Atlanta Chiefs to take on Dallas in Rome Sunday

Date Published: 
Rome News-Tribune

The Atlanta Chiefs, defending champs of the North American Soccer League, present a preview of what to expect in 1969 when they take on the Dallas Tornadoes Sunday afternoon at Barron Stadium.

It's only an exhibition game, but it should give coach Vic Crowe an idea of how his players will perform when they kick off league play June 1 against the Baltimore Bays.

Sunday's game begins at 2:30 p.m. under the sponsorship of the Rome Jaycees. Tickets cost $2 for adults and $1 for students and are now on sale. They may be obtained at Huff's Pharmacy, Big K, Hilburn's Shoe Store, Wheeler's, Music Room or from any Jaycee.

All proceeds of the game go to the American Cancer Society.

This marks the second year the Chiefs have played in Rome. They staged an intra-squad game a year ago, but this time their competition is another league foe, Dallas, Tex.

The Chiefs, wholly-own subsidiary of the Atlanta Braves, Inc., are in their third season of play in Atlanta Stadium.

In the first two years the Chiefs compiled a regular season record of 28 wins, 19 losses and 15 ties, and an overall record of 32-20-17.

Most of the members of last year's title club are back, including high scoring Kaizer (Boy-Boy) Motaung. He tallied 15 goals and had three assists to lead the 1968 club in scoring.

Another forward back is Graham Newton, who scored 11 goals and had three assists in 1968.

Other standouts of the Chiefs' roster are forwards Everald Cummings, Emment Kapengwe, Freddie Mwila and Nick Papadakis, halfbacks Mike Ash, Ray Bloomfield and Ken Bracewell, fullbacks John Cocking, Henry Largie and Delroy Scott and goalkeepers Manfred Kammerer and Vic Rouse.

Atlanta's professional soccer club was born on Aug 9, 1966, when the Atlanta Braves, Inc., was awarded one of the nine original franchises in the National Soccer League.

On Sept., 1966, former Welsh international player Phil Woosnam was named coach and general manager of the team which was named the Chiefs on Jan. 8, 1967.

By February 22, 1967, Woosnam had gathered soccer prospects from all over the world to start training at Atlanta's Emory University. On April 16, the Chiefs played their first official league game—a one goal loss to the Baltimore Bays. Then on April 22 Atlanta played its first home game, a 1-1 tie against the Los Angeles Toros in Atlanta Stadium before a crowd of 11,293.

Following the 1967 season, the Chiefs' NPSL merged with the United Soccer Association into the North American Soccer League.

The Chiefs played their first international game on May 27, 1968, against Manchester City, then champions of England and Atlanta won 3-2 before 23,141 fans in Atlanta Stadium. The Chiefs then defeated Manchester City a second time 2-1 on June 15 before 25,856 fans.

The Chiefs went on to give Atlanta its first national title in 1968 by defeating the San Diego Toros 3-0 for the NASL championship on Sept. 28 before 14,994 fans in Atlanta.

Now, in just two years the Chiefs and soccer have accomplished many things. Not only are they the NASL champs nearly 300,000 fans saw the team play in Atlanta Stadium during the first two seasons. Former Chiefs coach Phil Woosnam (now league executive director) was named "Coach of the Year" in the NASL by Sporting News and "Sportsman of the Year" by the Atlanta Journal for 1968.