1978 NASL Skelly Indoor Invitational
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1978 NASL Skelly Indoor Invitational
North American Soccer League
-1978 Skelly Invitational-
Skelly Indoor Invitational
Tournament details
DatesMarch 4, 1978 -
March 5, 1978
Final positions
ChampionsTulsa Roughnecks
Runners-upMinnesota Kicks
Tournament statistics
Matches played4
Goals scored57 (14.25 per match)
Attendance3,500 (875 per match)
Top scorer(s)Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Nino Zec (5 goals)
United States Randy Garber
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Milan Dovedan
Best player(s)Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Nino Zec
Hungary Tibor Molnár

The 1978 NASL Skelly Invitational was a four-team indoor soccer tournament held in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the Tulsa Assembly Center on the first weekend of March 1979.[1]


Four teams, all from the North American Soccer League, participated in the two-day event; the Houston Hurricane, the Minnesota Kicks, the Washington Diplomats, and the host Tulsa Roughnecks.

Matches were 60 minutes long and divided into three 20-minute periods, with an intermission between each period. Timed overtime periods, featuring a golden goal winner, would be used to decide any matches tied after 60 minutes. Each session consisted of two games (i.e. a doubleheader). The opening round of matches (Saturday evening's Session 1) would be semi-final games, with the Session 2 matches on Sunday afternoon severing as the third place match and Championship Final respectively. The first match of Session 1 was Minnesota's first time playing indoors.[2] The second match of Session 1, played on Saturday, March 4, 1978 between Tulsa and Houston, marked the first time the expansion Hurricane faced NASL competition,[1] and was only the Roughnecks third-ever game.[3][4][5]

Approximately 3,500 people attended the two sessions. Tulsa won both of its matches and was crowned champions of the Skelly Invitational. Roughnecks' forward Nino Zec edged out both teammate Milan Dovedan and Washington's Randy Garber by one assist to lead the invitational in scoring with 5 goals and 2 assists. The tournament's co-MVPs were Zec and Tibor Molnár,[6] also of Tulsa.[7] The Kicks were runners-up in the invitational,[8] with the Dips defeating the Hurricane for 3rd place in the consolation match. The all-tournament squad included four Roughnecks: Zec, Molnar, Dovedan, and goalkeeper, Gary Allison.[7]

Tournament results


  Opening round     Championship Final
  Tulsa Roughnecks 12  
  Houston Hurricane 3    
      Tulsa Roughnecks 9
      Minnesota Kicks 5
  Minnesota Kicks 8(OT)    
  Washington Diplomats 7   Third place
Washington Diplomats 8
  Houston Hurricane 5


Session 1: Saturday, March 4, 1978

Minnesota Kicks 8-7 (OT) Washington Diplomats Attendance: 1,500 (est)

Session 2: Sunday, March 5, 1978

2:30 PM CST Washington Diplomats 8-5 Houston Hurricane Attendance: 2,000 (est)

Match reports

Session 1

Session 2

Final standings

G = Games, W = Wins, L = Losses, GF = Goals For, GA = Goals Against, GD = Goal Differential

1978 Skelly Indoor Invitational
Team G W L GF GA GD Position
Tulsa Roughnecks 2 2 0 21 8 +13 1st place (Champions)
Minnesota Kicks 2 1 1 13 16 -3 2nd place (Runners-up)
Washington Diplomats 2 1 1 15 13 +2 3rd place
Houston Hurricane 2 0 2 8 20 -12 4th place

Statistical leaders


Goals (worth 2 points), Assists (worth 1 point)[1][7]

Leading Scorers Goals Assists Points
Nino Zec (Tulsa) 5 2 12
Randy Garber (Washington) 5 1 11
Milan Dovedan (Tulsa) 5 1 11
Mike Baki? (Washington) 4 0 8
Ade Coker (Minnesota) 4 0 8
?ivorad Stamenkovi? (Tulsa) 3 2 8
Mark Moran (Minnesota) 2 1 5
Gerry Morielli (Houston) 2 1 5
Don O'Riordan (Tulsa) 2 1 5
Matt O'Sullivan (Houston) 2 1 5
Jim Steele (Washington) 2 1 5

*Three players tied with 2 goals 0 assists.


GA = Goals Against, GAA = Goals Against Average, SV = Saves, SF = Shots Faced

Leading Goalkeepers Minutes GA GAA SV SF
Darryl Wallace (Tulsa) 60 3 3.00 25 30
Gary Allison (Tulsa) 60 5 5.00 unk unk
Bill Irwin (Washington) 60 5 5.00 19 24
Kurt Kuykendall (Washington) 63 8 7.875 unk unk

*Minnesota and Houston used multiple goalkeepers in each match.

Tournament awards

Non-tournament matches

These were not the only indoor matches played that winter. The four Skelly Invitational participants played a combined 12 additional matches. Since a full season of indoor soccer was still two years away,[9] NASL teams were free to do their own scheduling. There were reports of the league awarding an "NASL Cup" for the best team among those that participated in at least 16 indoor games.[10] Of the 24 teams in the league, 11 had indoor matches planned. The Tampa Bay Rowdies, for example played eight games. By contrast, the Chicago Sting signed on to play only two games at Washington, both of which were ultimately canceled because of scheduling conflicts with a boat show at the D.C. Armory.[11] In the end, no team played more than nine games in 1978, and only a handful played more than three.

See also

North American Soccer League


  1. ^ a b c Lobaugh, Tom (March 5, 1978). "Roughnecks Ramble Into Tourney Finals". Tulsa World. Retrieved 2018.
  2. ^ "Kicks blow 6-0 lead, but tip Diplomats 8-7". Minneapolis Star Tribune. March 5, 1978. p. 10C. Retrieved 2018.
  3. ^ Tierney, Mike (February 11, 1978). "Rowdies expected to rough up Roughnecks". St. Petersburg Times. p. 1C. Retrieved 2018.
  4. ^ "Rowdies trounce Tulsa". St. Petersburg Times. February 15, 1978. p. 4C. Retrieved 2018.
  5. ^ Marcia Schallert, editor. (1979). Budweiser Indoor Soccer Invitational match program. Tampa, FL. Tampa Bay Rowdies. p 12
  6. ^ "Hellions Player Profile". Hartford Courant. November 17, 1980. p. D8. Retrieved 2018.
  7. ^ a b c Lobaugh, Tom (March 6, 1978). "Tulsa Kicks Up A Victory". Tulsa World. Retrieved 2018.
  8. ^ "Roughnecks top Kicks 9-4 in tournament". Minneapolis Star Tribune. March 6, 1978. p. 3C. Retrieved 2018.
  9. ^ "Indoor Returning, Officially This Time". Evening Independent. September 28, 1979. p. 4-C. Retrieved 2018.
  10. ^ "Soccer Diplomats Go Indoors". Los Angeles Times. January 13, 1978. p. III-10. Retrieved 2018.
  11. ^ "Dips Cancel Indoor Games". Washington Post. February 9, 1978. Retrieved 2018.

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