THE DALLAS TORNADO WORLD TOUR 1967 – 68
A CHAPTER FROM THE NASL EXPERIENCE, BY BOBBY MOFFAT
A DALLAS TORNADO PLAYER 1969-1977
Bobby Moffat, a professional football player born and raised in Portsmouth, England, came to America in the early days of the North American Soccer League to play for the Dallas Tornado. He played for Lamar Hunt’s club from 1970 -1977, making 136 competitive appearances.
In his soon to be completed book, The NASL Experience, he tells the story of the Tornado that played from 1967 to 1981, winning the NASL championship in 1971. In 1967 there had been two startup professional soccer leagues competing coast-to-coast in the United States, the United Soccer Association (USA) and the National Professional Soccer League (NPSL).
The Tornado was launched in the United Soccer Association (USA), a league that was quite unconventional. The league’s teams were assigned professional clubs from all over the world, that came to America in the summer of 1967, their offseason, and represented those cities in the new league. Dallas was one of those cities, and Dundee United, a Scottish professional club from the City of Dundee, was the first Dallas Tornado club. The league lasted one year. Of the 12 USA teams, the Tornado lasted the longest in the original NASL, 15 seasons.
The following chapter from Moffat’s book is entitled The Dallas Tornado World Tour 1967-68, and tells the story of how that first NASL roster was constructed and the “mastermind” who was hired as head coach. It was a journey that made the unusual structure of the old USA pale by comparison.
Bob Kap was that first head coach. He was a man with an extensive coaching resume and also what seemed to be three lifetimes of unrecorded experiences. There were no formal tryouts. Players were recruited by adverts in publications all over Northern Europe, and were selected on the recommendations of others who had seen them play. The team prepared for the season with a World Tour that began in August of 1967 and ended in March of the following year, just in time for the 1968 season.
The journey took the Tornado to Spain, Morocco, Turkey, Cyprus, Iran, Pakistan, India, Ceylon, Burma, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti and eventually to Costa Rica and Honduras. Over 49 games, Dallas had collected 10 wins, 10 ties and 29 losses.
They say it was Kap who was the instigator of that tour, and the man who sold the idea to Lamar Hunt. It may have been one of professional soccer’s all-time great sales pitches. With apologies to the Grateful Dead..…”What A Long Strange Trip It’s Been”.