1981 NATIONAL SOCCER LEAGUE

Annual general meeting

After one year of absence Hamilton Italo-Canadians returned to the league. Under the leadership of Mario DiBartolemeo they changed their name to Hamilton Steelers to have a broader appeal.

Another club that returned was Detroit Besa.

Clubs and players

Bradford Marshlanders


Founded: 1976
Stadium:
Head coach:
Key players:

Detroit Besa
Founded: 1974
Stadium: Keyworth Stadium, Hamtramck, Michigan
Player coach: Nino Berisic
Key players: Mladen Tomasevic, Niels Guldbjerg

Before the start of the season Besa signed Mladen Tomasevic, a 23 year old Yugoslavian second division player. Forward Simon Qafa was a former New York Eagles player. During the season defender Alex Dreshaj was sold to Detroit Express in the American Soccer League.

First Portuguese


Founded: September 23, 1956
Stadium:
Head coach:
Key players:

Hamilton Steelers


Founded: 1981
Stadium:

Coached by Carlo Delmonte the Steelers won all three NSL honors, the league championship, the NSL playoff championship and the NSL League Cup. Goalkeepers were Ardo Perri and Carlo Greco. Outfield players included Craig Martin, Paul Roe and Jim McLoughlin. Rennie Phillips finished the season as the leading goalscorer in the league.

In December 1981 Paul Roe joined the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the NASL.

London City


Founded: February 14, 1973
Stadium: Cove Road Field, London, Ontario
President: Markus Gauss
General manager: Harry Gauss
Head Coach:
Key players:

Panhellenic Olympics


Founded: 1976
Stadium:
Head coach: Germain Sanchez

Panhellenic Olympics were coached by Germain Sanchez. Leading players included striker Nick Aredzis, Hugo Nicolini and Toronto Blizzard-reject Engin Cinar.

After the season Engin Cinar joined Kansas City Comets (MISL). After being released by the Comets he signed for New York Cosmos.

St. Catharines Roma


Founded: 1967
Stadium: Roma Park, St. Catharines
Head coach:
Key players:

Toronto Croatia


Founded: 1956
Stadium:
Head coach:
Key players:

Toronto Falcons
Founded: 1975
Stadium:
Head coach:
Key players:

Toronto Italia


Founded:
Stadium:
Head coach:
Key players:

Sport Association Ukraina


Founded: 1948
Stadium:
Head coach:
Key players: Jerry Dyczkowsky

Review of the season

Hamilton Steelers won the league championship in convincing style much helped by the goalscoring of Rennie Phillips.

After the season Ukraina dropped out from the league.

Leading goalscorer Goals
Rennie Phillips (Hamilton Steelers)  18

National Soccer League Playoffs

Semifinals
Toronto Italia 1
Toronto Falcons 2
 
Toronto Italia 2
Toronto Falcons 0
 
Toronto Italia qualified for the final.
 
Hamilton Steelers beat Toronto Panhellenic.
 
Hamilton Steelers qualified for the final.
 
Final       
Hamilton Steelers beat Toronto Italia

National Soccer League Cup Final
At Hamilton
Hamilton Steelers 3
Toronto Ukraina 0

At Toronto
Toronto Ukraina 3
Hamilton Steelers 2

Sources:
Detroit Free Press, August 6, 1981
Hamilton Soccer Hall of Fame - http://hshof.ca/team/1981-hamilton-steelers/