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The NASL Championship is the annual championship competition of the North American Soccer League. There, the two top teams face off in the final to determine the winner of the NASL Trophy, known as the Soccer Bowl Trophy.[1] From 1975 through 1983, and again in 2013, the championship game itself was also known as the Soccer Bowl.

NASL Championship
NASL Trophy 2011-present.png
NASL Soccer Bowl Trophy (est. 2011)
Organising bodyNorth American Soccer League
FoundedOriginal: 1967
Modern: 2011
AbolishedOriginal: 1984
Last championsSan Francisco Deltas
Most successful club(s)Original: Cosmos (5)
Modern: Cosmos (3)
WebsiteOfficial website
NASL Championship 2017

After the 1966 World Cup was successfully televised in the United States, two new leagues were formed.[2] 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.[3][4]

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. The 2011 and 2012 titles were decided in a two-game aggregate finish. Since 2013 the championship has been a single-game final. For 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 the Soccer Bowl trophy.[1]

NASL Championship / Soccer Bowl (1967–1984)Edit


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.


Sources: WildStat,[5] NASL,[6] Steve Dimitry,[7] Soccer Times[8]

NASL Championship (1967–1984)
Event Game Venue Location Champions[9] Score[9] Runners-up[9] Attendance Television MVP Notes
United Soccer Association Final 1967
(USA Final 1967)

July 14

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Los Angeles Los Angeles Wolves 6–5
Washington Whips 17,842 CBS Teams tied 4–4 at end of regulation. Both scored in extra time. After 120 min. match moved to golden goal time. Wolves win on an OG.
National Professional Soccer League Final 1967
(NPSL Final 1967)

September 3, 9

Memorial Stadium

Oakland-Alameda Coliseum


Oakland, California

Oakland Clippers 0–1
Baltimore Bays 16,619


CBS Two-game aggregate goals series.
NASL Final 1968
(NASL Final 1968)

September 21, 28

Balboa Stadium

Atlanta Stadium

San Diego


Atlanta Chiefs 0–0
San Diego Toros 9,360


CBS Two-game aggregate goals series.
NASL Final
(no match)
(NASL Final 1969)
n/a n/a Kansas City Spurs n/a Atlanta Chiefs n/a n/a n/a Championship awarded to team with the most points at the end of the season
NASL Final 1970
(NASL Final 1970)

September 2, 13

Aquinas Memorial Stadium

Brookland Stadium

Rochester, New York

Washington, D.C.

Rochester Lancers 3–0
Washington Darts 9,321


Two-match aggregate goals series.
NASL Final 1971
(NASL Final 1971)

September 12, 15, 19

Atlanta Stadium
(G1, G3)

Franklin Stadium

(G1, G3)

Dallas, Texas

Dallas Tornado[10] 1–2
Atlanta Chiefs (G1): 3,218
(G2): 6,456
(G3): 4,687
Best two out of three wins
NASL Final 1972
(NASL Final 1972)

August 26

Hofstra Stadium Hempstead, New York New York Cosmos 2–1 St. Louis Stars 6,102 Josef Jelínek converts game winning penalty kick in the 86th min.
NASL Final 1973
(NASL Final 1973)

August 25

Texas Stadium Irving, Texas Philadelphia Atoms 2–0 Dallas Tornado 18,824 Dallas concedes an OG in 66 min. Bill Straub scores in 85 min. to secure win.
NASL Final 1974
(NASL Final 1974)

August 25

Orange Bowl Miami, Florida Los Angeles Aztecs 4–3
Miami Toros 15,507 CBS Match went directly to penalties after 90 min. Tony Douglas scores fifth and securing shot on a re-try.[11]
Soccer Bowl 1975 (Soccer Bowl '75)

August 24

Spartan Stadium San Jose, California Tampa Bay Rowdies 2–0 Portland Timbers 17,483 CBS Stewart Jump[12] Arsène Auguste scored game winner in the 66th min. Clyde Best also scored in 88th min.[13]
Soccer Bowl 1976 (Soccer Bowl '76)

August 28

Kingdome Seattle Toronto Metros-Croatia 3–0 Minnesota Kicks 25,765 CBS, CBC Wolfgang Sühnholz[14] Eusébio scored game winner on free kick in 41st min.[15]
Soccer Bowl 1977 (Soccer Bowl '77)

August 28

Civic Stadium Portland, Oregon New York Cosmos 2–1 Seattle Sounders 35,548 TVS Steve Hunt[16] Stephen Hunt scored in 19th min. and assisted on Giorgio Chinaglia's game winner in 78th min.
Soccer Bowl 1978 (Soccer Bowl '78)

August 27

Giants Stadium East Rutherford, New Jersey New York Cosmos 3–1 Tampa Bay Rowdies 74,091 TVS Dennis Tueart[17] Dennis Tueart scored in the 30th and 76th min. Giorgio Chinaglia scored game winner in 44th min.[18]
Soccer Bowl 1979 (Soccer Bowl '79)

