1958 National Soccer League

Final standings as listed in an Labatt’s advertisment in the Polish immigrant newspaper Zwiazkowiek in October 1958. The club listed as Bialy Orzel is the White Eagles.

Secretary Frank W. Thirkettle

Chief-referee: Jock Craig (Richmond Hill, Ontario)


The league was again an Inter-Provincial League as it added three teams from Montreal. The three new teams from Montreal were Cantalia, Hungaria and Sparta.

Before the season started the league borrowed $50,000 to buy the Fred Hamilton ground in Toronto. By the end of the season $30,000 was said to have been repaid on the loan.

In an interview with Canadian Press before the season started, secretary Frank Thirkettle said «It’s my opinion that play in our league ranks with that in the second divison in the English Soccer League». It was certainly a time were the strength of the teams were at a higher level than for many years. This as many team imported good players from Europe and South America. It was said that the players in the NSL could earn up to $100 per week, this was more than players in Scotland and England were being paid.

Clubs and players

Polish White Eagles signed fullback Len Wilkins from Southampton. Wilkins had been with Southampton for 14 seasons and had played in 260 Football League matches.

Toronto Italia was coached by Antonio Codeluppi. Codeluppi was a former player for Bari in Italy.

On Wednesday March 19 British soccer players Benny Cairns and Bob McEwan arrived in Toronto to join Sparta. In April they signed goalkeeper Chris Conway from Montrose of the Scottish League.

Ulster United hired former Northern Irish international and Swansea player Joe Feeney as their new coach.

Review of the season

The season started on Saturday April 26 when Polish White Eagles beat Ulster United 4-0. The following day 1957 leading goalscorer Gerhard Borchert scored three goals to lead his Toronto Olympia team to a 3-2 victory over Sparta.

On Wednesday night May 7 Toronto Italia defeated Hamilton Italo-Canadians 1-0 in front of 5,000 fans. Armedio Michelin scored on a penalty two minutes before half-time.

Cec MacCormack scored three goals on Saturday May 10 when White Eagles beat Montreal Sparta 4-2 in Montreal.

On May 14 Toronto Sparta defeated Hamilton Italo-Canadians 3-2 in Toronto.

On Wednesday night June 18 Toronto Sparta defeated Malta United 3-2 in Toronto. The win moved Sparta into a fourth-place tie with Toronto Hungaria in the NSL standings.

On Wednesday night July 2 Toronto Ukraina defeated Malta United 3-2. The win moved Toronto Ukraina into a fourth-place tie with Montreal Sparta and Toronto Sparta in the NSL standings.

On Wednesday night August 6 Toronto Sparta won 1-0 over Toronto Italia in front of a crowd of 4,726.

4,218 fans watched Toronto Italia defeat Malta United 3-1 on Monday night August 11.

On Sunday night August 10 Montreal Hungaria defeated Toronto Sparta 2-0 in Montreal. The win meant that Montreal Hungaria held onto its lead in the NSL standings.

East End Canadians got one of their few wins during the season when they defeated Hamilton Italo-Canadians on Wednesday night August 20 in Toronto.

Toronto Ukraina secured a spot in the NSL playoffs by beating Toronto Sparta 1-0 on August 27.

Toronto Ukraina climbed into a third-place tie with Olympia after defeating East End Canadians on September 4.

On Sunday September 28 Montreal Hungaria clinched the league championship when they beat Hamilton Italo-Canadians 1-0.

Montreal Hungaria won the National Soccer League trophy when they beat Toronto Italia 3-2 on October 26, 1958. The first match in the two-game, total-goals series, ended in a 2-2 draw. That first game in Toronto attracted a record crowd of 8,442 fans with another 3,000 fans having to be turned away.

The three Montreal clubs lost $25,000 between them. The games in Montreal drew a total of 64,000 fans. The Toronto games were said to average 1,800 fans and the games in Hamilton 1,200. The league was very satisied that it it looked like they had curbed the problem with trouble at games in Toronto. It was said that in the more than 140 games played in Toronto there had only been one game were there was a brawl. 

After the season the Toronto East End Canadians and Malta United were dropped from the league. They were ousted by a 6-2 vote of the other Toronto teams. The constitution of the NSL dictated that the two bottom teams at the season’s end must re-apply for membership. Not happy with this decision both clubs took the case to court but Mr. Justice John L. Wilson of the Ontario Supreme Court dismissed the motion by the two expelled clubs as no rights had been infringed when they were cut.

Player exodus to Argentina?!

The NSL had had its player exodus’ to the American Soccer League; to Cleveland, Detroit and Rochester; but after the 1958 season four players left the league play soccer in Argentina. Norberto Iacono returned to his former club River Plate. Steve Bencze and Tibor Sztankovics, of Montreal Hungaria and Vittorio Santini of Montreal Cantalia, joined him.

Results and final standings

Labatt Trophy Finals

October 19, 1958 Fred Hamilton Park, Toronto
Attendance: 8,442
Toronto Italia 2
Montreal Hungaria 2

October 26, 1958 Faillon Stadium, Montreal
Attendance: 3,000
Referee: Hugh McLean (Hamilton)
Montreal Hungaria 3 (Imre Dora, Tibor Stankovics, Kurt Horvath)
Toronto Italia 2 (Pete Cassin, Eric Erbach)

Montreal Hungaria won the two-game, total-goals series

Exhibition games

May 8, 1958 Varsity Stadium, Toronto
NSL All-Stars 1
Mexico National Team 3

June 8, 1958 University of Detroit Stadium
Attendance: 6,000
Ulster United 2 (Jim Creighton, Ernest Stanfield)
Manchester City 8 (Colin Barlow 6, Don Revie 2)

July 21, 1958 Toronto
Attendance: 5,200
Toronto Ukraina 0
Admira Wien (Austria) 3

July 24, 1958 Montreal
Montreal Hungaria 5
Admira Wien (Austria) 6