1988 National Soccer League

President: Armando Difruscio
Vice-president: Italo Recine

Preview of the season

At the annual general meeting held in Toronto in January 1988 the league elected a new president in Armando Difruscio of St. Catharines Roma. Italo Recine of the Windsor Wheels was elected as vice-president. The league also decided to operate with a reserve division.

Referees

Referees included: Mladen Moric

Clubs and players

Toronto Croatia hired former Yugoslav international player Miso Smajlovic as their head coach. Key players were goalkeeper Otto Orf; midfielder Darico Pantalon; forwards Drago Santic and Bozo Bakota.

Toronto Italia hired Ivan Markovic as their head coach. Notable players included Carlos Salguero and Carmen Groe.

The Windor Wheels were coached by Mirko Bazic. Roster included goalkeeper Rob Agostini; defender Mark Christensen; midfielder Ian Parratt and forward Mark Tirikian. They played their home games at Windsor Stadium.

Star player – Bozo Bakota (Toronto Croatia)

Panini sticker of Bozo Bakota while with Austrian club Sturm Graz.

Before the season started Toronto Croatia signed former NK Zagreb and Sturm Graz-star Bozo Bakota. Bakota had played in one international match for Yugoslavia in 1978.

Review of the season

Toronto Italia clinched the league championship when they defeated Toronto Croatia 1-0 on Wednesday August 31.

Toronto Croatia won the playoff championship.

After the season London Marconi took a year’s leave of absence and Chile Lindo were dropped because of their behavioural problems on the pitch for the past two seasons.

Leading goalscorer – Carlos Salguero

Results and standings

NSL League play-offs
Toronto Croatia defeated Toronto Italia

NSL League cup
September 14, 1988 Toronto
Toronto Croatia 2 (own goal, Dragan Santic)
Windsor Wheels 1 (Victor Quni)

September 16, 1988 Windsor Stadium, Windsor
Windsor Wheels 1 (Mike Lupenec)
Toronto Croatia 1 (Bozo Bakota)

Toronto Croatia won total-goal series 3-2

Canadian Soccer Championship
September 25, 1988 Herbert St. Leonard Park, Montreal Attendance: 1,200
Montreal St. Leonard-Corfinium 3 (Windsor Vertus 2, Paul David)
Toronto Croatia 1 (Zoran Narjanovic)