The Philadelphia Spartans were a soccer team that was a charter member of the non-FIFA sanctioned National Professional Soccer League (NPSL) in 1967. Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania they played their home games at Temple Stadium in North Philadelphia and were owned by Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney. Having incurred losses of $500,000, the Spartans folded when the NPSL merged with the rival United Soccer Association to form the North American Soccer League.

Philadelphia Spartans
Philadelphia Spartans Logo
Full namePhiladelphia Spartans
StadiumTemple Stadium
OwnerArt Rooney
LeagueNational Professional Soccer League

History edit

In 1966, several groups of entrepreneurs were exploring the idea of forming a professional soccer league in the United States and Canada. Two of these groups merged to form the National Professional Soccer League (NPSL) and franchise rights were awarded to ten ownership groups. Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney and his brother John were awarded the rights to the Philadelphia franchise.[1] On January 29, 1967, John Rooney announced the team would use the name Spartans and that John Szep would be head coach.[2] After leading the team to a record of eight wins, eight losses and eight draws, Szep resigned his position after a dispute with the team ownership over signing a player.[3] The next day, the Spartans named Argentine defender Rubén Navarro as player-coach for the remainder of the season.[4] With Navarro in charge, the team went on to win six of its final eight games of the season.[5] The team finished the season in second place of the Eastern Division, missing first on goal difference to the Baltimore Bays, with a record of fourteen wins, nine loses and nine draws and an average attendance of 5,261.[6] Rubén Navarro was voted outstanding player for the season.[5]

Following the 1967 season, the NPSL merged with the United Soccer Association (USA) to form the North American Soccer League (NASL). Spartans owners requested a one year leave before joining the new league, but this was denied. Having incurred losses of $500,000, club president John Rooney announced the team was discontinuing operations.[7] A grassroots effort to save the team was organized by team PR director Walk Aikens, but the Rooney family were not involved.[8] Many Spartans players—including Ruben Navarro, John Best, and Peter Short—were signed by the Cleveland Stokers for the 1968 NASL season.[9]

Year-by-year edit

Year League W L T Pts Reg. Season Playoffs
1967 NPSL 14 9 9 157 2nd, Eastern Division did not qualify

ASL edit

The second Philadelphia Spartans was an American soccer club based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that was a member of the American Soccer League.

Year-by-year edit

Year Division League Reg. Season Playoffs U.S. Open Cup
1969 2 ASL 2nd, Southern did not qualify did not enter
1970 2nd No playoff
1971 3rd No playoff
1972 1st, Southern Conference Finals
1973 4th, Mid-Atlantic did not qualify

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Eck, Frank (November 5, 1966). "Big Hassle Looms in American Soccer". The Day. The Day. p. 17. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
  2. ^ "Szep Set to Coach Philadelphia Boots". Schenectady Gazette. Schenectady Gazette. AP. January 30, 1977. p. 25.
  3. ^ "Spartans' Coach Quits After Signing Dispute". Spartanburg Herald. Herald-Journal. AP. July 31, 1967. p. 11. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
  4. ^ "Soccer Team Names Defensive Ace To Be Coach For Rest of Season". Observer-Reporter. Philadelphia: Observer-Reporter. AP. August 1, 1967. p. 6B. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
  5. ^ a b "Philly Booter Rated The Best". Observer-Reporter. New York: Observer-Reporter. AP. September 2, 1967. p. B7. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
  6. ^ Litterer, David. "North American Soccer League". The Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
  7. ^ "Philadelphia leaves scene". The Vancouver Sun. AP. January 6, 1968. p. 23. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
  8. ^ "Save Soccer in Philly Drive on". The Press-Courier. Philadelphia: The Press-Courier. AP. January 8, 1967. p. 12. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
  9. ^ "Stokers Acquire 10 From Philadelphia". Youngstown Vindicator. Cleveland. AP. February 10, 1968. p. 21. Retrieved February 1, 2022.

External links edit