September 8

Giants Stadium East Rutherford, New Jersey Vancouver Whitecaps 2–1 Tampa Bay Rowdies 50,699 ABC, CTV Alan Ball[19] Trevor Whymark scored in 12th and 59th min.[20]
Soccer Bowl 1980 (Soccer Bowl '80)

September 21

RFK Stadium Washington, D.C. New York Cosmos 3–0 Fort Lauderdale Strikers 50,768 ABC, CTV Giorgio Chinaglia[21] Julio César Romero scored the game winner in 48th min. Giorgio Chinaglia added goals in the 70th and 87th mins.[22]
Soccer Bowl 1981 (Soccer Bowl '81)

September 26

Exhibition Stadium Toronto Chicago Sting 1–0
(Shootout: 2–1)
New York Cosmos 36,971 ABC, CTV Frantz Mathieu[23] Sting won in shootout. Karl-Heinz Granitza and Rudy Glenn converted for Sting.[24]
Soccer Bowl 1982 (Soccer Bowl '82)

September 18

Jack Murphy Stadium San Diego New York Cosmos 1–0 Seattle Sounders 22,634 USA, CTV Giorgio Chinaglia[25] Giorgio Chinaglia scored game winner in 31st min.[26][27]
Soccer Bowl 1983 (Soccer Bowl '83)

October 1

BC Place Stadium Vancouver, British Columbia Tulsa Roughnecks 2–0 Toronto Blizzard 53,326 USA, CTV Njego Pesa[28] Njego Pesa scored game winner (19 yard free kick) in 56th min.[29]
Soccer Bowl Series 1984 (Soccer Bowl Series '84)

1, 3

Comiskey Park

Varsity Stadium



Chicago Sting 2–1
Toronto Blizzard 8,352


Best two out of three wins. Game 1: Manuel Rojas 86th min game winner. Game 2: Patricio Margetic 82nd min game winner.

*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.[30][31]
*No championship game was held in 1969. Kansas City finished first in the regular season and was awarded the championship.

NASL Championship Final/ Soccer Bowl (2011–present)Edit

On October 22, 2011, the day their inaugural championship series got underway in Minnesota, the new NASL unveiled its championship trophy. The silver trophy has a large bowl etched with the NASL logo resting atop three long prongs, and the words "North American Soccer League Soccer Bowl" inscribed prominently across the base.[32][33] In the league's first two seasons, the championship was played as a classic two-legged series. The league announced a switch for the 2013 season to a one-game championship final, also known as the Soccer Bowl.[34][35] In 2014 the format was tweaked again, and the game was renamed the NASL Championship Final, with the trophy being referred to as the Soccer Bowl Trophy.[1]


NASL Championship (2011–present)
Event Game Venue Location Champions Score Runners-up Attendance Television MVP Notes
NASL Championship[36] 2011
(NASL Championship Series 2011)

October 22, 29

National Sports Center

Lockhart Stadium

Blaine, Minnesota

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

NSC Minnesota Stars 3–1
Fort Lauderdale Strikers 4,511


GOL TV Luke Mulholland
(NSC Minnesota Stars)
Luke Mulholland scored game one winning goal in 53rd min.[37]
NASL Championship Series[38] 2012
(NASL Championship Series 2012)

October 20, 27

National Sports Center

Al Lang Stadium[39]

Blaine, Minnesota

St. Petersburg, Florida

Tampa Bay Rowdies[40] 0–2
Minnesota Stars 4,642


Ustream Jeff Attinella
(Tampa Bay Rowdies)
Jeff Attinella saved 3 penalty kicks in shoot-out. Fafà Picault scored winning penalty kick.[41]
Soccer Bowl 2013
(Soccer Bowl 2013)

November 9

Atlanta Silverbacks Park Atlanta New York Cosmos 1–0 Atlanta Silverbacks 7,211 ESPN3
ESPN Deportes[42]
Marcos Senna
(New York Cosmos)
Marcos Senna scored championship winning goal in the 50th min.[43]
NASL Championship Final 2014
(NASL Championship Final 2014)

November 15

Toyota Field San Antonio, Texas San Antonio Scorpions 2–1 Fort Lauderdale Strikers 7,847 ESPN3
ONE World Sports
Rafael Castillo
(San Antonio Scorpions)
Rafael Castillo scored on a bicycle kick in the 69th min. and assisted on Billy Forbes game winner in 74th min.[44]
NASL Championship Final 2015
(NASL Championship Final 2015)

November 15

James M. Shuart Stadium Hempstead, New York New York Cosmos 3–2 Ottawa Fury 10,166 ESPN3
ONE World Sports
Gastón Cellerino (New York Cosmos) Gastón Cellerino scored a hat trick before a modern NASL-record playoff crowd.[45]
NASL Championship Final 2016
(NASL Championship Final 2016)

November 15

Belson Stadium Queens, New York New York Cosmos 0–0
Indy Eleven 2,150 CBS Sports Network None
NASL Championship Final 2017
(NASL Championship Final 2017)

November 12

Kezar Stadium San Francisco San Francisco Deltas 2–0 New York Cosmos 9,691 beIN SPORTS

