New England Tea Men

The New England Tea Men were a soccer team based in Foxborough, Massachusetts and Boston, Massachusetts. They played in the North American Soccer League (NASL) from 1978 to 1980. Their home venues for outdoor play were Schaefer Stadium (1978 and 1980) and Nickerson Field (1979). They also played one season of indoor soccer in the NASL, using the Providence Civic Center for home games.

New England Tea Men
Full nameNew England Tea Men
StadiumSchaefer Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts
Nickerson Field, Boston, Massachusetts
Providence Civic Center (indoor) Providence, Rhode Island
11,940 (indoor)
CoachNoel Cantwell

The Tea Men were originally owned by Unilever's Lipton subsidiary and given their unusual name as a nod to both the company's product line and the Boston Tea Party.

The Tea Men won their division in 1978 and made a further playoff run in 1980. However, the team struggled for financial solvency in Massachusetts. Right at the start of the 1980–81 indoor season[1] they relocated to Jacksonville, Florida and became the Jacksonville Tea Men.[2]


Led in its initial season by former Charlton Athletic F.C. striker Mike Flanagan, the Tea Men won their division to much public acclaim, with Flanagan winning the league MVP award.

Subsequent seasons proved not as successful for two important reasons. First, Flanagan, contracted to Charlton, remained in England (an attempt to secure him via a transfer failed, reportedly over endorsement rights). Second, the team was temporarily evicted from Schaefer Stadium when the owners of Foxboro Raceway - located next door - claimed that the Tea Men's matches were causing traffic problems on racing dates.

After spending one unhappy season at Nickerson Field on the campus of Boston University, the team reached an accord with Foxboro Raceway to play in Foxboro, but not on racing dates. As a result, the Tea Men had to play many Monday night matches, which caused attendance to dwindle.

After leaving New England, the team moved to Jacksonville, Florida and became the Jacksonville Tea Men.


Year League W L Pts Reg. Season Playoffs Avg. Attendance
1978 NASL 19 11 165 1st(t), American Conference, Eastern Division Lost 1st Round (Ft. Lauderdale) 12,064
1979 NASL 12 18 110 4th, American Conference, Eastern Division Did not qualify 6,562
1979–80 NASL Indoor 2 10 5th, Eastern Division Did not qualify 3,249
1980 NASL 18 14 154 3rd, American Conference, Eastern Division Lost 1st Round (Tampa Bay) 8,748



  •   Derek Carroll – President
  •   Bill Alex – Play-by-Play Announcer
  • Steve Glendye – Color Commentator on Northeast Sports Network


See alsoEdit


  1. ^,3483492
  2. ^ Bart Hubbuch (June 25, 2006). "Remember the Tea Men? A pro kickoff". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved January 14, 2011.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-09-23. Retrieved 2013-10-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)