Enormous thanks to San Diego Loyal SC SuperFan Glenn Maddock for this guest post.
Imagine it’s 1976…Jerry Ford is President, It’s the Bicentennial year. You’re listening to the Eagles, Queen and KC & The Sunshine Band on the radio. The Padres host the All Star Game, but finish 5th. Gas is .60 cents/gal.
San Diego and SoCal coaching legend, John Napier, is there! Top row, second to the right.
Finally another new pro soccer club hits SD. The NASL San Diego Jaws!
- The Jaws were literally named after the hit movie. Not unlike the movie-themed name Chicago Sting in the NASL
- The Jaws had started 2 years earlier as the Baltimore Comets (see photo below).
- Owner Ken Keegan, of the San Jose Earthquakes, wanted another club in California. So he bought the broke Comets, and moved them to SD.
- The Baltimore club was so sketchy they got evicted from Orioles Stadium for not paying rent.
- The Jaws would play on the grass field of SDSU’s Aztec Bowl Stadium. Which is still there, next to Viejas Arena.
- The Jaws also played major exhibition matches at old Balboa Stadium (vs Cosmos) and Southwestern College (vs Mexico).
- The Jaws drew 18,000 for the match vs Pele and his Cosmos. A 1-1 draw.
- One of the first great American goalkeepers, Alan Mayer, of the USMNT, survived & thrived for all 4 versions of this franchise.
- The Jaws had about 8 Americans on the roster.
- The Jaws introduced the famous blue & gold kit that would dominate SD soccer for decades. But they only wore it on the road!
- The Jaws were 9-15, and couldn’t score much. Their leading scorer had 5 goals.
- The Jaws averaged about 6,000, which was a decent NASL crowd in 1976.
- Owner Keegan was disappointed and thought he could do better in Las Vegas.
- He moved the club in 1977 to become the Las Vegas Quicksilvers. They don’t do much better playing on hot AstroTurf in the Vegas heat.
- Keegan decides to sell the club to San Diego’s Bob Bell.
- In 1978 Bell moves the club back to SD, and renames them……
- The Sockers! (Which will lead us to chapter 3)