Brooklyn College women’s soccer head coach and former NASL (Memphis Rogues, New England Tea Men) and ASL (New Jersey Americans) pro player Patrick Horne (Black Pioneers of the North American Soccer League) joins the podcast to help shine a light on the largely unrecognized contributions of black players to both the success of North America’s first major foray into pro soccer, and the growth of the sport’s popularity in the US and Canada in the decades since.
While no one disputes the significance of the June 1975 signing of Brazilian superstar Pelé to the league’s flagship New York Cosmos as the watershed that legitimized soccer’s viability as a professional sport in North America (major world-class talent like Portuguese legend Eusebio and Brazilian star defender Carlos Alberto quickly followed), black players from various corners of the globe had already been plying their trade in the fledgling NASL years before – some as early as the competing 1967 leagues (NPSL and USA) that preceded it.
And many of them were unqualified standouts, despite the league’s early struggles.
Exceptional black talent from places like: Bermuda (1972 MVP Randy Horton; Clyde Best); Trinidad & Tobago (MVPs Warren Archibald  & Steve David ); South Africa (1968 Rookie of the Year Kaizer Motaung; “Ace” Ntsoelengoe); Nigeria (Ade Coker); England (Mark Lindsay; and scores of others (including a number of notables from the US collegiate ranks) all helped to stabilize and strengthen the pro game during the 1970s and early 1980s until the NASL’s unceremonious collapse in 1984.
Even then, many stayed in their adopted homelands to eventually become coaches and administrators, helping to keep the spirit of the game alive while the US and Canada began its long rebuilding process to get back to top-tier pro soccer.
PLUS: The “Black Pearl” sings!
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