Pittsburgh Phantoms
Logo
Founded1967
Dissolved1967
StadiumForbes Field,
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Capacity35,714
PresidentPeter Block
ManagerHerbert Voght
János Bédl
Co Prins
Joseph Gruber
LeagueNational Professional Soccer League (NPSL)

The Pittsburgh Phantoms were a professional soccer team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1967. The club was one of the ten charter members of the non-FIFA sanctioned National Professional Soccer League (NPSL). All of the team's home games were played at Forbes Field, which also served as the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The team folded at the conclusion of the 1967 NPSL season.

History

In 1966 several groups of entrepreneurs were exploring the idea of forming a professional soccer league in United States. Two of these groups merged to form the National Professional Soccer League (NPSL) and franchise rights were awarded to ten ownership groups, with one given to a group of Penguins investors with Peter Block acting as owner and president.[1]

In November 1966, Herbert "Bavarian Fats"[2] Vogt, was introduced as the team's head coach and general manager, having signed a two year contract. At his first press conference he gave the first public announcement that the team would be named the "Pittsburgh Phantoms". However two months later, Vogt resigned from his position with the team with the team citing ill health.[3][4] Vogt later stated that he did he was in excellent health and in a letter to the team claim that in addition to being squeezed out of the job, personnel director Raymond Schwab was not signing "first class players".[5] In March 1967 it was announced that Schwab was leaving his position and was replaced by Ted DeGroot.[6]

János Bédl became the Phantom's second coach, but was fired on 1 May 1967 after just four games and the team in first place in the Eastern Division. Bédl sued the team and eventually settled out of court for $32,500.[3] Co Prins then became player-coach for about a dozen games before being replaced by Josef "Pepi" Gruber in June.[7] During this period, the Phantoms settled out of court with Sparta Rotterdam, a Dutch professional soccer club based in Rotterdam, for $50,000 when the team signed Theo Laseroms to a contract, while he was still under contract with Sparta.[3] The team finished the season in 5th place in the Eastern Division with a record of 10 win, 14 loses and 7 draws and with an average attendance of 3,122.[8] Recording losses of $700,000-750,000, the team folded.[9][1]

Year-by-year

Year Division W L T Pts League Playoffs
1967 NPSL 10 14 7 132 5th, Eastern Division Did not qualify

References

  1. ^ a b Seese, D.J. (2015). The Rebirth of Professional Soccer in America: The Strange Days of the United Soccer Association. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781442238954.
  2. ^ "Teams that followed the bouncing ball". The Pittsburgh Press. 11 August 1985. Retrieved 3 December 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Heufelder, Bill (5 August 1967). "The 'Phantastic' Season". The Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved 3 December 2021.
  4. ^ "Pittsburgh Soccer Mentor Resigns". The Washington Observer. 6 January 1967. Retrieved 3 December 2021.
  5. ^ Miller, Jimmy (10 February 1967). "Vogt 'Vexes' Phantoms President". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 3 December 2021.
  6. ^ "Phantoms Get New Director". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 4 March 1967. Retrieved 3 December 2021.
  7. ^ "Phantoms Name Gruber 4th Coach, Succeeding Prins". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 6 June 1967. p. 36. Retrieved 3 December 2021.
  8. ^ "North American Soccer League". rsssf.com. Retrieved 3 December 2021.
  9. ^ "Pro League to Operate Two Divisions". The Vancover Sun. 5 January 1968. Retrieved 3 December 2021.