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US MLS vs NASL in the 70s and 80s

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Just wanted to confirm, Major League Soccer, it's doing a lot better than the league Pele was in in the 70s and early 80s, the NACL, right? Judging by number of teams, the players from overseas, the receipts, the bigger stadiums, number of matches on tv, the league of today is bigger and healthier than the one in the 70s, yes? I barely remember it at the time, just the ads and the Pele highlights.

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MLS is much better than the NASL ever hoped to be.    The athletes are bigger, stronger, faster and more skilled than the athletes of the mid 1970s.    Pele was very good but by today's standards probably would have been less outstanding.  

This discussion will lead to the same as the thread about the field of strength in Jack's day vs Tiger's day.

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Man, this brings back some memories. 1970's and 80's Tampa Bay Rowdies... Derek Smethurst, Rodney Marsh, Oscar Fabiani, Roy Wagerle. The New York Cosmos had Pelé, Giorgio Chinaglio, Franz Beckenbaur (ok, I had to look some of this up to get the spelling right). Many of the stars were just a bit past their prime, but they were offered big contracts to play in the league.

The scores seemed higher than World Cup soccer matches. Can't remember if the rules were different or what, but it wasn't uncommon for players to score a hat trick in a game.

I think the NASL helped popularize the sport in the US.

27 minutes ago, dennyjones said:

This discussion will lead to the same as the thread about the field of strength in Jack's day vs Tiger's day.

This is a given in almost every sport. An exception might be boxing because of MMA competing for athletes. But I believe it's valid to consider today's athletes - on average - better than yesterday's.

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The 70s were sort of a funny time for professional sports in general. ... At roughly the same time you had the American Basketball Association, World Hockey Association, World Football League and later the United States Football League. They were all trying to follow the success of the AFL in becoming part of the NFL. 

As far as the NASL (1968-1984) goes, it was really the first attempt to bring high-level soccer to the U.S. in nearly 50 years. They were essentially starting from scratch and they did tweak rules a bit to try to appeal to the American audience. The high was Pele coming into the New York Cosmos in 1975. They topped out at about 14,000 per game in the late 70s and had a handful of games on national TV. In the late 70s, they expanded rapidly only to have the wheels fall off through the early 80s. You'll see different things blamed for the demise of the NASL if you hunt around.  

Suffice it to say, the U.S. was a much different sort of market for soccer by the time the MLS came around. By that point, a lot of American children (myself included) had at least played the game. Cable television gives the MLS more opportunity to broadcast games than what the NASL had and has also exposed potential fans to the top European leagues. Also the MLS got a bit of a push from the U.S. hosting the 94 World Cup. 

Probably, you would never have had an MLS if you hadn't first had a NASL.



Edited by mcanadiens

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