inaugural season, giving them time to build their own squads for the following season. By May 1967, the USA had garnered applications for franchises wanting to create teams for the next season. An application was made for a team in Miami, to be called the Miami Cobras.[1] A Calgary-based franchise was also in the offing.[2]

Competing teams

Franchises Imported clubs Stadiums (Capacity) Owners
Boston Rovers Shamrock RoversManning Bowl (21,000)Weston Adams (Boston Bruins)
Chicago Mustangs Cagliari CalcioComiskey Park (46,550)Arthur Allyn Jr. (Chicago White Sox)
Cleveland Stokers Stoke CityCleveland Stadium (78,000)Vernon Stouffer, Gabe Paul (Cleveland Indians)
Dallas Tornado Dundee UnitedCotton Bowl (75,504)Lamar Hunt (Kansas City Chiefs)
Detroit Cougars GlentoranTiger Stadium (36,000)William Clay Ford (Detroit Lions)
Houston Stars Bangu ACAstrodome (44,500)Judge Roy Hofheinz (Houston Astros)
Los Angeles Wolves Wolverhampton WanderersLos Angeles Coliseum (93,000)Jack Kent Cooke (Los Angeles Lakers & Kings)
New York Skyliners C.A. CerroYankee Stadium (67,000)Madison Square Garden Corporation
San Francisco Golden Gate Gales ADO Den HaagKezar Stadium (59,942)[3]George Fleharty (Ice Follies)
Toronto City HibernianVarsity Stadium (25,000)Steve Stavro
Vancouver Royal Canadians SunderlandEmpire Stadium (33,000)Brigadier General E.G. Eakins
Washington Whips AberdeenD.C. Stadium (46,000)Earl Foreman

1967 Season

After a series of exhibition games, the USA began playing on May 28 and got off to a good start. The Houston Stars attracted an opening crowd of 34,965.[4] However subsequent attendances did not keep pace and the league finished with an average of 7,890 per game. Of the twelve teams, the Los Angeles Wolves, represented by Wolverhampton Wanderers and featuring Derek Dougan, the Cleveland Stokers, represented by Stoke City and featuring Gordon Banks, and the Washington Whips, represented by Aberdeen, emerged as the strongest sides. Roberto Boninsegna of Chicago Mustangs finished as the league's top scorer with 10 goals.

The USA entered its playoff stage in July 1967. The Western Division champion Los Angeles Wolves, by the flip of a coin, won the right to host the championship game against the Eastern Division champion Washington Whips. The match drew 17,824 to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Wolves won the championship beating the Whips, 6-5, after 36 minutes of extra-time. The wide-open final featured two hat-tricks, three penalties given (two converted), four goals scored within a four-minute period midway through the second half and each team scoring during (non-golden goal) extra time. The game was finally decided when Whips defender Ally Shewan scored an own goal shortly after the start of golden goal extra time.

Final standings

Eastern Division

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification or relegation
1 Washington Whips (Q) 12 5 5 2 19 11 +8 15 1967 USA Championship
2 Cleveland Stokers 12 5 4 3 19 13 +6 14
3 Toronto City 12 4 5 3 23 17 +6 13
4 Detroit Cougars 12 3 6 3 11 18 7 12
5 New York Skyliners 12 2 6 4 15 17 2 10
6 Boston Rovers 12 2 3 7 12 26 14 7
Source: American Soccer History Archives
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored.
Note: 2 points for a win, 1 point for a tie, 0 points for a loss
(Q) Qualified to the phase indicated.

Western Division

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification or relegation
1 Los Angeles Wolves (Q) 12 5 5 2 21 14 +7 15 1967 USA Championship
2 San Francisco Golden Gate Gales 12 5 3 4 25 19 +6 13
3 Chicago Mustangs 12 3 7 2 20 14 +6 13
4 Houston Stars 12 4 4 4 19 18 +1 12
5 Vancouver Royal Canadians 12 3 5 4 20 28 8 11
6 Dallas Tornado 12 3 3 6 14 23 9 9
Source: American Soccer History Archives
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored.
Note: 2 points for a win, 1 point for a tie, 0 points for a loss
(Q) Qualified to the phase indicated.

