Back in December I wrote about how I’d acquired a near-complete box of 1979 Topps Soccer Stickers, a set that featured logos from the North American Soccer League. Since that post I’ve put together a set, learned a few more things about the set and compiled a checklist.
Just to recap a bit, here’s the box I got:
…and here is one of the packs, which I since discovered sold for 15 cents at the time.
The front of the stickers featured team logos and the like.
The backs featured either a piece from one of two puzzles…
…Or a brief “How-to” for budding soccer players.
Before I get into the details and scans, I’ll just say that I have absolutely no remorse about dropping $10 on this partial box. While this is not among the finest products Topps produced in the 1970’s, it’s still a fun little oddball set.
I completed a set with a bunch of packs left over – although I may open more packs to try to replace the gum-stained stickers.
With only 4 stickers in each pack, there is something of a premium on unstained stickers. When you open a pack, the sticker that’s on top has wax stains on the front. Pull the stickers out, and the sticker on the bottom has gum stains on the back… sometimes quite nasty gum stains, I suppose sitting next to a stick of gum for 37 years will do that. That leaves just two stain-free stickers in each pack.
Here are the fronts of all the stickers, in their new 9-pocket homes…
NASL logo, NASL ball, Atlanta Chiefs, California Surf, Chicago Sting, Dallas Tornado, Detroit Express, San Diego Sockers, Ft. Lauderdale Strikers.
Houston Hurricane, Los Angeles Aztecs, Memphis Rogues, Minnesota Kicks, New England Tea Men, Cosmos, Philadelphia Fury, Portland Timbers, Rochester Lancers.
Toronto Blizzard, Edmonton Drillers, Seattle Sounders, Tampa Bay Rowdies, San Jose Earthquakes, Tulsa Roughnecks, Vancouver Whitecaps, Washington Diplomats, NASL slogan.
Unnumbered team name stickers.
The stickers are numbered in alphabetical order by city… with three exceptions. The San Diego Sockers fall between the Detroit Express and the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers, and the Toronto Blizzard and Edmonton Drillers fall between the Rochester Lancers and the Seattle Sounders. All three were new logos for 1979 (Toronto was renamed after an ownership change, the other two moved from other cities). The funny thing is that if you factor in the previous locations – Connecticut and Las Vegas – they still wouldn’t be in alphabetical order.
One thing I found interesting about these stickers is how many of the team names (and some logos) live on in 2016. MLS has the Portland Timbers, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps. A new version of the NASL has the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers, New York Cosmos and Tampa Bay Rowdies, plus there is talk of reviving the Chicago Sting. Other names continuing on in different levels of soccer include the Edmonton Drillers, Houston Hurricanes, Philadelphia Fury, San Diego Sockers and Tulsa Roughnecks. The Rochester Lancers had been an indoor team until last year.
Getting back to the sticker set, I also took photos of the two assembled puzzles…
Twelve-sticker, yellow-bordered puzzle featuring Tampa Bay’s Rodney Marsh and Cosmos’ Dennis Tueart.
Nine-sticker, green-bordered puzzle featuring Cosmos’ Werner Roth:
|1||NASL logo||Green border puzzle piece|
|2||Star Ball symbol||Green border puzzle piece|
|3||Atlanta Chiefs||Green border puzzle piece|
|4||California Surf||Yellow border puzzle piece|
|5||Chicago Sting||Yellow border puzzle piece|
|6||Dallas Tornado||Yellow border puzzle piece|
|7||Detroit Express||Yellow border puzzle piece|
|8||San Diego Sockers||Image of complete yellow border puzzle|
|9||Ft. Lauderdale Strikers||How To: Tackle|
|10||Houston Hurricane||Green border puzzle piece|
|11||Los Angeles Aztecs||Green border puzzle piece|
|12||Memphis Rogues||Green border puzzle piece|
|13||Minnesota Kicks||Yellow border puzzle piece|
|14||New England Tea Men||Yellow border puzzle piece|
|15||Cosmos||Yellow border puzzle piece|
|16||Philadelphia Fury||Yellow border puzzle piece|
|17||Portland Timbers||Image of complete green border puzzle|
|18||Rochester Lancers||How To: Dribble|
|19||Toronto Blizzard||Green border puzzle piece|
|20||Edmonton Drillers||Green border puzzle piece|
|21||Seattle Sounders||Green border puzzle piece|
|22||Tampa Bay Rowdies||Yellow border puzzle piece|
|23||San Jose Earthquakes||Yellow border puzzle piece|
|24||Tulsa Roughnecks||Yellow border puzzle piece|
|25||Vancouver Whitecaps||Yellow border puzzle piece|
|26||Washington Diplomats||Image of complete green border puzzle|
|27||Soccer is a Kick in the Grass||How To: Head the ball|
|—||Hurricane / Strikers / Kicks / Chiefs||How To: Throw in|
|—||Aztecs / Sounders / Whitecaps / Lancers||How To: Inside of the foot pass|
|—||Diplomats / Cosmos / Earthquakes / Surf||How To: Goalkeeper|
|—||Tornado / Rogues / Blizzard / Drillers||How To: Outside of the foot pass|
|—||Sockers / Express / Sting / Rowdies||How To: Chest trap|
|—||Timbers / Roughnecks / Fury / Tea Men||How To: Inside of the foot trap|