San Diego Sockers 1983

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A post mostly for my father...

Ever since coming across the San Diego Sockers "shuffle" video on last summer, I had been searching for video -- any video -- of an actual game. As you may recall, I was a soccer player in my youth in San Diego, and my favorite sports team was -- far and away -- the San Diego Sockers. I attended their summer youth camps (once, on an apparent breakaway, I had the ball stolen from me in a camp scrimmage by a very speedy Fernando Clavijo), and my father took me (and my friends...even for my birthday party one year...) to many games at the San Diego Sports Arena.

The 1982-83 Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) championship series featured the best rivalry in the Sockers heroes versus the hated Baltimore Blast. To a 12 year old, Sockers vs. Blast was good vs. evil.

In a best of five series, the Sockers and Blast held serve on their home astroturfs before heading back to San Diego for the deciding game. The Sockers had opened the championship series with consecutive shutout victories at home -- the only two shutouts in the history of the playoffs to that point in the young MISL. But the Blast won the third and fourth games -- each by a single goal -- in Baltimore.

Thanks to Dave's collection of historic soccer videotapes, I purchased a DVD of Game 5, 1983 MISL Championship Series. The coverage on the relatively new USA cable network featured a younger Al Trautwig and Kyle Rote Jr. with the color. Trautwig and Rote set the stage for the heated deciding game:

[ed: The first video is having some problems via Google. Try refreshing the page to get it to work.]

The opening kickoff:

The series had grown "chippy," with plenty of words exchanged in person and via the media. Sockers coach Ron Newman felt that the Blast, especially Peter Baralic, had intentionally tried to injure Sockers players, including former Poland national team captain Kaz Deyna. Almost 13,000 supportive yet raucous Sockers fans responded by booing Baralic every time he touched the ball, and even celebrating a hard tackle on Baralic early in Game 5:

With Alan Mayer in goal, the Sockers would hold the Blast scoreless until the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, the Sockers opened the scoring in the second quarter on a play that featured Playoff MVP Double-Deuce and Triple-E and Nico Rohman:

Following a two-minute penalty on the Blast in the third quarter, Sockers coach Ron Newman elected to go "Super Power Play" and pull Mayer for a two-man advantage. With the hobbled Deyna, Veee (playing with a broken hand), Ade Coker and others on the penalty unit, the Super Power Play paid dividends quickly:

Late in the third quarter, after a few hard fouls and a disallowed Sockers goal, the sold out crowd grew angry, even resorting to throwing trash on the turf. The Sockers, feeding off the crowd energy, struck again -- this time Jean Willrich -- to go up 3-0:

The Sports Arena crowd saw the Sockers outscore the Blast 16-1 in San Diego during the five game series. At the opening of the final quarter, the Sockers saluted the sold out arena. The record crowd of 12,948 responded, late in the game, with its usual chant:

The Sockers held on for a 3-1 win, and the nearly 13,000 San Diegans celebrated (and Blast coach Kenny Cooper wept) the second of the Sockers' five straight (and, eventually, ten total) indoor soccer titles:

San Diego Sockers. 1983 Major Indoor Soccer League champions. Already 25 years ago...


Blogger arjaylee54 said...

Thanks for posting these clips. Good Memories
I was on the bench this game as the Head Athletic Trainer. In a box somewhere I've got this game on VHS along with the NASL Indoor Championship game in Tampa the year before.
All the best,

-Robert Lee-

Saturday, January 19, 2008 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger Nickname unavailable said...

Best time of my life - watching the old Sockers play. I gotta pull out my old VHS tapes and watch them all over again.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 10:41:00 PM  
Blogger sdnative said...

i was a 9 year old boy at the time and in attendance with my dad who i lost just two years later. funny how it seems like just yesterday. thanks for posting as it brought back memories of a better time.

Friday, July 04, 2008 8:45:00 PM  
Blogger Derek said...

Ade was a family friend. That brought back a lot.

Friday, July 18, 2008 8:26:00 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

Wow. My grandmother had season tickets every year. I used to go to Sockers games regularly. That brought back some great memories. Thanks


Monday, August 04, 2008 6:04:00 PM  

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