Oakland Clippers

The Oakland Clippers were a soccer team based out of Oakland, California that played in the non-FIFA sanctioned National Professional Soccer League (NPSL) and then the North American Soccer League (NASL) in the following season. Their home field was Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum.

Oakland Clippers
Oakland clippers.png
Full nameOakland Clippers
Founded1966
DissolvedJune 4, 1969[1]
StadiumOakland–Alameda County Coliseum,
Oakland, California
Capacity47,416
ChairmanJoseph O'Neill & H.T. Hilliard
LeagueNPSL (1967)
NASL (1968)

OverviewEdit

The Clippers brought the first-ever national professional championship in any sport to the San Francisco Bay Area and the City of Oakland.[2] Team owners originally planned to play in San Francisco until General Manager Derek Liecty convinced them that the new Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum was a better choice than San Francisco's old and windy Kezar stadium.[3] Through connections in Yugoslavia,[4] the Clippers were able to hire Dr. Aleksandar Obradovic, former Team Manager of Red Star of Belgrade. Obradovic brought with him Red Star coach and former Yugoslav international Ivan Toplak as well as a nucleus of six first division players who were willing to play in the non-sanctioned league.[5] During the 1967/1968 season the Clippers had players from ten countries.[6] In 1967 they won the NPSL Western Division and overall regular season titles. They went on to win the NPSL Final over the Baltimore Bays by a two-game, home-and-home aggregate score of 4-2. They also won the Commissioner's Cup over the St. Louis Stars by a score of 6-3.[7] Following the 1967 season, the team joined the newly formed North American Soccer League (NASL), the result of the merger between the NPSL and the United Soccer Association (USA).[8]

In 1968 the Clippers had an identical record to the Western Division Champion San Diego Toros and a higher goal-differential, but the Toros had more league points. As the result of a disputed referee’s off-side call in their final regular season game against the San Diego Toros, a 3-3 tie,[9] the Clippers finished in second place and were eliminated from the playoffs.[10] The unique points system denied them the chance to defend their 1967 NPSL title in 1968’s merged league. The North American Soccer League was near collapse in September 1968. Having no possible League opponents west of Dallas, Texas and wanting to maintain the team while waiting for the NASL to become reconstituted, the Clippers began playing an independent schedule as the California Clippers against top foreign club teams. These efforts included bringing to the United States for the first time a team from the Soviet Union, league club champion Dynamo Kiev. The three-game match up was split with a win and a tie for each.[11] Alarmed by the success of the Clippers and concerned that such an independent schedule might thwart plans for a reconstituted NASL, the United States Soccer-Football Association placed restrictions on the Clippers and prevented them from arranging any further international games. Just before the ban, the Clippers defeated Italian league champion Fiorentina in their final game by a score of 4-2 and posted an exhibition match record of 7-6-2. The Clippers ceased operations on June 4, 1969.[12]

Several Clippers players, as well as coach Ivan Toplak, went on to join the original San Jose Earthquakes team founded as a member of the North American Soccer League in 1974: Goalkeeper Mirko Stojanovic, leading scorer Ilija Mitić, Momčilo "Gabbo" Gavrić, and Milan Čop.

Year-by-yearEdit

Year League W L T Pts Reg. Season Playoffs Cup
1967 NPSL 19 8 5 185 1st, Western Division Won Championship Won Commissioners Cup
1968 NASL 18 8 6 185 2nd, Pacific Division Did not qualify Did not enter

HonorsEdit

Team RosterEdit

1967 Roster[13]Edit

Player Position Birth Date Height Weight Hometown
Baesso, Mario D September 5, 1945 5'7 -- São Paulo, Brazil
Bena, Stevan D August 23, 1935 5'11" 170 Serbia
Conde, Leonel G 1937 6'2" 174 Uruguay
Constancia, Jose F March 19, 1945 -- -- Willemstad, Curaçao
Čop, Milan M, D October 5, 1941 5'10" 168 Slavonski Brod, Croatia
Crawford, Roel M October 7, 1947 -- -- Limón, Costa Rica
Davidović, Dimitri D, M May 21, 1944 5'10" 160 Aleksandrovac, Serbia
Djukic, Dragan M March 29, 1939 6'1" 160 Belgrade, Serbia
Gavrić, Momčilo D August 4, 1938 5'10" 170 Sinj, Croatia
Hoftvedt, Trond M May 30, 1941 5'10" 166 Oslo, Norway
Lievano, George F -- -- -- San Salvador, El Salvador
Lukić, Ilija F December 12, 1942 5'9" 150 Serbia
Lunnis, Roy D November 4, 1939 -- -- London, England
Marin, Edgar F, M March 22, 1943 5'5" 135 San Jose, Costa Rica
Milosevic, Sele F April 4, 1940 6'0" 167 Šabac, Serbia
Mitić, Ilija M, F July 19, 1940 5'10" 160 Belgrade, Serbia
Quiros, William F, M October 10, 1941 5'5" 143 Alajuela, Costa Rica
Rowan, Barry F April 24, 1942 5'9" 163 Willesden, England
Saccone, Ademar F, M October 11, 1934 5'10" 160 Montevideo, Uruguay
Scott, Melvyn M September 26, 1939 -- -- Claygate, England
Stojanović, Mirko G July 11, 1939 6'0" 190 Zagreb, Croatia
Wiestal, Kay-Arne F -- 5'10" 165 Sweden
Zuniga, Jose F -- -- -- Costa Rica

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Oakland Clippers Friendlies". NASLJerseys.com.
  2. ^ Newhouse, Dave. "Bay Area's First Professional National Championship". Sports Today. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  3. ^ Chazaro, Alan. "The Forgotten Legacy of Oakland's 'Outlaw' Soccer Team". thebolditalic. Medium. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  4. ^ Sullivan, Prescott (February 10, 1967). "The Doctor's Melting Pot". San Francisco Examiner. San Francisco Examiner. p. 49. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  5. ^ Wangerin, David (2011). Distant Corners. Temple University Press. p. 174-207. ISBN 978-1-4399-0630-9.
  6. ^ "1967 Oakland Clippers Roster". JustSportsStats.com. Retrieved August 25, 2018.
  7. ^ Meyers, Jeff (September 19, 1967). "Clippers Down Stars, Win Cup". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 5C. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  8. ^ Seese, Dennis J. (2011). The Rebirth of Professional Soccer in America. Rowan & Littlefield. p. 167-192. ISBN 978-1-4422-3894-7.
  9. ^ Newhouse, Dave (September 5, 1968). "Clipper Tie Toros". The Tribune Publishing Company. Oakland Tribune. p. 37. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  10. ^ "Toro Win Ends Hope Of Clippers". The Tribune Publishing Company. The Oakland Tribune. September 8, 1968. p. 51. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  11. ^ Newhouse, Dave (March 10, 1969). "Clippers Edge Russians, 1-0". The Tribune Publishing Company. Oakland Tribune. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  12. ^ Seese, Dennis J. (2011). The Rebirth of Professional Soccer in America. Rowan & Littlefield. p. 167-192. ISBN 978-1-4422-3894-7.
  13. ^ "1967 Oakland Clippers Roster". JustSportsStats.com. Retrieved August 25, 2018.