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
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.
Founded: September 23, 1956
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.
Founded: February 14, 1973
Stadium: Cove Road Field, London, Ontario
President: Markus Gauss
General manager: Harry Gauss
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
Stadium: Roma Park, St. Catharines
Sport Association Ukraina
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
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.
Hamilton Steelers beat Toronto Italia
National Soccer League Cup Final
Hamilton Steelers 3
Toronto Ukraina 0
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/