How the birth and death of the NASL changed soccer in America forever

The NASL was American soccer’s big bang, the league that ignited a soccer boom in the States and brought over to American shores some of the greatest players of their generation. Former players, coaches and officials will congregate in Frisco, Texas, this weekend to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the league’s birth.

“The league was so important in growing the game on this continent that it needs to be remembered. There will be lot of memories shared,” says former Dallas Tornado midfielder-defender Bobby Moffat, a member of the 1971 NASL championship side.

On one hand, the league laid the foundations for soccer in America – foundations that helped lead to the country hosting the 1994 World Cup and the set-up of MLS. On the other, NASL lasted less that 20 years, fizzling out in 1984. Some observers have called it a failure. Former New York Cosmos president Clive Toye, who signed Pele in 1975, bristles at that suggestion.

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