1969 National Soccer League

President: Joe Piccininni
Directors: Zoltan Czimbalmos, Harry Bogdanow and Nick Martel
Secretary-treasurer: Conrad Schmidt

Annual general meeting

At the annual meeting at the Seaway Hotel, on Saturday March 8, 1969, Alderman Joseph Piccininni was elected president of the NSL. He replaced Bill Boytchuk who had been president of the league for seven years. Windsor Teutonia dropped out from the previous season and the National League added five teams before the season to become a fourteen-team league. New clubs were Italia, London German-Canadians, Arsenal Oakville, Hamilton Homer and Montreal Inter Italia.

Clubs and players

First Portuguese

Founded: September 23, 1956
Stadium: Stanley Park, Toronto

First Portuguese was coached by Artur Rodrigues. First Portugese’s main attraction was former Belenenses and Portugal star Matateu.

Stadium: Stanley Park, Toronto
Head Coach:
Key players:

London German-Canadian Football Club

Founded: 1934
General manager:
Head Coach:
Key players:

Sudbury Italia Flyers Soccer Club

Founded: 1949
Stadium: Queen’s Atheltic Field, Sudbury
Head Coach:
Key players:

After the season Sudbury Flyers dropped out of the league due to financial reasons.

Toronto Croatia

Founded: 1956
Stadium: Stanley Park, Toronto

Croatia represented the 15,000 ethnic Croatians living in Toronto. New players included Dianmo Zagreb youth goalkeeper Zeljko Bilecki and forward Aleja Solak, formerly of Yugoslavian club Famos.

Toronto Italia

Founded: 1969
Stadium: Stanley Park, Toronto

With the demise of the Toronto Falcons of the NASL a new Italia team was formed in Toronto and were led off the field by Gino Ventresca and on the field by player-coach Anders Yrfelt. However they failed to capture the interest of the Italian community. The club only drew a total of 4,566 fans and folded after the season.

Sport Association Ukraina

Founded: May 16, 1948
Stadium: Stanley Park, Toronto

Ukraina was coached by A. Horsky.

Review of the season

The season started with a crowd of 6,000 attending the opening game between Italia and Hellas. Of these a healthy 5,348 paid to get in. With no professional team left in Toronto, the semi-pro league enjoyed success at the gate and already after six weeks more attendance marks had passed the 1969 total of 23,700. First Portuguese were the biggest success taking $18,000 at the gate, double of what number two Hellas took in.

The league kept their semi-pro status with players recieving an average of $30 a game plus bonuses for wins and ties. In an interview during the season with the Toronto Star, Croatia’s Marijan Bilic compared the league with the third division in Yugoslavia and added that the league only had about 14-15 good players.

Toronto Croatia was suspended as the result of linesman George Bailey suffering broken ribs on August 23. Toronto Croatia put up a $1,000 bond with the Ontario Football Association as part of the reinstatement.

On Tuesday September 2 the largest crowd of the season, nearly 7,000, watched First Portuguese and Toronto Hellas tie 1-1. The two teams were leading the league with 27 points each.

In their final game of the season, First Portuguese won the league title when they beat Toronto Hungaria 2-0 on October 9. More than 4,000 fans watched the game. The victory gave First Portuguese a total of 38 points for the season.

Total attendance for the year was 84,000

Sudbury Italia, Toronto Italia, Arsenal and Montreal Italia dropped out after the season.

NSL All-Stars

The NSL All-Stars played two exhibtion matches this season. In the first match they lost 7-3 to the touring Hungarian team Ferencvaros, the All-Stars led 3-2 at the interval. In the second match they played Rochester Lancers at Aquinas Stadium in Rochester. The Lancers won the match 3-1 in front of 650 fans, their lowest gate of the season.

Results and standings

NSL League Cup Final
October 26, 1969 Toronto
Toronto Italia 2
Toronto Hungaria 1