1967: When LA Wolves Conquered the USA is a new documentary available to all audiences on YouTube. The documentary chronicles when Premier League outfit Wolverhampton Wanderers sent a team to the United States to participate in a summer tournament. The start of soccer in the United States can trace its popularity roots back to 1967, when the LA Wolves won that small tournament involving 12 teams from across the world. The competition helped launch professional soccer in the United States before Pele and before Major League Soccer.
The 30-minute documentary is not available. It features interviews with players on that Wolves team and fans from that period who get to relive the success of the Old Gold. While in the United States, the English club played against teams representing American and Canadian cities using worldwide clubs. Wolves fittingly represented Los Angeles, hence the LA Wolves. The LA Wolves went up against a Sunderland side that was the Vancouver Royal Canadians in this event. In the Final, Wolves beat Aberdeen, which was the Washington Whips. Each of those cities had a newfound team that they supported. Each now, fittingly, has an MLS team.
The following preview for the documentary demonstrates the importance of the LA Wolves and its success in driving professional soccer in the United States.
LA Wolves documentary on YouTube shows beginnings of American soccer
The documentary includes Alan Rothenberg, one of the major brains behind launching MLS in the 1990s. He was the President of US Soccer from 1990 to 1998, when MLS first started. He says the LA Wolves’ success in the summer of 1967 had a major impact. It was paramount in the subsequent LA Wolves in the United Soccer Association and the development of soccer.
“The 1966 World Cup was carried by satellite into the United States, and so a bunch of sportsmen decided to start a league, ” Rothenberg said. “People will look back and say what was the history of soccer in this country, and people will have to go back to 1967 and say this is where it all began.”
Kevin Baxter is a sportswriter for the LA Times who talks at length in the documentary. He said the success of the LA Wolves demonstrated the potential for professional soccer in the United States.
“There isn’t that tradition here that maybe there is in England or Europe where teams are a hundred years old,” Baxter said in the documentary. “Everything has to be new here. There is that legacy. They proved that it could work.”
Wolves has strong record of documentaries
As if the plot of this LA Wolves documentary is not enticing enough, the production staff is well-versed in the world of soccer documentaries. For example, Wolves released a documentary on former striker Raul Jimenez. This time, the Wolves production team collaborated with Footballco and the award-winning publisher MUNDIAL. The short film also goes into what life was like for the players who came over to the United States to play in the summer tournament. Therefore, it has the essence of entertainment on top of simply sports.
“Some of these players were kids who had never left their homes before,” MUNDIAL editorial director Owen Blackhurst said. “They were growing up in fairly industrial places, so to be transported from 1960s Wolverhampton to 60s LA must have been mind-blowing. They described it as like being on the moon.”
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