Boston Bolts

The Boston Bolts were a professional outdoor soccer team who competed for 3 seasons in the APSL between 1988 and 1990.

The team played their home games at Nickerson Field, a 10,412 capacity stadium owned by Boston University.

The team’s management for all 3 years included Alan Suvalle as General Manager and Cesidio “Sid” Mazzola as Head Coach and President. George Finn was the trainer. Each team had a $50,000 salary cap for the season. Teams were allowed an 18 man active roster.

The Bolts inaugural 1988 season in the American Soccer League (ASL) saw them placed in the Northern Division alongside the Albany Capitals, Maryland Bays, New Jersey Eagles, and the Washington Stars.

The 1988 roster was made up of largely ex-college students and part-time.
The franchise’s first game was a 3-1 away loss against the Maryland Bays on April 17th. Their home opener attracted more than 4,000 fans, giving them hope for the franchise. The team’s starting goalkeeper Jeff Duback hardly featured during the season as he had national team commitments. The Bolts were strong defensively but were weak in offence. Forward Andy Bing lived for a while in GM Alan Suvalle’s basement before moving into a flat in Malden mid-season with 3 Bolts teammates. Bing earned $110 per game, and offset this by working at Living to Learn, an educational company. The team trained on average 3 times a week.

After the 20 game regular season the Bolts placed 4th in their 5 team division missing the playoffs. They played 20 games, winning 9 and losing 11 for 27 points. They scored 31 goals and conceded 33. Three players tied as leading goal scorer with 5, Andy Bing, Mike Sweeney, and Kurt Manal. Bing registered the most assists with 4 and was the Bolts highest individual points scorer with 14. This placed him joint 6th in the ASL. The Bolts only placed one player on the ASL All-Star team, defender Ross Irwin.
The team’s average attendance was 2,612.

For the 1989 season the ASL Northern Division had an unchanged line-up. The rosters salary cap was upped to $75,000 per team.

Jeff Duback left having only played 7 games the previous season.

The Bolts made the playoffs finishing 2nd in the division behind the Washington Stars, although tied d on points. Their regular season record was 13 wins (5 wins on penalties) and 7 losses (3 losses on penalties) from 20 games for a total of 37 Points. The Bolts scored 27 goals and conceded 19. In the Playoff semi-finals the Bolts caused an upset by defeating the Tampa Bay Rowdies 2-0 and 2-1 to qualify for the ASL Grand Final against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. They lost the first game 1-0 but won the second at home 2-0 in front of 5,370 fans. As away goals didn’t count and it went to a mini-game where they lost 1-0.

3 players were tied as leading scorer with 4 goals, Dan Donigan, Paul Duffy, and Patrick Hughes. Donigan registered the most assists with 7 for a team high 15 points, leaving him joint 8th in the ASL. Despite a successful season they again only placed one player on the ASL All-Star team, Nigerian defender Dehinde Akinlotan.
In 1990 the ASL merged with the Western Soccer League (WSL) to form the American Professional Soccer League), the first national league since the North American Soccer League (NASL) folded in 1984.

The Bolts played in the Eastern ASL Conference, in the North Division with the same teams as in the last ASL season, with the addition of the Penn-Jersey Spirit. The teams played the other teams in their division and then met the top teams from the Western Division in the playoffs.

General Manager Alan Suvalle and Head Coach Sid Mazzola purchased the team before the 1990 season. They had to post a new $10,000 dollar expansion fee to the league as all new owners had to, and meet with league President Chuck Blazer. The teams offices were moved to Wellesley, and Mazzola’s wife Diane was appointed Ticket Manager. The Bolts had a TV deal with Sports Channel-New England.

Big signings for the Bolts were USA international defenders Brian Bliss and Janusz Michallik. Bliss however missed a lot of the season as he was playing for the U.S. in the World Cup finals in Italy. Ex-goal keeper Jeff Duback returned from the San Diego Nomads, as he was now out of contention for the USA national team.

In a friendly game during the season the Bolts lost 2-0 to the touring Dynamo Moscow. The match however could only attract 786 games.

After the 20 game season the Bolts finished 3rd in their 6 game division failing to qualify for the post-season. They won 9 games and lost 11 for 28 points. They scored and conceded 27 goals.

Their top player was Mike Sweeney who scored 8 goals and registered 3 assists for 19 points (10th in the APSL).

After the 1990 season the Boston Bolts folded. In total they played 60 regular season games, winning 31 and losing 29. They totalled 92 points scoring 85 goals and conceding 79.

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