American soccer writing, history & data.
After five years in existence, the former Southwest Indoor/Outdoor/Independent and Sunbelt Independent Soccer League shed its SISL acronym and renamed itself the United States Interregional Soccer League prior to its 1991-92 indoor season. The league was eyeing expansion for its coming outdoor season and positioning itself as the outdoor development feeder league for the USSF's planned three-tier professional division.
Most teams returned from the 1991 outdoor season but there were a number of changes in the lineup. This included some teams dropping the indoor game to focus solely on the more traditional outdoor style. The New Mexico Chiles, Richardson Rockets and El Paso Patriots decided not to take part in the indoor season.
The Amarillo Challengers returned after not playing since the 1989-90 indoor season. The Lubbock Lazers were renamed the Lubbock Tornado and the Fort Worth Kickers became the Dallas Kickers following a move to the Inwood Soccer Center in Addison. The Permian Basin franchise, which had sat out the 1991 outdoor season returned but was owned by the league after its former owner, John Dyer, dropped out. The team was renamed the Permian Basin Mirage and much of the team's costs for the indoor season were footed by the El Paso Patriots.
During the summer, the Atlanta Express franchise was sold to the Fayetteville Lightning Soccer Club. The team was renamed the Atlanta Lightning and operated out of the Fayetteville Soccer Centre during the indoor season. The other Atlanta franchise also changes hands as the Concorde Soccer Club sold the Quicksilver to a small group of investors led by David Blalock. The team was renamed the Atlanta Magic and played in the Four Seasons Soccer Academy that recently opened in Roswell.
The Memphis Rogues dropped out after the 1991 outdoor season but a team a players led by coaches David Mabry and Tony Corbognani decided to enter their own team for the 1991-92 indoor season. Named the Memphis Survivors, the USISL waived some of its usual financial requirements such as a $7500 line of credit and $275 monthly league dues to keep a team in the Memphis market. Part of the deal was that the team would have to meet those normal requirements if they wanted to compete starting with the 1992 outdoor season.
Finally, the Mid-Cities Flyers was a new team made up of former college players which played their games at the Arena Athletics Indoor Soccer Complex in Euless, Texas. Most of its players were on loan from the Richardson Rockets with its owner, Rick Leinen, covering all the team's expenses.
The league carried over the same structure from the previous outdoor season breaking the teams into the Southeast, Southwest and Tex-Oma Divisions. But, they did implement a new playoff format. Following the regular season, four teams would take part in a single round robin group stage, dubbed the Sizzlin' Four, with the top two teams meeting for a one game championship.
The Oklahoma City Warriors hosted the tournament at Chico's Indoor Soccer Arena and received a bye into the Sizzlin' Four. The other three teams would be decided via divisional playoffs. In the Southeast Division, the first playoff match saw third place Atlanta Lightning beat the second place Memphis Survivors. The Lightning then got a chance to play first place Atlanta Express but the latter team won to take the Southeast Division slot in the Sizzlin' Four.
The Southwest Division held a best-of-five-game series between the first place Tucson Amigos and the second place Colorado Comets. The series went four games with the Amigos booking their place in the Sizzlin' Four. Finally, the Tex-Oma Division held a best-of-three game series which saw first place Dallas Kickers beat third place Mid-Cities Flyers (Oklahoma City came in second in the Tex-Oma Division) two games to none.
The Sizzlin' Four tournament was held at the end of February 1992. Atlanta Magic won all three of its games and Oklahoma City won two of three to set up the final. On March 1, Oklahoma City beat the Atlanta Magic 7-2 to win the 1991-92 USISL indoor title.
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