Dips Fan Day

Dips Fan Day

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Emotions of a Shootout

Sunday, April 8, 1979, RFK Stuadium. The Cosmos took the match by winning the shootout.

Friday, December 2, 2016

1979 Holiday Card

Happy Holidays to all!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Irwin & Cruyff Match Used Jerseys

Kevin H. shared photos of a Bill Irwin 1978 gamer and a Johan Cruyff from 1980. Thanks, Kevin!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Booster Club Season Kickoff Reception, April 8, 1978

This team meet and greet was held in the Club Level Lounge at RFK Stadium and included a chance to visit the Dips locker room.

Clockwise from top left- Paul Cannell, Roy Willner, Gary Darrell, Ray & Stuart Graydon, Bobby Stokes, Randy Garber.

Kenneth Mokgojoa, left; a young fan in the locker room.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Friday, October 14, 2016

Monday, October 3, 2016

Doug Dugan Passes

Doug Dugan, who spent the 1980 season with the Diplomats, passed away on July 18, 2016.

He attended American University on a full soccer scholarship and was named the teams Most Valuable Player in 1979 and 1980, leading the Eagles to a 1979 East Coast Conference Championship.

Dugan explained how he came to spend the summer of 1980 with the Dips. “In January, 1980, Gordon Bradley invited me to preseason in Jacksonville, Florida for a six week trial. I was on the Dips 1980 pre-season roster and participated in the training camp. We started workouts at RFK a couple of weeks before we were to go down to Jacksonville. Before we came back to DC Gordon asked me to stay on as he and (assistant coach) Joe Mallet wanted to have a longer look at me. They signed me on as an "amateur," paying me for expenses."
Doug with roomie Eric Martin during spring training, 1980.
Doug had a knack for story telling and a fantastic sense of humor. He was featured in three pieces on this site that provided an insiders perspective of the Diplomats 1980 campaign:



The Dugan family will be establishing a Doug Dugan Memorial Soccer Scholarship Fund at his alma mater American University. Please stay posted for more information about donating to help worthy high school soccer players with their tuition so that they can follow in Doug’s footsteps, playing for American University’s Eagles.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Photos from July 16, 1976 program.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Joszef Horvath: Freedom Trumps Material Wealth

     As Cold War rhetoric seems to be making a return between the US & Russia, it brings back memories of a time when the most talented in the Eastern Bloc tried to escape the dismal side of the Iron Curtain for freedom in the West. Rudolf Nureyev, Martina Navratilova and Mikhail Baryshnikov stand out on a list that reached into the dozens.
     Among those who fled to the West was Joszef Horvath, a standout on the 1979 & 1980 Diplomats. While he forfeited financial success in mid-1970s Hungary, he was more than happy to exchange it for freedom and the opportunity of a new life for his family. (To view in a larger size, place mouse on image and right click. Select "Open in a New Window.")

Perhaps the most memorable evening Horvath enjoyed with the Dips was a June 17, 1980, match in Rochester, NY. He scored both goals as Washington defeated his former mates, 2-1, and then hosted the post game celebration.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Paul Cannell 1979 Match Used/Worn Jersey

Dave Boulineau shared photos of his Paul Cannell gamer from 1979. Thanks, Dave!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Don Droege vs Barry Kitchener, 1979

Tampa Bay came to RFK on August 1, 1979, and left with a 5-1 drubbing. The Rowdies Barry Kitchener did come out on the better end of this meeting with Don Droege, however.
Photos by Tony Quinn

Friday, August 19, 2016

Alan Spavin Passes

We learned with deep regret that Alan Spavin passed away in March of this year. Mr. Spavin served as player, Assistant Coach and Head Coach during his four years with the Diplomats, 1974 - 1977.

Dundalk FC Announcement   http://www.dundalkfc.com/alan-spavin-r-i-p/

Sunday, August 14, 2016

1979 Friendly vs Dominican National Team

Pregame introductions.
Dips & the Dominican National Team in action, February 28, 1979.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

ABC Sports Profile of Robert Iarusci

From the June 1, 1980, Dips Cosmos match.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

True Fans

                                                                                                                                                                        Left Photo by Tony Quinn

Friday, July 1, 2016

"The Greatest Goal I've Ever Seen"

Bill Goff recently recalled the night he saw, in his words, "the greatest goal I've ever seen."
“I was 15 and out of my mind that night for two reasons, the first is how amazing the Kicks played, the second was watching Cruyff. He was a man among boys. He tormented [the Kicks] Gary Vogel on the wing all evening, only to have zero supporting cast to take advantage. With the game out of reach, he scored the greatest goal I have ever seen to this day. From the corner of the box [on the endline] in the dirt infield, he hit a slow, lofting volley from the outside of his right foot that froze [goalkeeper] Tino Lettieri in his tracks. When the ball settled in the net, all Tino could do was turn and applaud. I was there with some high school buddies and we went crazy! I can still see it so vividly. I wish that was somehow memorialized on video.”
God only knows how many amazing plays are lost to history from the late, great original NASL. There is a chance that film of the goal exists. Bill knows the game was taped because part of it appears in the Kicks 1980 highlight film.

On two other occasions in the 1980 season, The Washington press accorded accolades similar to Bill's about two other Cruyff goals, both of which came during matches in RFK Stadium. The Washington Star called the goal Cruyff scored against the Tulsa Roughnecks "sheer classic." Unfortunately, video for this match has gone the same route as Jimmy Hoffa.

The Washington Post proclaimed Cruyff's goal against the Seattle Sounders as "one of the great goals ever seen in soccer." This was seconded by Budweiser, a well known soccer authority, as it was the winner of their 1980 Goal of the Year Award. Fortunately, there are many sources to view this one.
See Cruyff's run described in the Washington Post as "one of the great goals ever seen in soccer."

