1978 National Soccer League


President: John Fischer
Secretary: Job Jones

The NSL also operated with a Second Division.


Chief-referee: Larry Naccarato

Referees included Frank Pavicic, Nevio Novacco (Chatham, Ontario), Phil Clarke (London, Ontario) and Larry Naccarato

Preview of the season

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

Led by strong imports from Poland the Toronto Falcons finished third in the final league standings. The club was coached by former Polish international player Wacław Sąsiadek.

Toronto Italia focused on using young Canadian players. 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

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.

Toronto Falcons opened their season against Toronto Croatia on May 14 at Lamport Stadium. Falcons defeated Croatia 2-0.

On June 22 First Portuguese defeated Toronto Croatia 2-0. Victor Silva and Joao Moniz scored the goals for the Portuguese.

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.

On Sunday July 30 Panhellenic beat Hamilton Italo-Canadians 3-0. Montreal Castors defeated Buffalo Blazers 2-1. Graham Byford and Jose Testas scored for Castors, Freitas scored for the Blazers.

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. Toronto Italia dropped out.

Leading goalscorer – Sergio Clerici (Montreal Castors)

Panini Sticker from the 1972-1973 season

Brazilian-born forward Sergio Clerici had a long career in Serie A and Serie B. He played for Lecco, Bologna, Atalanta Bergamo, Hellas Verona, Fiorentina, Napoli and Lazio in Italy. He finished the 1978 season as the leading goalscorer in the National Soccer League.

Leading goalkeeper – Tony Dallas (First Portuguese)

Tony Dallas was born in Greece and started his career with his local club A. O. Kastoria. He moved to Chicago where he played for the Hellenic Club and for the Chicago Cats in the American Soccer League. Tony played for Homer, Panhellenic and First Portuguese in the NSL. In 1978 he won the leading goalkeeper trophy in the NSL. He later played for Chicago Horizon in the Major Indoor Soccer League.

Leading goalscorers

1. Sergio Clerici (Montreal Castors)19
2. Mike Burke (Toronto Italia) 15
2. Billy Telford (Ottawa Tigers)15
4. Saba Ramanovic (Panhellenic)14
5. Jose Testas (Montreal Castors)11

National Soccer League Play-offs

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.

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


Results and standings

Leading goalscorers:
(As of July 21, 1978)
1. Jim Douglas (St. Catharines Roma) 10 goals
2. Tony Novacic (St. Catharines Roma) 7 goals
3. George Johnston (St. Catharines Heidelberg) 6 goals
3. Neil Watton (St. Catharines Heidelberg) 6 goals

National Soccer League Cup

NSL Cup Finals

Toronto Falcons won over Hamilton Italo-Canadians

Exhibition games

July 4, 1978
Detroit Soccer League All-Stars 4 (Thair Nasso, Kamal Mukhtar, George Dimon, Jose Hernandez)
London City 2

July 26, 1978 Toronto
Panhellenic 2 (Dennis D’Hugo 2)
Lusitano (Portugal) 0

August 16, 1978 Centre Claude Robillard, Montreal
Montreal Castors 1 (Jose Testas)
Rochester Lancers (NASL) 3 (Julio Baylon 2, Pat Ercoli)

August 16, 1978 Finnie Stadium, Berea, Ohio
Attendance: 1,086
Cleveland Cobras 5 (Ted Busetto 2, Ian Elsby, Willie Carrasco, Billy Leese)
London City 1 (Jeff Currie)

August 19, 1978 Centre Claude Robillard, Montreal
Montreal Castors
CP Sporting Lisboa (Portugal)

August 30, 1978 Centre Claude Robillard, Montreal
Attendance: 4,750
Montreal Castors 0
Haiti National Team 2 (Serge Crispin, Pierre Richard Legagneur)
Montreal Castors roster:
Haiti National Team roster: Serge Crispin, Brévil, Jean Joseph, Jean Baptiste, E. D. Antoine, P. Vorbe, C Vorbe, St. Vil, Jean Bart Yu, J. Constan. J. A. Jean Louis, Mathelier, A. D. Charles, J. M. Louis, Fauche, Pierre Richard Legagneur, Atil, Maxi, Musac.