The Nine Super Bowl Tickets That Bought A Soccer Team

Al Miller Gets A Ride After His Atoms Win NASL Title

Once upon a time there was a soccer team in Philadelphia called the Philadelphia Atoms.

Actually, there were lots of soccer teams in Philly before the Atoms. The “early days” go back to before 1834, the year the American Football Association was formed.

Most of those teams were ethnic-based, such as the Germans and Ukranians, or company sponsored like Bethleham Steel. Over in New Jersey you had the Kearny Scots.

Some were tied to other sports organizations, like the baseball Phillies in the “Golden Era” of Philadelphia soccer in the 20s and 30s.

The Philadelphia Nationals included some talented players like Eddie McIlveney, Benny McLaughlin, Tommy Oliver and an outstanding young midfielder from Kennsinger named Walter Bahr.

Bahr was runnerup for league MVP in 1948. Two years later it would be Bahr who assisted on the goal that beat England 1-0 in the 1950 World Cup in Brazil for the U.S. National Team.

Over the next decade and a half, the push for a major soccer league in the U.S. was basically one failure after another. Finally, in 1968, the two top leagues merged to form the North American Soccer League, but by 1969 the league was down to five teams, none of which was located in Philadelphia.

Philly got it’s team for nine NFL Super Bowl tickets and $25,000. The way the story is told, Philly construction magnate Tom McCloskey, who had his heart set on owning an NFL team, traveled to Los Angeles with eight friends, for the Super Bowl, all without tickets.

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