Will Soccer Succeed Or Fail In United States?
Professional soccer in the United States . . . a success or failure?
The above question might get a partial answer today when the National Professional Soccer League kicks off its initial season across the country.
Southern California's interest will center around the L.A. Coliseum where the Toros, winner of three consecutive practice games, take on the New York Generals at 1 p.m. A youth soccer Cup prelim between Sierra Madre and Torrance kicks off the festivities at 11:40.
Other opening contests today find California hosting Pittsburgh at Oakland, St. Louis invading Chicago, Toronto at Philadelphia and Baltimore hosting Atlanta. The latter contest can also be viewed on KNXT (2) starting at 2.
While the Toros have conquered three NPSL foes in practice tilts, the Generals' lone game outing was a 2-2 tie versus Baltimore.
"We've learned a great deal from our exhibition games," noted Toro coach Max Wozniak while preparing for today's opener. "We're ready to battle everyone and I feel we have a good shot at the title."
Wozniak's main concern this past week was, along with the Generals, the physical condition of his team. Six members of the unit have been battling sore muscles or the flu. "I hope we'll overcome our injuries by game time. The same thing happened last week and we were able to," added the coach.
New York is coached by Freddie Goodwin, a former First Division star from England who retired at 31 in 1964 after suffering a broken right leg and ankle.
Goodwin personally picked the players for his club.
One of the General's key talents is Geoffrey Sidebottom, a 12-year goalkeeper stalwart from England. League reports have indicated that Sidebottom along with Toros goalie Blagoje Vidinic are the best in the new league.
Other top starts for New York are Trinidians Warren Archibald, Leroy Deleon and Jan Steadman all former members of National College Soccer champion St. Benedict's.
Also going into effect today is the NPSL's unique "6-3 Scoring System." A team gets six points for a win and three for a draw. In addition a team can pick up an additional point for every goal scored up to a maximum of three.