American soccer writing, history & data.
After the summer outdoor season, the Southwest Indoor/Outdoor Soccer League renamed itself as the Southwest Independent Soccer League. The organization almost doubled in size prior to the SISL 1989-90 indoor season. While the San Antonio Heat did not return, the other seven teams that took part in the outdoor season did along with the Amarillo Challengers and Houston Express which did not take part in the outdoor season.
The SISL, or 'sizzle' for short, added seven new expansion franchises: Arkansas Diamonds from Little Rock; El Paso Sixshooters; Permian Basin Shootin' Stars from Odessa, Texas; Phoenix Hearts (named because the team would provide permanent financial support to the Arizona Heart Foundation); Richardson Rockets from Texas; Tucson Amigos; and Waco Kickers. In addition, the San Antonio Generals joined as a provisional member which played an exhibition schedule against other SISL teams.
The league continued a 24-game scheduled but organized into two conferences of two four-team divisions each. The Texas and Tex-Ark-Oma Divisions made up the Eastern Conference while the Central and Cactus Divisions made up the Western Conference.
Prior to the season the Albuquerque Gunners merged with the local KLUZ Channel 41 television station in an effort to help a team plagued with financial and promotional problems. The station planned on airing the Gunners' indoor and outdoor matches as well as bilingual, tape-delayed broadcasts of the newly-founded New Mexico Chiles during the inaugural 1990 season of the outdoor American Professional Soccer League.
On October 8, 1989, during the preseason, Dan Guard, general manager and coach of the El Paso Sixshooters announced the team had signed, Diane Tarr to a contract. Guard stated that Tarr was the first woman to have signed a "pro soccer contract" in the U.S. Things would not go well after that for the Sixshooters which would lose 12 straight to start the season. That included a 27-3 loss to the Austin Sockadillos on December 2. Dan Guard started as goalkeeper for that match and the 27 goals broke the record of 25 put up the prior season by Albuquerque. Out of those 12 games, the Sixshooters only had two home games. One drew 150 fans and the other only 75. On January 2, 1990, the club disbanded with an 0-12 record.
Around the same time, the Houston Express was suspended by the league. The San Antonio Generals took over Houston's games on their opponents' schedules.
The playoffs began with eight teams in the quarterfinals with all four division winners advancing. In the semifinals, Phoenix defeated Colorado Comets two games to one and the Addison Arrows beating Richardson Rockets two games to none. Addison won the indoor season title sweeping the first three games of the best-of-five game series.
In late February, during the playoffs, the National Professional Soccer League (formerly the American Indoor Soccer Association) entered into a joint player development project with SISL. Two months later, the SISL owners voted for the affiliation. The plan called for two possible formats for the affiliation: one similar to professional baseball where each NPSL team would have one or two farm clubs of its own; or one similar to professional basketball where the SISL would be a feeder league to the NPSL without specific team affiliations.
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