The I.S.A. Collection

Friday, June 6, 2014

NIGERIA's Battle Cry: Make Sport, Not War

It would be difficult for anyone following world news today not to know the ravages of war and insurrection that plagues much of Africa. From the feloneous emails to the kidnapped school children, Nigeria has gained international noteriety for all the wrong reasons. But let the blame not fall on its footballers.
When the raveges of war struck Germany in the late 1930's, football became the least respected of the Nazi regime. The German's takeover and annexation of neighboring Austria was a disaster not only for the Austrians (who qualified for the 1938 World Cup), but the German National Team as well.
Several star players and clubs were also inducted under Germany's Federation. Although not the best goalkeeper in squad, Rapid Vienna's Rudolf Raftl was drafted to play between the posts for Germany in 1938 World Cup.  It proved to be a downfall for the "master race" and plummeted the sport even farther on the Third Reich's favor list. But German soccer survived to become the top league in the World and go on to win 3 FIFA Championships.
(photo - International Soccer Archives)
Austrian player on a 1938 German Cigarette card
However, not all dictators had negative results from the militarization of their football. Italy's Benito Mussolini heralded the nation's back to back FIFA Championships in 1934 and 1938.  However, the keepers of the game made certain separations that ensured that the sport survived, albiet with intermitten decades of corruption.
(photo - International Soccer Archives)
The 1938 FIFA Champions pose with Mussolini in full military dress
Nigeria, who has played more matches in The USA than any other African Nation, enjoyed its glory days in the mid-1990's with successive appearences at the 1994 World Cup, the 1995 US Cup and the 1996 Summer Olympics in America. They won their greatest title as Gold Medalist at the Atlanta Games.
(photo - Chuck Zsolnai - I.S.A.)
1996 Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Predictions of being crowned FIFA Champions and producing the world's greatest players have fallen short all too often. The corruption and governmental interfarence have been addressed by FIFA on more than one occasion.
Nigeria prepares to meet the US National Team in Jacksonville, Florida this week. Both squads will make the jump to Brazil for the FIFA competition afterwards.  What remains to be seen is the talent and drive that may overcome the political influences to achive football success.
(from the I.S.A. Collection)
Nigerian Star - Samson Siasia shirt from the 1995 US Cup match vs. the USA
Nigeria and the USA have a commonality which will forever live in football history.

Friday, January 3, 2014

American Record Setter - Dom Dwyer - Sporting Kansas City

When Major League Soccer (MLS) struck an agreement with the (USL) United Soccer League's Pro Division, it made for a unique situation in American Soccer. The newly signed affiliations with selected 3rd Division clubs, allowed MLS players to be loaned to their junior counterparts.
The experience gained by several young players paid dividends by the end of the first year. Sporting Kansas City would go on to win the 2013 MLS Cup with the help of one of those loaned players.
Dom Dwyer basks in the glory of MLS CUP victory
Twenty-two year old Englishman, Dom Dwyer, was loaned to USL Pro club Orlando City for the duration of the 2013 season. He set a new record for most regular season goals (15) breaking the old record of 13 by FC New York's Jhonny Arteaga.

Dom Dwyer 2013 MLS Cup jersey

Dwyer was recalled to Sporting Kansas City at the conclusion of the USL Pro regular season. He went on the score his first goal in the club's Concacaf Champions League competition. This was followed up by his first MLS goal. Dwyer returned to Orlando City for their playoff Championship match where he exploded with 4 goals in their title victory.

2013 MLS Cup on frozen ground
Upon returning to Sporting Kansas City, he scored the playoff winner to take the Sporting to the MLS Cup Final.

Dom Dwyer 2013 MLS Cup jersey
By playing the 2013 MLS CUP with Sporting KC, Dwyer became the first player in American Soccer History to star in the 1st and 3rd Division Championships in the same season. In celebrating the USL and MLS victories, he also became the first to win both.

2013 MLS CUP Champions - Sporting Kansas City
The INTERNATIONAL SOCCER ARCHIVES has acquired the Dom Dwyer's 2013 MLS CUP Final jersey for the ISA collection. 

MLS CUP Inscribed jersey crest

USL PRO 2013 Champions - Richmond Kickers - Joseph Ngwenya

Transferring from MLS club DC United in April of 2013, Zimbabwe International Joseph Ngwenya led the Richmond Kickers to the 2013 USL Pro (3rd Division) title.
Ngweyna battles against Orlando City

2013 Richmond Kickers - Joseph Ngwenya

Ngwenya's 10 goals in all competitions led the Kickers in scoring in 2013. Richmond lost to long time rivals DC United on penalty kicks in the U.S. Open Cup.  

2013 Richmond Kickers - Joseph Ngwenya
The Kickers are one of the most accomplished lower division clubs in the USA. Past winners of the the U.S. Open Cup (1995), Richmond won its 3rd USL title in 2013 and its 5th over all league Championship.

Golden Boot Winner - Chris Wondolowski

Affectionately called "Wondo", Chris Wondolowski is a record setter. His 72 goals in the last four MLS seasons is the best strike rate since the league began in 1996. In 2012, Chris tied the Major League Soccer record for most goals in a season with 27. He tied Roy Lassiter whose record setting jersey is also here at the ARCHIVES.
In 2013, Wondolowski led the USA to the CONCACAF GOLD CUP title as the tournament's top scorer with 5 tallies. He was immortalized when his name was misspelled (WONDOWLOWSKI) on the back of his jersey for the match against Belize where he recorded a hat trick. 

2012 San Jose Earthquakes
The INTERNATIONAL SOCCER ARCHIVES has added Wondolowski's jersey from his record 2012 MLS season. In addition to being the Golden Boot winner, he was also named the league's Most Valuable Player in 2012.

2012 San Jose Earthquakes

signed # 8 Chris Wondolowski
Wondolowski is the San Jose Earthquakes all-time leading goal scorer.