1979 Topps Soccer Stickers: Epilogue

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:
1979 Topps NASL Soccer Stickers wax box

…and here is one of the packs, which I since discovered sold for 15 cents at the time.
1979 Topps NASL Soccer Stickers wax pack

The front of the stickers featured team logos and the like.
1979 Topps NASL Soccer Stickers Atlanta Chiefs

The backs featured either a piece from one of two puzzles…
1979 Topps NASL Soccer Stickers Houston Hurricane back

…Or a brief “How-to” for budding soccer players.
1979 Topps NASL Soccer Stickers Diplomats Cosmos Earthquakes Surf back

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…

Page one:
1979 Topps Soccer Stickers 1 - 9
NASL logo, NASL ball, Atlanta Chiefs, California Surf, Chicago Sting, Dallas Tornado, Detroit Express, San Diego Sockers, Ft. Lauderdale Strikers.

Page two:
1979 Topps Soccer Stickers 10 - 18
Houston Hurricane, Los Angeles Aztecs, Memphis Rogues, Minnesota Kicks, New England Tea Men, Cosmos, Philadelphia Fury, Portland Timbers, Rochester Lancers.

Page three:
1979 Topps Soccer Stickers 19 - 27
Toronto Blizzard, Edmonton Drillers, Seattle Sounders, Tampa Bay Rowdies, San Jose Earthquakes, Tulsa Roughnecks, Vancouver Whitecaps, Washington Diplomats, NASL slogan.

Page four:
1979 Topps Soccer Stickers unnumbered
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.
1979 Topps Soccer Stickers Rodney Marsh Dennis Tueart puzzle

Nine-sticker, green-bordered puzzle featuring Cosmos’ Werner Roth:
1979 Topps Soccer Stickers Werner Roth puzzle

Checklist

# FRONT BACK
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
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8 thoughts on “1979 Topps Soccer Stickers: Epilogue

  1. Very nice indeed. So, there is talk about reviving the Chicago Sting? I wonder how that will work with the Chicago Fire being a pretty established soccer brand.

    • I found a recent article about the possible revival , anyway. It could just be someone’s wishful thinking. The current NASL is a level down from MLS, so I wouldn’t think a revived Sting would compete directly with the Fire… And it wouldn’t be unprecedented… The Cosmos ate in the same market as NYC FC and the Red Bulls.

  2. What a great purchase. Nice seeing them all together in the pages. I would love to trade for a Teamen sticker if you have extras.

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