1976 National Soccer League

President: Joe Piccininni

Annual general meeting

Joe Piccininni was re-elected as president of the National Soccer League.

Division 1

Clubs and players

First Portuguese

Founded: September 23, 1956
Head Coach:
Key players:  Goalkeeper Carlos Pedro; defender Jim McLean; forwards Armando Costa and Joao Moniz.

Led by the offensive play of Armando Costa and Joao Moniz the First Portuguese finished in the top half of the league.

Hamilton Croatia

Founded: 1957
Stadium: Brian Timmis Stadium, Hamilton
Head Coach:
Key players: Defenders Kevin Grant and Stjepan Loparic; forward Dave Dobbs.

London City Soccer Club


Founded: February 14, 1973
Stadium: Cove Road Field, London, Ontario
President: Markus Gauss
General manager: Harry Gauss
Head Coach:
Key players: Goalkeeper Dieter Wolter; defender Graham Sawyer; forwards Barry Brown, Bill Blair and John Hold.

Macedonia


Stadium:
Owner:
Head Coach:
Key players: Goalkeeper Robert Judd; forwards Skender Aidinov and Dragan Najdenovski

Montreal Castors (Les Castors de Montreal)


Founded: 1975
Owner: Tony Iammatto
Head Coach:
Key players:

Panhellenic


Founded: 1976
Head Coach:
Key players: Goalkeeper Tony Dallas; defender Telly Batakis; midfielders John Stavropoulos and Pedro Kozak; forwards Araquim de Melo, Alberto Gerez, Manolis Rakinzoglou, Petros Kontopoulos and Fernando Barbosa.

Panhellenic replaced the former Homer franchise. The failure to get the international release for several veteran players they had signed forced the club to start with eight junior players in their first game. The eigth players, all from Pauline Jets in the NSL Under-18 league, helped the Greek team to a one-nil victory over Les Castors of Montreal. Notable new players were Araquem DeMelo, a Brazilian star that lately had been playing in Greece; Pedro Kozak from Toronto Italia; South American player Alberto Gerez; Manolis Rakinzoglou and Petros Kontopoulos from Greece. Key native players were goalkeeper Tony Dallas, Telly Batakis and John Stavropoulos. After the season Fernando Barbosa joined Rochester Lancers.

Serbian White Eagles


Founded: 1968
General manager: Ken Stojanovich
Head Coach: John Dempsey
Key players: Mike Bakic, Saban Romanovic, Milan Zlatar

At the start of the season the Serbian White Eagles was said to have a massive $100,000 pay-roll. They had signed John Dempsey of Chelsea, England; Victor Battista of Fenix, Uruguay; Pedro Martinez of Vera Cruz, Mexico; Joao da Costa of Estoril, Portugal, and Ivan Mrsic of Radnicki, Yugoslavia. Blagoje Tamindzic started the season in goal but was sold to Rochester Lancers in April. He was replaced by Dursa Stepanovic. Among the returnees were Mike Bakic and Milan Zlatar. The Eagles’ heavy investment would however lead them into many problems. On Tuesday June 26 five Serbian White Eagles players were given their releases following a league meeting. The five players were John Dempsey, Ivan Mrsic, Tony Lawrence, Victor Batista and Pedro Martinez. The club was given ten days to pay what they owed Dragan Denkovski. Dempsey returned to Chelsea; Victor Batista and Ivan Mrsic joined Windsor Stars.

Toronto Italia


Founded: 1972
Owner:
Head Coach:
Key players: Goalkeeper Jack Brand; defender Peter Roe; midfielder Tony Lawrence; forward John Fahy.

A.S. Italia started the year by losing its three Canadian national team stars Paul D’Agostino, Robert Iarusci and Carmine Marcantonio. As they had played as amateurs during the 1976 season they were free to sign for any club and all three signed for the Metros-Croatia. Italia however made headlines on May 15, 1976, when they signed the great former Juventus star Jose Altafini. They also added future Canadian Olympic stars Jack Brand, Peter Roe and Tony Lawrence.

Welland Lions Croatia
Founded: 1976
Stadium:
Head Coach:
Key players: Goalkeeper Alan Paterson, Bill McIlveen, Chris Rutherford, Bill Millar, Mick Leonard, Chris Conlon

In May the Welland Lions, formerly Hamilton City, aquired four League of Ireland players from Sligo Rovers. These four were Mick Leonard, Chris Rutherford, Graham Fox and Alan Paterson. Players joining the team from the Hamilton Croatia franchise included Bill Millar, Bill McIlveen, Don Davidson and Chris Conlon.

Windsor Stars


Founded: 1975
Owner:
Head Coach: Roy Cheetham replaced by Ivan Markovic
Key players: Alan Hopes

After their promotion Windsor Stars’ coach Roy Cheetham strengthened his team with Alan Hopes who had in total scored 28 goals for Les Castors de Montreal the previous summer. Other newcomers were Ariel Gomez Reynolds, who had played for Atletic Espanol in Mexico; Nelson Pratas from Hamilton Italo-Canadians; Doug Pollard from Ontario Selects; Tom Thompson, a Scot; Brazilians Antonio Dias Araujo and Pedro Braz, the latter known as known as Pepe. Midway through the season Cheetham fell out with the directors of the club and was replaced by former Metros-Croatia coach Ivan Markovic. Markovic led the team from eight place in the standings to a fifth place finish. They also added Stan Puskas from London City; Ivan Mrsic and Victor Batista from the Serbian White Eagles. After the season Eddy Dickson went on a trial with Stockport County in England.

Review of the season

The season kicked off on Wednesday April 29, 1976, in Hamilton. Hamilton Croatia scored two goals in the second half to tie First Portuguese 2-2. Goalscorers for Hamilton Croatia were Stejpan Loparic and Slobodan Hrstic. Goalscorers for First Portuguese were Armando Costa and Jim McLean.

Windsor Stars opened their season in Hamilton by beating Hamilton Croatia on Sunday May 2. The game was watched by 1,000 fans at Brian Timmis Stadium. Joe Vitale and Manfred Michel scored the goals for Windsor Stars.

Due to snow in Montreal the Les Castors Montreal had to switch their home game against Macadonia to Toronto on May 8.

Toronto Italia won the league championship.

First Portuguese defeated Toronto Italia in the playoff championship.

First Division       GP W  L  T  GF GA Pts
Toronto Italia       27 17  3  7 53 13  41
Montreal Castors     27 16  6  5 47 18  37
Panhellenic          27 15  5  7 46 19  37
First Portuguese     27 14  8  5 51 27  33
Windsor Stars        27 11 10  6 47 31  28
London City          27 10  9  8 44 40  28
Serbian White Eagles 27 10 11  6 38 48  26
Macedonia            27  8 14  5 33 49  21
Hamilton Croatia     27  4 20  3 26 68  11
Welland Lions        27  3 22  2 18 88   8
  
Leading goalscorers                   Goals
(as of August 9, 1976)
Saban Romanovic (Serbian White Eagles)  9  
Mike Bakic (Serbian White Eagles)       8 
  


Playoff finals
October ??, 1976
First Portuguese 2
Toronto Italia 0

October 4, 1976 Lamport Stadium, Toronto
First Portuguese 2 (Armando Costa 2)
Toronto Italia 1 (John Fahy)