The North American Soccer League (NASL) was the top-level major professional soccer league in the United States and Canada that operated from 1968 to 1984. It was the first soccer league to be successful on a national scale in the United States. The league final was called the Soccer Bowl from 1975 to 1983 and the Soccer Bowl Series in its final year, 1984. The league was headed by Commissioner Phil Woosnam from 1969 to 1983.
The league's popularity peaked in the late 1970s. The league averaged over 13,000 fans per game in each season from 1977 to 1983, and the league's matches were broadcast on network television from 1975 to 1980. The league's most prominent team was the New York Cosmos. During the mid-to-late 1970s, the Cosmos signed a number of the world's best players —Pelé, Franz Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto— and the Cosmos averaged over 28,000 fans for each season from 1977 to 1982 while having three seasons of the average attendance topping 40,000 spectators per game. Other internationally well-known players in the league included Giorgio Chinaglia, Johann Cruyff, Johan Neeskens, Gerd Müller, George Best, and Rodney Marsh.
The league additionally sanctioned indoor soccer in 1971, and 1975–1976 and from 1979–1984.Close