The LA Aztecs, a legendary American professional soccer team based in Los Angeles, California, captured the hearts of not only the people of Los Angeles but the entire nation during the seventies and eighties. With their allure of Hollywood and the beautiful California weather, the Aztecs attracted some of the biggest names in football during their eight years of existence.
In their inaugural season, the Aztecs won the North American Soccer League (NASL) title, and the team’s founder, Dr. Jack Gregory, set out to capitalize on this success. He convinced a musical star with a love for football, none other than Elton John, to invest in the team and become its co-owner. This short, two-year regime saw the signing of legendary George Best, who was only a couple of seasons removed from his spell with Manchester United. Best dominated the newly-founded American league, scoring 15 goals in 23 matches in 1976 and tying a league record for assists in 1977.
Other notable players such as Tommy Smith and Charlie Cook also represented the LA Aztecs after leaving Liverpool and Chelsea, respectively. By 1979, the team was in need of star power, so they enlisted the inventor of “Total Football,” Rinus Michels, as their manager. Michels brought with him the one and only Johan Cruyff, and together they took the league by storm. Cruyff scored 13 goals and won the NASL’s Most Valuable Player award in his debut season. Despite the brilliance of Cruyff and Michels, the LA Aztecs would shortly cease to exist. However, the memories of their glory days will live on forever in the hearts of those who witnessed it. The Aztecs not only represented a significant part of Los Angeles soccer history, but they also left a lasting impact on American soccer as a whole.
Fast forward to present day, and the National Soccer League (NSL) plans to relaunch the LA Aztecs, bringing back a piece of soccer history to Los Angeles. The NSL recognizes the importance of the Aztecs’ legacy and wants to pay homage to their contribution to American soccer. The new LA Aztecs will have a modern approach but will still respect the original team’s history and values.
The NSL has big plans for the LA Aztecs, including a possible new stadium, state-of-the-art training facilities, and a world-class academy. The team will also have an emphasis on community outreach, working closely with local organizations to promote soccer and give back to the community. The NSL sees the LA Aztecs as an opportunity to bring more diversity and cultural awareness to American soccer while honoring the city’s rich soccer history.