The National Soccer League (NSL) is thrilled to make a monumental announcement that will undoubtedly stir the hearts of soccer enthusiasts across the country. After an absence of more than four decades, the California Surf is set to return to the league, bringing back a golden era of American soccer and rekindling cherished memories of their previous tenure in the North American Soccer League (NASL). During its glory days in the North American Soccer League (NASL), the California Surf was graced by a roster of extraordinary talent, including some of America’s Hall of Fame players. Ray Evans, a defensive maestro, left an indelible mark on the team during its debut season in 1978.
With unmatched leadership on the pitch, his impeccable tackles and tactical brilliance fortified the team’s backline, earning him a well-deserved spot in the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame. Bob Hermann, beyond his on-field prowess, was celebrated as a visionary soccer executive. As the founder of the esteemed Hermann Trophy, he played a pivotal role in promoting collegiate soccer and nurturing young talent, securing his rightful place in soccer history. Carlos Alberto Torres, revered as a true legend in the soccer world, was a defensive powerhouse during his tenure with the Surf. His commanding presence and exceptional leadership skills bolstered the team’s backline, earning him a lasting legacy in the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame. Al Trost, known for his versatility and unwavering commitment, orchestrated the team’s play with finesse from midfield, leaving an unforgettable impact on every game and securing a spot in the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame. Tony Chursky, with finesse and flair, mesmerized fans during his time with the Surf. His attacking prowess and goal-scoring ability left opponents in awe, leading to his well-deserved place in the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame. Alan Mayer, a legendary goalkeeper, stood tall as the last line of defense for the California Surf. Known for his acrobatic saves and impeccable shot-stopping abilities, he was a guardian of the team’s goalposts and immortalized in the Indoor Soccer Hall of Fame for his remarkable contributions to the indoor game.
History of the California Surf Hailing from the vibrant city of Anaheim, California, the California Surf graced the NASL from 1978 to 1981 and swiftly cemented their place as one of the league’s most iconic franchises. Led by General Manager Case Frankiewiez, the team captured the imagination of soccer fans, earning a devoted following in the region. The journey began when, in late September 1977, it was announced that the Surf would leave Anaheim, California, with possible relocations to other cities like Columbus, Ohio. However, the fans’ fervent support and the team’s legacy compelled the NASL to approve the Surf’s move, pending the acquisition of a lease with the esteemed Anaheim Stadium. Shortly after, the name “Surf” was unveiled, chosen from a selection of 350 public suggestions, embodying the spirit of California’s sun-kissed shores and love for the sport.
The team’s debut in the 1978 NASL season was nothing short of remarkable, as they triumphantly opened the campaign with a 1-0 victory against the Portland Timbers on April 1, 1978, at their home ground, the Anaheim Convention Center. Throughout their tenure, the California Surf remained formidable contenders, securing second place in the Western Division of the American Conference, and thrilling fans with their exhilarating performances. The Surf had the support of The Beach Boys (see photo below)
The Return of a Soccer Legend The NSL’s decision to welcome back the California Surf into its ranks is rooted in the league’s commitment to preserving soccer history and honoring legendary franchises. The Surf’s triumphant return will undoubtedly elevate the level of competition and reignite the passion of soccer enthusiasts who once cheered fervently for this esteemed team. “We are incredibly excited to welcome the California Surf back into the National Soccer League,” exclaimed NSL founder Scott Michaels. “Their rich history and remarkable fanbase have left an indelible mark on American soccer. We believe their return will add another captivating chapter to the league’s legacy and inspire a new generation of soccer players and fans.”