The aim with these pages are to remember the many highs and some of the lows of the National Soccer League in Canada. The league was known as the National Soccer League from 1926 to 1992. In 1993 it merged with the defucnt Canadian Soccer League (1987-92) and became know as the Canadian National Soccer League. The league ceased operations in 1997.
I also include some of the various soccer leagues that existed in the same areas and at the same time as of the NSL.
It is now forgotten how many international stars that played in the National Soccer League. Sam Chedgzoy, Erno Schwarz, Zoltan Czibor, Jair da Costa and Jose Altafini are just a number of famous players to have played in the league. So did Maradona, Lalo that was.
Short history of the National Soccer League and some of the other leagues.
The forerunner to the NSL was the Inter-City League (1922-1925) and the Inter-Provincial League.
The National Soccer League was formed in 1926. The member clubs in that first season were Ulster United, Montreal Carsteel, Montreal Maroons, Toronto City, Hamilton Thistles and Windsor Rovers.
In 1928 the National Soccer League merged with the Inter-Provincial League. The league kept the National Soccer League name.
Due to World War II the league stopped operating in the 1942. The Montreal clubs continued as the National Soccer League until the end of the 1943 season.
An inter-provincial National Soccer League started to operate again in 1947. The NSL competed with the Ontario Major Soccer League in the period after the war.
The 1950’s were boom years for the National Soccer League. However, the league struggled with internal strife and occasionally crowd violence.
Wanting to make Canadian soccer more professional the Eastern Canada Professional Soccer League was created in 1961 and lasted until 1966. The league consisted of some of the top clubs from the National Soccer League. After the ECPSL folded there was a partially merger with the National Soccer League in 1967.
In 1967 two new professional leagues were started in North America. These were the National Professional Soccer League and the United Soccer Association. In 1968 the two leagues merged to form the North American Soccer League. The NASL lasted until the end of its 1984 season.
The 1970’s saw the National Soccer League again attract top players and good crowds. It quickly became the recruiting ground for many of the clubs in the North American Soccer League.
The Canadian Professional Soccer League was formed in 1983. The NSL lost some its clubs and many of its best players to the CPSL. The league was a financial disaster and struggled to finish its first and only season.
In 1987 another attempt was made to form a professional soccer league in Canada. Known as the Canadian Soccer League they focused on its member clubs not being influenced and run by ethnic communities. The league lasted until the end of its 1992 season.
In 1993 the National Soccer League merged with the remains of the Canadian Soccer League. The new took the name the Canadian National Soccer League.
After the 1997 season the Canadian National Soccer League ceased operations.
Please note that I am deliberately not copying from groundbreakers like Colin Jose and Rocket Robin to avoid eventual small mistakes being repeated. They have my full and utmost respect for their passion and hard work.
If you see mistakes or have info, please contact me!
Christian Hesle, Oslo, Norway
Magazines: Soccer Illustrated Match Magazine Telesport World Soccer North American Soccer and Football News Media Guides: National Soccer League North American Soccer League (1968-1984) Major Indoor Soccer League/Major Soccer League Websites: www.rsssf.com Hamilton Soccer Hall of Fame - www.hschof.ca Books: Their Sporting Legacy, K.W. Sokoloyk Football League Players' Records 1946-1988, Barry J. Hugman Newsaper archives: Toronto Star Ukrainian Weekly Newspapers.com: Montreal Gazette Ottawa Citizen Ottawa Journal Windsor Star