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Good Seats Still Available

257 EpisodesProduced by Tim HanlonWebsite

“Good Seats Still Available” is a curious little podcast devoted to the exploration of what used-to-be in professional sports. Each week, host Tim Hanlon interviews former players, owners, broadcasters, beat reporters, and surprisingly famous "super fans" of teams and leagues that have come and gon… read more


157: The NASL’s Chicago Sting – With Willy Roy (Part Two)

When 32-year-old Willy Roy and two of his NASL St. Louis Stars teammates were acquired by the still-yet-to-play expansion Chicago Sting in February 1975, the club had just four signed players and a hit movie-inspired logo to its name. 

No one knew what to expect, and Chicago’s twin pro soccer flame-outs less than a decade earlier – the White Sox-owned USA/NASL Mustangs (1967-68) and the Roy-led 1967 NPSL Spurs – didn’t exactly inspire confidence the Sting would be any different.

Indeed, the passion project of prominent Chicago commodities trader and youth soccer parent/convert Lee Stern floundered early and often during its first few seasons under first-time coach (but Manchester United playing legend) Bill Foulkes. 

Despite a division title in 1976 – the first with the retired Roy as Assistant Coach – the Sting was largely uncompetitive during its first few seasons.  Crowds were abysmal, as the team shuffled games between Soldier Field, Comiskey Park, and Wrigley Field each summer.  By early-season 1978, the Sting was off to a ten-game losing streak and the worst attendance in the entire 24-team NASL – averaging just 4,188 fans a match.

Over the objections of then-GM Clive Toye, owner Stern elevated Roy to interim, then permanent head coach – and the rest, as they say, is history.

National Soccer Hall of Famer Roy joins for Part Two of our extended conversation – as we focus on the rise of the Sting into one of the NASL’s most exciting, attractive and memorable sides – and an indelible part of Chicago’s rich pro sports history. 

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