The Way It Was


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PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE WALTER P. REUTHER LIBRARY ARCHIVES OF LABOR AND URBAN AFFAIRS, WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY (The Detroit News)

1982Die hard Detroit sports fans can easily rattle off the years when the city’s teams won World Series, Stanley Cups, and other championship titles. Mention 1982, though, and many would be stumped — unless they happen to be soccer buffs. That was the year when the Detroit Express, the city’s pro soccer team, nabbed the American Soccer League (ASL) title. Some team members can be seen here at the Pontiac Silverdome cherishing their victory over the Oklahoma City Slickers in a best-of-three championship series. With 19 wins, four ties, and five losses, the Express also had the best record in the league. And with 22 goals, forward Brian Tinnion led the ’82 ASL in scoring. The Detroit Express began in 1978, as part of the North American Soccer League, and folded in 1983. Short-lived as the team was, it lasted longer than two other Detroit pro soccer clubs: the Detroit Mustangs, in the early ’70s, and the Detroit Cougars, from the late ’60s. Today, the city has a semi-pro soccer team in the Detroit City Football Club, which plays its home games at Hamtramck’s Keyworth Stadium. But a fully professional soccer team could be in the city’s future. Still up in the air at press time is businessman Dan Gilbert’s proposal to build a soccer stadium on the uncompleted Wayne County Jail site on Gratiot Avenue, which would be home to a Major League soccer franchise. 

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