History of the NASL
50 years ago, the North American Soccer League took America by storm, laying the foundation for today’s thriving soccer landscape.
Over 17 seasons, the League’s story was told. 44 different franchises in the United States and Canada had done their part to embed soccer in their communities and had spawned a youth participation boom that hasn’t abated to this day.
Smooth sailing? Not by a longshot, but led by visionary entrepreneurs and thousands of messianic players, staff, and executives, the League surmounted innumerable challenges to become a memorable part of the American sports picture. National advertisers, national television, and national newspaper journalists all became educated in the world’s game as a result.
It’s hard to believe that half a century has gone by since those kickoffs took place on March 30, 1968. For every NASLer it was a special time and one not likely surpassed as life’s adventures unrolled. The NASL50! Celebration beckons and welcomes everyone—players, staff, executives, journalists, sponsors—who reveled in those days and who played such a dynamic part in establishing the game on a nationwide basis. Whether it was a sultry night in Memphis, a sellout at Giants Stadium, a Soccer Bowl title, a teenager’s pro debut, or the chance to rub shoulders with George Best, Kyle Rote, Jr., Johan Cruyff, Bobby Moore, Eusebio, Pele, Giorgio Chinaglia, Pat McBride, Franz Beckenbauer, Al Trost, Kaizer Motaung, Ace Ntsoelengoe, or Rodney Marsh…it was a special time.
We hope to see you all at the NASL50th! Celebration, when we can do it all again!