The NASL Championship was the annual championship competition of the North American Soccer League, which ran from 1968 to 1984. There, the two top teams from the playoffs face off in the final to determine the winner of the NASL Trophy. From 1975 through 1983, the championship game itself was also known as the Soccer Bowl.
|Region||United States |
|Number of teams||2|
|Last champions||Chicago Sting (1984)|
|Most successful club(s)|| New York Cosmos |
After the 1966 World Cup was successfully televised in the United States, two new leagues were formed. With international and national sanctioning from FIFA, the CFSA and USSFA, the United Soccer Association was created by a consortium known as the North American Soccer League. The second, independent league, enacted without sanction, was the National Professional Soccer League. By the following year, the two leagues merged and created the original North American Soccer League. Between 1968 and 1974 the championship game, or series (on three occasions), was titled the NASL Final, and no title match was held in 1969. From 1975 to 1984 it became the Soccer Bowl. The winner of the NASL Finals received the NASL trophy. During the Soccer Bowl years the trophy was interchangeably regarded by association as the Soccer Bowl trophy, though the official title remained the same.
The concept for the Soccer Bowl began in 1975 by then NASL Commissioner Phil Woosnam, who was trying to build a neutral-site championship event in the mold of the NFL's Super Bowl. Unlike the Super Bowl, the annual numbering scheme of the match did not use Roman numerals (e.g., Super Bowl XXI) but instead used the last two digits of the year played (e.g., Soccer Bowl '78). The original NASL's last Soccer Bowl took place in early October 1984 in a best-of-three series, as the league ceased operation in 1985.
With the formation of the new North American Soccer League in 2009 and their commencement of play in 2011, the Soccer Bowl name was used as the name of both the championship match and championship trophy of the new league. Beginning with the 2014 season, a new format was introduced, called the NASL Championship, with the final game being called the NASL Championship Final and the trophy's name remaining as the Soccer Bowl.
Among the championship matches, there have been different formats used, mostly influenced by the original two leagues. The 1967 NPSL Final, and the 1968 and 1970 NASL Finals were contested by two-game aggregate goals. After 1971, the initial parameters by the United Soccer Association were used. The 1967 USA Final, and the 1972 through 1983 NASL Finals were all single-games. There was no 1969 NASL Final match contested. Instead, as in many leagues in Europe, the championship was awarded to the league winner; the team with the most points at season's end. The 1971 and 1984 NASL Finals were played in a best-of-three series.
*From 1977 through 1984 the NASL had a variation of the penalty shoot-out procedure for tied matches. The shoot-out started 35 yards from the goal and allowed the player 5 seconds to attempt a shot. The player could make as many moves as he wanted in a breakaway situation within the time frame. NASL procedure during this era called for the box score to show an additional "goal" given to the winning side of a shoot-out.
*No championship game was held in 1969. Kansas City finished first in the regular season and was awarded the championship.
- North American Soccer League (2011–2017)
- United States soccer league system
- Canadian soccer league system
- North American Soccer League (1968–84)
- National Professional Soccer League (1967)
- United Soccer Association (1967)
- North American Soccer League (1968–84) on television
- Record attendances in United States club soccer
- Soccer Bowl (2011–2017)
- MLS Cup
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- American Soccer History Archives. "North American Soccer League I (NASL) 1967-1984 - The Story Of The NASL". American Soccer History Archives.
- "NASL changes Soccer Bowl format". St. Petersburg Times. September 27, 1983. p. 6C. Retrieved June 17, 2012.
- funwhileitlasted.com. "October 1, 1984 – Chicago Sting vs. Toronto Blizzard". Funwhileitlasted.com.
- WildStat.com. "USA-MLS-NASL". WildStat.com.
- North American Soccer League. "NASL 1968-1984 Yearly Results". North American Soccer League.
- Steve Dimitry's Extinct Sports League. "North American Soccer League (1968-1984) NASL". Steve Dimitry's Extinct Sports League.
- SoccerTimes.com. "NASL / North American Soccer League Championship". SoccerTimes.com.
- "This Day In 1981 : Soccer Bowl Edition | Chicago Fire Confidential". Archived from the original on September 20, 2013. Retrieved June 21, 2013.
- "The Year in American Soccer – 1977". Archived from the original on January 23, 2010. Retrieved June 21, 2013.
- Soccer Bowl on NASL (archived, 30 Sep 2013)