USISL: 1996 Select League Team Info and Outlook

The USISL, celebrating its 10th year of operation, has formed the Select League for its 21 elite teams: 17 teams from last year's Pro League, one team from the Premier League and three first-year teams.

Western Conference

California Jaguars

Address: 12 Clay Street, Salinas, CA 93901. Telephone: (408) 757-2105. Outlook: New coach Gaspar Silvera, a veteran on the San Jose scene, has the difficult task of losing many key players from the '95 Sizzlin' Nine finalists to MLS. Monterey Bay have lost such stars as goalie David Kramer and Mark Semioli to Los Angeles and Jeff Baicher, Paul Bravo and Paul Holocher to San Jose.

Chicago Stingers

Address: 545 Consumers Avenue, Palatine, IL 60067. Telephone:
(847) 670-KICK. Outlook: Chicago lost its MLS team when no local investors could be found, so its lone outdoor team this summer will again be the Stingers, run by Michael Richardson. The Stingers, who finished second in its conference behind Minnesota, welcome back key players Greg Muhr on defense and David Deck up front.

El Paso Patriots

Address: 6941 Industrial, El Paso TX 79915. Telephone: (915) 771-6620. Outlook: The 1995 U.S. Open Cup runners-up have excellent support, averaging 4,400 a game last summer. El Paso's many Mexican-American fans are awaiting the arrival of Tita, a top scorer in the Mexican First Division with Leon. GM Mitch Doblado says Tita will be ready for the April 20 home opener.

Milwaukee Rampage

Address: 7101 West Good Hope Road, Milwaukee, WI 53223. Telephone:
(414) 358-2655. Outlook: Bob Gansler, the former U.S. national team head coach, returns to his hometown after a year working in Idaho. The Rampage, who reached the Sizzlin' Nine finals in 1995, hopes to draw big crowds at the new Uihlein Soccer Park, one of the country's finest outdoor centers.

Minnesota Thunder

Address: 4801 West 81st Street, Suite 101, Minneapolis, MN 55437. Telephone: (612) 893-1442. Outlook: On paper, the team to beat, since it lost the fewest stars to MLS. The Lagos brothers, Manny and Gerard, and Tony Sanneh return up front. The two-time Sizzlin' Nine runner-up had an impressive preseason run: wins over the J-League's Gamba Osaka and MLS's Dallas Burn.

New Mexico Chiles

Address: 3100 Juan Tabo NE, Suite C, Albuquerque, NM 87111. Telephone:
(505) 294-8847. Outlook: The Chiles, who trace their roots back to the old Western Soccer League, enjoy good support in Albuquerque. The '95 South Central Division runners-up return star goalie Nate Buseck, the division's top defensive player, and striker Mike Strati, who trained with the U.S. under-23 team.

New Orleans Riverboat Gamblers

Address: 5690 Eastover Drive, New Orleans, LA 70218. Telephone:
(504) 244-7267. Outlook: The Riverboat Gamblers got a confidence boost when they held the U.S. under-23 team to a 1-1 tie before 11,816 fans. They return defender Ezra Henrickson, who played for St. Vincent & the Grenadines in the Gold Cup, and added goalie Daryl Shore and striker Holger Schneidt from Birmingham.

Reno Rattlers

Address: 1299 Uri Court, Incline Village, NV 89451. Telephone:
(702) 832-2283. Outlook: The Rattlers, operated by Mike Simon, went 13-7 in the Pro League and reached the Western Division's conference finals last summer. They've named veteran USISL coach Greg Petersen, who coached CCV Hydra in 1994 and Monterey Bay in '95, as their new coach, replacing Rob Moreland.

Ohio Xoggz

Address: 1812 Barrington Road, Columbus, OH 43221-4334. Telephone:
(614) 486-6539. Outlook: With the arrival of MLS's Columbus Crew, the Xoggz, who will play at Dublin's Coffman High School Stadium, has changed its name to take on a more regional focus, but it returns just about everyone from last year's team. Coach Nick Roberts has stars Nick Igel and Steve Pugh back.

Sacramento Scorpions

Address: 1601 Fulton Avenue, Suite 11, Sacramento, CA 95825. Telephone: (916) 485-7288. Outlook: The only first-year club in the Western Conference, the Scorpions have named Santa Rosa JC coach James Moxey, 26, as their head coach. The Scorpions, who will play in nearby Roseville, expect to have Stephen Keshi, a member of Nigeria's 1994 World Cup team, in the lineup.

