1978 National Soccer League

President: John Fischer
Secretary: Job Jones
Chief-referee: Larry Naccarato

Annual general meeting

At the Annual General Meeting held in Sudbury on March 5, 1978, John Fischer was named president of the NSL. 44 years old at the time and from Kitchener he was also a director of non-amateur and professional soccer in Canada. He succeeded 56-year old Joseph Piccininni who stepped down after 12 years as president.

Toronto Macedonia surrendered its franchise at the meeting. Owner Dr. Dragi Denkowski wanted to sell his teams first division franchise rights to second division Club Montreal Stars, but this was refused by the league.

Toronto Ukraina returned to the NSL and played in the second division.

Clubs and players

Buffalo Blazers

Founded: 1976
Stadium: War Memorial Stadium, Buffalo, New York; Hyde Park Stadium, Niagara Falls, New York
President: Anthony Bodami
Head Coach: Sam Buscarino
Key Players: Goalkeepers Bran McLaughlin and Alan Giangreco; defenders John Priest and Robert Gemert; forwards David Sarachan and Emanuel Kulu.

After the season Dave Sarachan joined Pittsburgh Spirit in the Major Indoor Soccer League.

First Portuguese


Founded: September 23, 1956
Stadium:
Head Coach: Benvindo Assis
Key Players: Goalkeeper Tony Dallas; defender Rodney Desmeules; forwards Armando Costa and John Hold.

Hamilton Italo-Canadians
Founded:
Stadium:
Head Coach: Frank Donlavey
Key Players: Goalkeepers Ardo Perri and Victor Petrini; defenders James Sinclair and Kevin Gant; forwards Stewart McBean and Valdi Greco.
Former NSL and NASL player Frank Donlavey coached the Hamilton Italo-Canadians to the play-off finals. The team was strengthened by the signing of Stewart McBean, formerly of London City and Scottish club St. Johnstone.

London City


Founded: February 14, 1973
Stadium: Cove Road Field, London, Ontario
President: Markus Gauss
General manager: Harry Gauss
Head coach: Graham Sawyer
Key Players: Goalkeepers Bob Simko and Dieter Wolters; forward John Hold

On March 14, 1978 London City hired 34-year old Graham Sawyer as their head coach.

Montreal Castors (Les Castors de Montreal)


Founded: 1975
Stadium: Claude Robillard Stadium, Montreal
Owner: Tony Iammatteo
Key Players: Goalkeeper Blagoje Tamindzic; defenders Antonio Barros, Renato Cila and Chris Horrocks; midfielders Graham Byford and Tibor Molnar; forwards Sergio Clerici, Jose Testas and Gordon Wallace.

After winning the league championship the Castors decided not to take part in the play-offs or the NSL Cup. Despite the success on the field, the club lost almost $250.000 in 1978. They averaged about 1,000 for their home league games. The club spent heavily to build a strong team only to see their best players depart to the NASL without the club recieving any compensation. Owner Tony Iammatteo applied for a franchise in the North American Soccer League but this was rejected by the NASL. After the season Montreal Castors asked for a one-year leave of absence but never returned.

Ottawa Tigers

Founded: 1965
Stadium:
Player Coach: Tommy Henderson
Key Players: Goalkeeper Wilner Piquant, defender Mick Wharton, midfielder Barry Friend, forward Billy Telford

Panhellenic


Founded: 1976
Stadium:
Head Coach:
Key Players: Goalkeeper Peter Draga, fullback John Stavropoulos, forwards Saban Romanovic and Luis Alberto

After the season Luis Alberto joined Rochester Lancers in the North American Soccer League.

Toronto Croatia


Founded: 1956
Stadium:
Head Coach:
Key Players: Goalkeeper John Saric, forward George Watts

Toronto Falcons
Founded: 1975
Stadium:
Head Coach:
Key Players: Defender Krzysztof Reszny, midfielder Adam Popowicz, Zygfryd Szoltysik.

Led by strong imports from Poland the Toronto Falcons finsihed third.

