The Golden Bay
Earthquakes moved astep closer to giving a natural disaster a good name when
Forward Jan Goossen's goal gave them a 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rowdies on
Saturday night at Spartan Stadium in San Jos�. Off to the best start in their
10 years in the NASL, the Quakes approached a midweek game against Team America
with a record of 6-2, second-best behind Vancouver in the league's Western
Division and fourth-best in the 12-team league.
Though he was
held goalless by Tampa Bay, one of the chief reasons for Golden Bay's
early-season success has been the play, especially the scoring, of Striker
Steve Zungul, the so-called Lord of All Indoors for his exploits in the Major
Indoor Soccer League, who's playing outdoor soccer for the first time in nearly
With his goal in
a 3-1 win over the New York Cosmos on June 11 and an assist in a 2-1 loss at
Seattle on June 15, Zungul at week's end had eight goals and six assists for 22
points, good for fifth place among NASL scorers and only nine points behind the
Cosmos' league-leading Giorgio Chinaglia. And he had attained this status
despite having played only eight games to Chinaglia's 12.
Indeed, it was
after the Quakes had beaten the Cosmos that the 36-year-old Chinaglia, for five
seasons the NASL's scoring champ, all but uttered a benediction over the
28-year-old Zungul. "There's no question in my mind he will be the next
great striker in the league," said Chinaglia. "He did it in Europe, he
did it in indoor soccer and now he's doing it again."
years of playing only indoors, I felt I had something to prove," says
Zungul. "People say, 'He's a great indoor player, but can he play
outdoors?' To me that is like asking, 'Can he play real soccer?' I show
(pronounced ZSHUN-gul) should not have felt obliged to prove anything. After
starring for four-and-a-half seasons with the Yugoslav national team and for
six seasons with Hajduk Split (a team for which he scored 250 goals in 350
games) in his country's first division, Zungul left Yugoslavia in 1978 to
sidestep a law calling for 18 months' compulsory military service. He came to
New York, where Coach Don Popovic, a Yugoslav and former Hajduk Split player,
recruited him for the Arrows, a team in the then-new MISL. "I would rather
have played outdoors," says Zungul, "but FIFA would not let
powerful sanctioning body of world soccer, honored a request from the
Yugoslavian soccer federation that FIFA enforce a rule that a Yugoslavian
soccer player can't play for a team outside his country until he's 28. Zungul
was 24. FIFA, in effect, barred him from playing in the FIFA-affiliated NASL.
But the MISL, at the time not a FIFA member, embraced Zungul, and in his
four-and-a-half seasons with the Arrows he won four MISL scoring titles, led
New York to four consecutive league championships and established himself as
the MISL's alltime leading scorer with 419 goals and 222 assists.
goals. I score so many goals I lose count," says Zungul, as though goals
scored indoors are, for him, some sort of spurious soccer currency. "Inside
is good game. Faster, with more shots, more goals. Is good game. Is O.K. But
outdoors, outdoors is game I love to play."
In January of
this year, Zungul, in the final year of a $150,000-a-year contract and asking
more to re-sign than the cash-strapped Arrows could afford to pay him, was
traded to Golden Bay. Golden Bay is one of three soccer teams playing both
indoors, in the MISL, and outdoors, in the NASL. By now 28, Zungul was free of
all Yugoslavian and FIFA strictures in the U.S., and the way was clear for the
Lord of All Indoors to return to the outdoor game he loves.
To make matters
better, a month after Zungul was traded, Popovic got the ax in New York and was
hired almost immediately by Golden Bay owner Carl Berg, who says he was eager
to "get Pop and Steve back together again." Zungul concurred, telling
Berg that Pop was the best coach he could get.