League president: John Fisher
Annual general meeting
On Saturday March 3, 1979 the NSL held its annual meeting. London City owner Harry Gauss put forward a motion to remove representatives off all clubs that had not paid their dues. Seconded by John Santos of the First Portuguese, Gauss’ move succeeded and the representatives of almost half the clubs where shown out before the proceedings were begun.
Consequently all these clubs were given until April 3, 1979 to pay their dues. The clubs were Toronto Italia, Montreal Castors, Toronto Polonia, Buffalo Blazers, St. Catherines Heidelberg, Windsor Stars, Melita and Macedonia. Castors had already asked for a one-year leave of absence and St. Catharines Heidelberg had been granted the same. Due to the failure of these clubs to meet the given requirements, the league lost many of its franchises and had to drop its two-division format. Creating a huge gap between the best and poorest teams.
New clubs Detroit Besa, Vardar, Serbians and Toronto Canadians. Detroit Besa and Vardar joined the league from the Detroit Soccer League, but Vardar dropped out during the season.
Clubs and players
Head coach: Dave Reid
Key players: Pasquale Amaro, Tommy Henderson, Jorge Planas De Calvi
The Marshlanders imported two players to give the team more experience.
Stadium: Keyworth Stadium, Hamtramck, Michigan
Head coach: Ninoslav Beristic
Originally awarded to a group called Detroit Spartans the new franchise in Detroit was given to Detroit Besa, a club backed by the Albanian community in Detroit.
The club was coached by former Yugoslavian professional player Ninoslav Beristic. Notable players were goalkeper Nandar Caszak, defender Gugdurai Nika and forward Martin Quni.
Founded: September 23, 1956
Head coach: Benvindo Assis
Benvindo Assis Viola returned for his second season in charge of First Portuguese.
Notable players included goalkeeper Tony Dallas; midfielders Rodney Desmeules and Armando Costa; forwards Hildeberto Ponte, Mike Ristich, Tito, Francisco Bolota and Jose Testas.
Stadium: Ivor Wynne Stadium, Hamilton
Carlos Delmonte took over as head coach of the Hamilton Italo-Canadians and led the team to a strong top-half finish.
Top players for the Italo-Canadians this season were goalkeeper Ardo Perri; midfielder Ivan Zanatta: forwards Louis Nagy, Mike Burke and Massimo Lanna.
After the season the club asked for a one year leave of absence and returned for the 1981 season as the Hamilton Steelers. Ivan Zanatta joined Sudbury Cyclones.
Founded: February 14, 1973
Stadium: Cove Road Field, London, Ontario
President: Markus Gauss
General manager: Harry Gauss
Key players: Jim McDonald
London City was captained by Jim McDonald. After the season he joined Cleveland Force of the Major Indoor Soccer League.
St. Catharines Roma
Stadium: Roma Park, St. Catharines
Head coach: Ernesto Borges
Key players: Jim Douglas, Tony Novacic, Danny McIntosh
Tony Novacic was among the leading goalscorers in the NSL. Dan McIntosh broke his leg in a game against Sudbury Cyclones on Sunday May 27.
Stadium: Queen’s Athletic Field, Sudbury
Owner: Wolf Mildenberger
Before the season started the Cyclones hired Peter Severinac as head coach. Severinac was a former player with local soccer teams, including Croatia Adria and the Cyclones.
Key players included goalkeepers Bill Shkrabek and Vic Pessot; defenders Renato Nicolucci and Frank Cristo; midfielders Andy Petrie, Rob MacTaggart and Ray Korkiala; forwards Cesare Pacitto, George Krauss, John Dagostino, Nick Dagostini, Bob Boettcher and Walt Michelutti. Ferrucio Deni again returned as a utility player.
Key players: Goalkeepers Nihailo Georgief and Steve Gallop; Herbert Gallo, Kim Albrecht, Kire Cipostolovski
Also known as Toronto United.
Key players: Goalkeeper Robert Scott; Darko Nosic
Stadium: Lamport Stadium, Toronto
Sport Association Ukraina
Head coach: M. Harapyn
Review of the season
First Portuguese won the league championship.
After the season Detroit Besa returned to the Detroit Soccer League.
Hamilton Italo-Canadians asked for a one year leave of absence and returned for the 1981 season as the Hamilton Steelers.
Results and standings
Sources: newspapers.com The Sudbury Star newspaper NASL Media Guide Toronto Star newspaper archive