Toronto Italia


Founded: 1972
General manager: Joe Vaccari
Head Coach: Bill Clarkin replaced by Fiorigi Pagliuso
Key Players: Goalkeeper Enzo DiPede, defender Bob McAvan, forwards Gerry McCabe, Mike Bruke and Sid Nolan.

Before the season started Toronto Italia according to the Toronto Star boldly announced that they would “sink or swim with Canadian players”. At the time they had only five returnees from the previous season and aimed to get young college players to fill out the roster. The goalscoring of Mike Burke and Sid Nolan helped them to fifth place finish.

After the season had finished Italia dropped out of the league. Sid Nolan joined Pittsburgh Spirit in the Major Indoor Soccer League

Windsor Stars


Founded: 1975
Stadium: Windsor Stadium, Windsor
Player Coach: Pedro daSilva
Key Players: Goalkeeper Dimitrios Sirigos, fullback Eddie Dickson, forward Ian Guthrie

Windsor Stars had a team payroll of $60,000 but struggled on with low attendances at their matches. After the season the Stars decided to take a one-year leave of absence after losing $300,000 since 1975. The franchise however did not return.

Review of the season

The opening games of the 1978 season was played on Sunday May 7. In Toronto First Portuguese and London City tied 1-1. John Hold scored for London City and Joao Moniz for the Portuguese club. In Buffalo Toronto Croatia defeated the Blazers 2-1. Montreal Castors played their opening game at Robillard Stadium. In front of 4,000 fans they defeated Panhellenic 2-1.

Hamilton Italo-Canadians opened their 1978 NSL season by beating Buffalo Blazers 6-0 on Wednesday night May 10. Gabriele Cortellucci scored two of the goals.

On Sunday July 16 the game between Buffalo Blazers and Windsor Stars was cancelled when members of the visiting team was detained at the border.

Montreal Castors won the league championship. After winning the league championship the Castors decided not to take part in the play-offs or the NSL Cup.

Toronto Falcons won the playoff championship.

At the end of the season London City and Buffalo Blazers were relegated to the second division.  St. Catharines Roma, St. Catharines Heidelberg and Sudbury Cyclones were promoted from the Second Division to the First Division. The NSL would however operate with only a First Division in the 1979 season.

After the season Montreal Castors asked for a one-year leave of absence but never returned.

Results and standings

               
First Division      GP W  L  T  GF GA Pts
Montreal Castors    20 15  2  3 55 22  33
First Portuguese    20 10  1  9 34 15  29
Toronto Falcons     20 10  5  5 26 23  25
Panhellenic         20  9  5  6 37 28  24
Toronto Italia      20  9  6  5 31 19  23
Windsor Stars       20  7  4  9 34 26  23
Ottawa Tigers       20  6  8  6 40 38  18
Hamilton Italo-Can. 19  5 10  4 31 32  14
Toronto Croatia     19  5 13  1 15 47  11
London City         20  3 14  3 16 39   9
Buffalo Blazers     20  3 14  3 26 56   9
  
National Soccer League Play-offs:
Semi-finals
September ??, 1978
Toronto Falcons 1
First Portuguese 0
  
September 20, 1978 Lamport Stadium
Toronto Falcons 0
First Portuguese 0
  
Toronto Falcons won the two-game, total-goal series
  
Montreal Castors vs Hamilton Italo-Canadians
Hamilton Italo-Canadians won on default. 
  
Finals
September 22, 1978 Lamport Stadium
Toronto Falcons
Hamilton Italo-Canadians
 
September 24, 1978 Ivor Wynne Stadium
Hamilton Italo-Canadians
Toronto Falcons
  
Toronto Falcons won the NSL play-offs championship
  
Leading goalcorers:  
Sergio Clerici (Montreal Castors)  19 gls
Mike Burke (Toronto Italia)        15 gls 
Bill Telford (Ottawa Tigers)       15 gls
Saba Ramanovic (Panhellenic)       14 gls
Jose Testas (Montreal Castors)     11 gls
  
Leading goalkeeper:  
Tony Dallas (First Portuguese) 

National Soccer League Cup Finals
Toronto Falcons won over Hamilton Italo-Canadians