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "NASL CLUBS TO COMPETE FOR 'THE CHAMPIONSHIP'". Archived from the original on 2014-03-03. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  2. ^ American Soccer History Archives. "North American Soccer League I (NASL) 1967-1984 - The Story Of The NASL". American Soccer History Archives.
  3. ^ "NASL changes Soccer Bowl format". St. Petersburg Times. September 27, 1983. p. 6C. Retrieved 2012-06-17.
  4. ^ "October 1, 1984 – Chicago Sting vs. Toronto Blizzard".
  5. ^ "USA-MLS-NASL".
  6. ^ North American Soccer League. "NASL 1968-1984 Yearly Results". North American Soccer League.
  7. ^ Steve Dimitry's Extinct Sports League. "North American Soccer League (1968-1984) NASL". Steve Dimitry's Extinct Sports League.
  8. ^ "NASL / North American Soccer League Championship".
  9. ^ a b c Litterer, David A. (May 12, 2010). "North American Soccer League". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved May 3, 2012.
  10. ^ "Previo Campeones: Dallas Tornado Ganan Titulo en 1971". 22 Sep 2015. Retrieved 2016-01-28.
  11. ^ "Aztecs Win Soccer Title in Overtime". The Press-Courier. August 26, 1974 – via Google News Archive.
  12. ^ "Rowdies Capture Soccer Bowl, 8/24/75". Tampa Sports History. Retrieved June 17, 2012.
  13. ^ NASL: Soccer Bowl '75. 21 December 2009 – via YouTube.
  14. ^ "The Year in American Soccer – 1976". American Soccer History Archives. Retrieved June 17, 2012.
  15. ^ "Toronto Records Soccer Bowl Win". The Spokesman-Review. August 29, 1976 – via Google News Archive Search.
  16. ^ "FAIRY TALE ENDING: Cosmos give Pele a championship sendoff". Big Apple Soccer. Retrieved June 17, 2012.
  17. ^ "NASL abandons indoor season". St. Petersburg Times. August 31, 1978. p. 7C. Retrieved 2012-06-17.
  18. ^ "Question of the day: Where was Sir Rodney?". St. Petersburg Times. August 28, 1978 – via Google News Archive Search.
  19. ^ "Philly Soccer History – 1979". Philadelphia Union. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
  20. ^ NASL: Soccer Bowl '79. 15 April 2010 – via YouTube.
  21. ^ Atkin, Ross (September 23, 1980). "Cosmos regain soccer title". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2012-06-14.
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Sting Victorious In Soccer Bowl". Eugene Register-Guard. September 27, 1981. p. 14B. Retrieved 2012-06-17.
  24. ^ NASL Soccer Bowl Final 1981: Chicago Sting v New York Cosmos. 8 June 2008 – via YouTube.
  25. ^ "Sounders Shut Out By Cosmos In Soccer Bowl". Tri-City Herald. September 19, 1982. p. 8C. Retrieved 2012-06-17.
  26. ^ "Cosmos Win Soccer Bowl". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. September 19, 1982 – via Google News Archive Search.
  27. ^
  28. ^ "Roughnecks claim first NASL title". Lakeland Ledger. October 2, 1983. p. 8C. Retrieved 2012-06-14.
  29. ^
  30. ^ "This Day In 1981 : Soccer Bowl Edition | Chicago Fire Confidential". Archived from the original on 2013-09-20. Retrieved 2013-06-21.
  31. ^ "The Year in American Soccer – 1977". Archived from the original on 2010-01-23. Retrieved 2013-06-21.
  32. ^ "NASL Soccer Bowl Championship Trophy Unveiled".
  33. ^ "- NASL".
  34. ^ North American Soccer League (September 5, 2012). "NASL Announces Split-Season Format for 2013". Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  35. ^ "- NASL".
  36. ^ "NSC Minnesota Capture first NASL Championship". Archived from the original on 2011-11-02. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  37. ^ Cesar. "NASL Championship Series First Leg: Minnesota Stars Win 3-1 over the Strikers". Bleacher Report.
  38. ^ "Tampa Bay Wins NASL Championship Series After Penalty Shootout". Archived from the original on 2013-10-04. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  39. ^ Tampa Bay Rowdies. "Al Lang Stadium". Tampa Bay Rowdies.
  40. ^ "The Rowdies win the 2012 NASL Super Bowl: Tampa Bay Rowdies beat the Minnesota Stars on Penalties". Vermont Premier Soccer.
  41. ^ "NASL: Rowdies rally to give the Soccer Bowl a new home".
  42. ^ NASL. "NASL Soccer Bowl 2013 To Air Live On ESPN3 And ESPN Deportes". North American Soccer League.
  43. ^ NASL. "New York Cosmos Win NASL Soccer Bowl 2013 1-0 victory edged Atlanta Silverbacks in NASL finale". North American Soccer League.
  44. ^ Wagner, Joe (November 16, 2014). "Scorpions Raise Soccer Bowl Trophy With 2-1 Win Over Strikers".
  45. ^ "Gastón Cellerino Hat Trick Powers Cosmos to NASL Title". North American Soccer League. November 15, 2015. Retrieved November 15, 2015.

External linksEdit