Soccer great Victor Mooreland liked what he discovered in Tulsa in 1978
Victor Moreland’s name is synonymous with Tulsa professional soccer. He has been a part of just about every pro soccer team in Tulsa over the past 40 years. Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Moreland during the webcast of a Tulsa Revolution game.
The native of Belfast, Northern Ireland, played for his country’s national team before coming to the United States in 1978 – on loan from his team in Glentoran. After one season he went back to the United Kingdomand played with Derby County. After two years there, his and Billy Caskey’s contracts were sold to the Tulsa Roughnecks.
Moreland said the talent level was very good in the North American Soccer League at that time and that contributed to the success of the league.
“These players were still in their prime and they weren’t coming over for the money,” Moreland said.
Moreland stayed with the Roughnecks through the demise of the NASL in 1984. For the next several years he focused his attention on playing indoor soccer and made stops in several cities.
Switching to the indoor game wasn’t easy, but he found success in the Major Indoor Soccer League. Moreland played with the Chicago Sting (1984-85), Dallas Sidekicks (1985-88) and the Wichita Wings (1988-1991).
“That was a tough transition,” Moreland said. “We had a good contingent of players in Dallas, and in 1989 we won the championship. But, you think back at Reunion Arena and we’re going to the championship series, with three games in Dallas with over 18,000 people there.”
In 1991, he came back to Tulsa to be the player coach for the Tulsa Ambush (1991-92) indoor team, and then did the same thing with the new version of the Tulsa Roughnecks indoor club (1995-96).
“I played around with all those teams until about 1997-98, and I guess I was just getting too old – I played into my forties,” Moreland said.
I asked Victor, why is it so many players from the Roughnecks ended up settling here in Tulsa? Players like Iraj Danaeifard…
“Alex Skotarek, Steve Earle, Charlie Mitchell, Alan Woodward, the list goes on and on,” he said. “I married a Tulsa girl in August 1983, in the morning at Sharp Chapel, and that night we put on a promotion with the Roughnecks and got married on the field. That was a great year. We also won the championship that year.”
The Roughnecks won the NASL championship by defeating the Toronto Blizzard 2-0 in Soccer Bowl ’83 in Vancouver.
Moreland said interest in soccer is still on the rise in Tulsa.
“I’ve seen it from 1978 until now, and it’s still growing,” he said. “We still have to promote it. We have the kids, but what we need is the parents to bring them out and support it. That’s important, to get the parents interested and involved.”
Moreland remains involved in Tulsa soccer as a coach in the youth leagues in the area. Who knows, maybe we’ll see him involved with the Tulsa Revolution, the Tulsa Athletics or the new USL team coming to Tulsa in 2015. I wouldn’t be surprised.
Why not? He has vast experience and certainly has been a mainstay in Tulsa soccer for decades.
[Jeff Brucculeri is freelance writer and broadcaster. Follow him on Twitter @JeffBTravels. Contact; firstname.lastname@example.org.]