National Soccer League

(Canadian) National Soccer League 1926-1997

1978 Season


President: John Fischer
Secretary: Job Jones

The National Soccer League operated with two divisions, a First Division and a Second Division.

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 team’s 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.


Chief-referee: Larry Naccarato

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


Review of the season

Buffalo Blazers Booster Club membership card

The opening games of the 1978 season was played on Sunday May 7. In Toronto First Portuguese and London City tied 1-1. In Buffalo Toronto Croatia defeated the Blazers 2-1. Montreal Castors played their opening game at Robillard Stadium in Montreal. 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. Toronto Falcons opened their season against Toronto Croatia on May 14 at Lamport Stadium. Falcons defeated Croatia 2-0. Led by strong imports from Poland the Toronto Falcons finished third in the final league standings.

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 in 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.

Final standings

Montreal Castors2015 2 3552233
First Portuguese2010 1 9341529
Toronto Falcons2010 5 5262325
Panhellenic20 9 5 6372824
Toronto Italia20 9 6 5311923
Windsor Stars20 7 4 9342623
Ottawa Tigers20 6 8 6403818
Hamilton Italo-Canadians19 5 10 4313214
Toronto Croatia19 513 1154711
London City20 314 31639 9
Buffalo Blazers20 314 32656 9

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


Final standings

St. Catharines Roma1210 0 235 722
St. Catharines Heidelberg12 9 3 0371218
Sudbury Cyclones12 6 4 2201114
Toronto Polonia12 5 4 3251813
Toronto Ukraina12 4 6 2192610
Mississauga SC12 3 9 01333 6
Bradford Marshlanders12 011 1 850 1

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


July 30, 1978: Sudbury Cyclones 3, First Portuguese 1

August 2, 1978: Ottawa Tigers @ Montreal Castors

NSL Cup Finals

Toronto Falcons won over Hamilton Italo-Canadians

Exhibition games

April 30, 1978 War Memorial Stadium, Buffalo, New York
Buffalo Blazers 2
Sudbury Cyclones 0

July 4, 1978
Detroit Soccer League All-Stars 4
London City 2

July 26, 1978 Toronto
Panhellenic 2
Lusitano (Portugal) 0

August 16, 1978 Centre Claude Robillard, Montreal
Montreal Castors 1
Rochester Lancers (NASL) 3

August 16, 1978 Finnie Stadium, Berea, Ohio
Cleveland Cobras 5
London City 1

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

August 30, 1978 Centre Claude Robillard, Montreal
Montreal Castors 0
Haiti National Team 2

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