USA Final 1967

Los Angeles Wolves6–5[5] (a.e.t.)Washington Whips
Knowles  3'
Burnside  65', 67', 82'
Dougan  113'
Shewan  122'  (o.g.)
Report Smith  21'
Munro  64' (pen.), 89', 120' (pen.)
Storrie  66'
Attendance: 17,842[6]
Referee: Dick Giebner[7] (USA)[8]

1967 USA Champions: Los Angeles Wolves

USA All-Stars

First Team[9][10]  Position  Second Team
Bobby Clark, Washington G Gordon Banks, Cleveland
Mario Tito, Houston D Eric Skeels, Cleveland
Jose Fidelis, Houston D Jan Villerius, San Francisco
Pat Stanton, Toronto M Joe Davis, Toronto
Jim Baxter, Vancouver M John Moore, Cleveland
Tommy McMillan, Washington M Miguel Angelo Longo, Chicago
Ary Clemente, Houston F Doug Smith, Dallas
Paulo Borges, Houston F Henk Houwaart, San Francisco
Peter Dobing, Cleveland F Roberto Boninsegna, Chicago
George Eastham, Cleveland F Benedicto Ribeiro, New York
Roy Vernon, Cleveland F Peter Cormack, Toronto

Coach of the year


In December 1967 the USA merged with National Professional Soccer League to form the North American Soccer League, taking the original name of the USA group. As a result of the merger several of the original USA franchises folded. This was partly to avoid some cities having two teams. As a result, Toronto City, New York Skyliners and the San Francisco Golden Gate Gales were disbanded in favor of their NPSL rivals, Toronto Falcons, New York Generals and Oakland Clippers. The owners of the Gales franchise subsequently merged with the Vancouver Royal Canadians and the Boston Rovers were relaunched as the Boston Beacons. Together with the Cleveland Stokers, Los Angeles Wolves, Houston Stars, Washington Whips and Dallas Tornado, these teams then became founding members of the NASL. However, after the 1968 season all of these franchises, with the exception of Dallas folded. For their part, the Tornado went on to become NASL champions in 1971 and continued to play in the NASL until 1981, when they merged with the Tampa Bay Rowdies.[12][13]

The idea of importing teams to represent franchises was revived during the 1969 NASL season. Both Wolverhampton Wanderers and Dundee United returned. This time the former represented Kansas City Spurs and again emerged as champions. The latter linked up once again with Dallas Tornado. Two other English League teams West Ham United and Aston Villa represented Baltimore Bays and Atlanta Chiefs while Kilmarnock of the Scottish Football League played as the St. Louis Stars.


Team GP Total High Low Average
Houston Stars6118,79334,96512,38019,799
Dallas Tornado655,36020,3754,9169,227
New York Skyliners652,59621,8713,5178,766
Washington Whips7 *54,5979,7605,1127,800
Los Angeles Wolves646,64011,5725,2317,773
Vancouver Royal Canadians642,11310,0535,1147,019
Toronto City641,53815,1783,1526,923
Cleveland Stokers639,3999,7934,5166,567
Detroit Cougars634,24711,6296485,708
San Francisco Golden Gate Gales632,5318,1773,8535,422
Chicago Mustangs625,2399,8722,0134,207
Boston Rovers625,0257,3438534,171
Total73 *568,07834,9656487,782

* One game was replayed, both figures included Sources: kenn.com



  • Official 1968 North American Soccer League Guide. St. Louis: The Sporting News, 1968.
  • Durso, Joseph. "Local Pro Soccer Teams May Share Stadium With Yanks in Spring," The New York Times, Sunday, February 12, 1967.


  1. Cronauer, Bill (May 26, 1967). "City Soccer Stars Seek Berths On Miami Team". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved November 3, 2012.
  2. "Calgary Seeks Berth In United Soccer". Schenectady Gazette. May 12, 1967. Retrieved November 3, 2012.
  3. "Happel's "Monster" Dutchmen Take San Francisco By Storm". The Soccer Observer. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  4. "New Soccer League Greeted By Huge Crowd In Houston". The Miami News. May 29, 1967. Retrieved November 3, 2012.
  5. "Wolves v Aberdeen, United Soccer Association Championship, 14th July 1967". YouTube. July 25, 2013. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
  6. United Press International (July 16, 1967). "Wolves capture U.S. soccer title". The New York Times. p. 152. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
  7. "Past Winners | North American Soccer League". Naslsoccerbowl.com. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
  8. http://www.azdistrict2.com/about-dick-giebner.html
  9. "NASL Homepage". Web.archive.org. May 1, 2008. Archived from the original on May 1, 2008. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
  10. "Steve Dimitry's NASL Web Page". Oocities.org. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
  11. "Wolves left out". Leader-Post. Regina. Associated Press. July 18, 1967. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  12. MacCambridge, Michael (October 2, 2012). Lamar Hunt: A Life in Sports. Andrews McMeel Publishing via Google Books.
  13. Beard, Randy (September 17, 1981). "Rowdies Take On A Western Flavor". Evening Independent. p. 4-C. Retrieved May 5, 2017 via Google News Archive Search.
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