Eastern Conference

Cape Cod Crusaders

Address: 349 Main Street, Hyannis, MA 02601. Telephone: (508) 790-4782. Outlook: Englishman Roger Thompson takes over the Crusaders, who will have a working relationship with the MLS's New England Revolution. He coached the Revolution's head man Frank Stapleton during his days as a youth coach at Arsenal. Players back include Ron Murphy, Gary Crompton and Jeff Doyle.

Carolina Dynamo

Address: 3517 W. Wendover Avenue, Greensboro, NC 27407. Telephone:
(910) 852-9969. Outlook: The 1993 and '94 USISL champion moves down the road from Greensboro to High Point. Englishman Alan Dicks takes over as coach for Michael Parker, Veterans Eddie Radwanski and Michael Gailey will be joined by Yari Allnutt (New England's sixth pick in the MLS draft).

Connecticut Wolves

Address: Veterans Memorial Stadium, Willowbrook Park, South Main Street, New Britain, CT 06050. Telephone: (203) 223-0710. Outlook: The Wolves are one of the original teams when the USISL expanded into the Northeast in 1993. Coach Steve Stokoe, the former Central Connecticut star, hopes for big improvements from last year's 8-12 team (ninth out of 13 teams in the Northeast Division).

Delaware Wizards

Address: Peddlers Village, Suite 3A, Christiana, DE 19702. Telephone:
(302) 738-1305. Outlook: The Wizards were one of the USISL's first success stories. They led the USISL in attendance in 1993 with 3,300 a game. Coach Joe Brown, one of the longest-serving coaches in the USISL, hopes to return most of the team that went 16-4 during the regular season in '95.

Hampton Roads Mariners

Address: 1016 Independence, Boulevard, Virginia Beach, VA 23455. Telephone: (804) 464-6257. Outlook: The Mariners are out for revenge in 1996 after missing out on the playoffs last summer, despite a 13-7 record. Coach Shawn McDonald has lost star Darren Eales to the A-League, but he's recruited several players from nearby Old Dominion and William & Mary.

Long Island Rough Riders

Address: 1117 Old Country Road, Plain View, NY 11803. Telephone:
(516) 433-1199. Outlook: Can the Rough Riders repeat as USISL champs without star Tony Meola and Giovanni Savarese, both gone to the greener pastures of the MLS's MetroStars? Coach Alfonso Mondelo does have a core of players back, and supersub Cordt Weinstein has been hot in preseason.

NY/NJ Stallions

Address: 3 Mount Prospect Avenue, Clifton, NJ 07013. Telephone:
(201) 773-2299. Outlook: The Stallions replace the New York Fever (now in the A-League) as the second New York area entrant in the Select League. They bring years of experience from New York's semipro leagues with them. Former New York Cosmos midfielder Terry Garbett will coach the Toms River-based Stallions.

Raleigh Flyers

Address: 130 Wind Chime Court, Raleigh, NC 27615. Telephone: (919) 848-3063. Outlook: Following the decision of coach Tim Hankinson to take a job with the MLS front office, former N.C. State standout Arnold Siegmund was picked to take over the Flyers. The loss of stars Erik Imler (D.C. United), Jason Kreis (Dallas Burn) and Alan Prampin (Kansas City Wiz) hurts.

Richmond Kickers

Address: 2320 West Main Street, Richmond, VA 23220. Telephone:
(804) 644-5425. Outlook: The 1995 U.S. Open Cup and Premier League champions were decimated by MLS losses -- D.C. United alone began the season with four ex-Kickers -- so coach Dennis Violett has his work cut out. Among the many new faces are George Mason's John Ferrandino and William & Mary's Billy Owens.

South Carolina Shamrocks

Address: 1097 Union Street, Spartanburg, SC 29304. Telephone:
(803) 585-5009. Outlook: The first-year Shamrocks, who will play at Furman's new Stone Stadium, could be one of the Select League's top teams. They've signed former U.S. U-23s Chad Carithers, Billy Clifford and Jamie Posnanski, as well as goalie Mike Compisi, a standout with the Premier League's Charleston Battery.

Tampa Bay Cyclones

Address: 11007 North 56th Street, Suite 202, Tampa, FL 33687-6565. Telephone: (813) 985-5050. Outlook: The Cyclones were a surprise final four team in last year's Pro League after being a late entrant into the USISL, the Cyclones will again have an international flavor. They've imported a half a dozen young Colombian players to make up for the loss of three starters to MLS.

Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications