1978 National Soccer League

President: John Fischer
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.

Clubs and players

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

               
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