With Atlanta getting a new professional soccer team next season, today we go back to Atlanta’s past experience with professional soccer. You might be surprised to know that the first professional sports championship won by an Atlanta team was the first edition of the Atlanta Chiefs.
The first edition played from 1967-1972. They won the title in 1968 when they beat the San Diego Toros. Although they had success on the field, they lacked the fan support to last.
The Chiefs were resurrected by Ted Turner in 1979 but was not the success on the field as the earlier teams although they did win the Southern Division title in their final season in 1981.
Some of the best players for the Chiefs were: Jeff Bourne (18 goals in 1979), David Byrne (23 goals in the 1979-80 indoor season) and Brian Kidd (22 goals in 1981).
Oddly enough, fans were more interested in the Chiefs’ indoor teams than they were the outdoor version. Atlanta was one of 10 teams that chose to participate in the North American Soccer League’s indoor season. The indoor team had the best record in the league and their attendance of 5,069 for six home games was better than the league average.
Financial losses and lack of support doomed the Chiefs as they folded shortly after the 1981 season.