Hopefully, video of Cruyff's goal in Minnesota that August evening will one day be available. Until then, thank you, Bill, for keeping its legend alive!

Special thanks to fiftyfive.one, to whom Bill also shared his story.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


The look on Tony Crescitelli's face personifies it.
Photo Credit Tony Quinn

Friday, May 27, 2016

Remembering Black Sunday, 1980

June 1, 2016, will be the 36th anniversary of Black Sunday, when referee Toros Kibritjian and linesman Gordon Arrowsmith conspired to perpetrate the most blatant fix of a professional sports match ever recorded in the history of guilty man. No, that is not an overstatement  :)

Game coverage from The Washington Star
Gary Darrell and Carmine Marcantonio battle Cosmos Eskandarian for ball.
Bill Irwin was one of many to question the competency of the officiating crew assigned at the match.

Halftime scoreboard.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Monday, May 2, 2016

AVAILABLE FOR TRADE: Don Droege 1979 Washington Diplomats Game Used Jersey

Anyone interested in trading one Dips jersey for another? Not looking to sell. jreed65844@aol.com

Saturday, April 23, 2016

August 9, 1978: Playoff Pangs In Portland

In hindsight, it was a portent of the match to come. As Diplomats Gary Darrell and Paul Cannell dozed in the early morning hours of August 8, 1978, someone slipped in their hotel room and helped themselves to $50 and a wristwatch.

"I heard the door and thought it was me roommate going down for breakfast," Cannell stated. By the end of the playoff match the following evening, the entire team felt deprived of something they thought rightfully theirs.

In his pre-match analysis, Coach Gordon Bradley said the Dips would have "no excuses" if they failed to advance. "The majority of players really preferred Portland" as their first round opponent to any other team in the NASL's National Conference, Bradley confided. "I think that's because we lost so narrowly out here." The clubs had split two matches that season, each winning at home by a score of 2-1.

If Bradley was content playing in Portland, Cannell had one point of contention. "The Astroturf is the worst I've ever seen because it's so uneven. It has waves in it like an ocean. You can get seasick running from one side of the field to the other."

The red arrow demonstrates one of the waves in the Civic Stadium Astroturf.

Match photo of Paul Cannell.
Gordon Bradley inserted Ken Mokgojoa into the Dips starting lineup, hoping to take advantage of his superior athleticism and speed. The hunch proved opportune, as Steve Kelley of The Oregonian noted that "the dangerous winger caused problems" for the home team. Mokgojoa's dazzle set up Gary Darrell in the 26th minute, providing the latter with an open blast from eight yards out. Portland keeper Mick Poole made "a strong save" to keep the match scoreless.

If not for Poole, the Dips may have put the game away in the first half. In addition to his save on Darrell, Poole twice frustrated Diplomat Ray Graydon on 2 direct volleys, one a break away in the waning seconds of the first half.

The Dips Bobby Stokes marveled at Poole's play in the opening 45 minutes. "He made three or four exceptional saves. Especially one on Paul Cannell (a point blank-blank header). I don't know how he got it. That had to be the save of a lifetime." Hyperbolise or not, Portland had managed to keep the match even. Both teams entered their respective locker rooms knowing that the 1978 season would soon be over for one of them.

The action continued fast and furious after intermission. Finally, at the 58:47 mark of the second half, Portland broke the stalemate. John Bain of the Timbers intercepted a pass deep in the Washington penalty area and slipped the ball to Brian McNeal. His one bounce shot beat Dips goalkeeper Bill Irwin, who was partially screened and did not see McNeal fire.

 This Brian McNeal shot, which came off a quick feed from John Bain, gave the Timbers a 1-0 lead.

Now ahead, the Timbers settled back on defense. There were still a little more than 30 minutes left to play, and Gordon Bradley was not concerned. "There was never a doubt in my mind we weren't going to win it," he said. "There was no question." As the minutes ticked down on the season, however, Bradley turned to some creative substitutions.

At the 76:44 mark, Andries Maseko replaced an exhausted Carmine Marcantonio. NASL rules required each team must have a minimum of 2 North American players on the field the entire game. Marcantonio was a Canadian citizen, Maseko was from South Africa. In order to field a second North American, Bradley pulled starting goalkeeper Bill Irwin of Ireland and inserted American Bob Stetler.

It was a busy night for Carmine Marcantonio.

The fresh attacker sparked new energy into the Dips. "They weren't playing organized," Portland coach Don Megson noted. "They just put people forward. They had people flying all over the place." With one minute left it seemed as if the 1978 campaign was coming to a close-- then lightning struck.

Portland midfielder John Bain, handling the ball dangerously close to the Timbers goal, "should have been thinking safety first and just hooked the ball away, but instead he sent a pass that wasn't on the same wave length with the other lads." Bain's pass was intercepted by Diplomat Ken Mokgojoa, who fired a shot into Mick Poole. The Portland goalkeeper could not control the ball, and Bobby Stokes put the rebound into the back of the net with just 30 left, "casting a pall over the Civic Stadium crowd of 14,230."

"I tried to clear the ball away and I made a bad pass that cost us a goal. I was absolutely sick about it," Bain said.

In an instant, momentum had shifted to the good guys. "The Timbers," wrote the Oregonian, "appeared to be gasping their final breaths of the season." Now the teams would play fifteen minutes of overtime. If neither team scored in the two 7 1/2 minute half's, the game would proceed to a shoot-out.

The Dips carried the momentum of Bobby Stokes' goal into the extra period, controlling the ball consistently in Timbers territory for the first six minutes. After what must have seemed an intolerable amount of time on defense, Portland was able to cross midfield and launch a counter attack which resulted in a corner kick taken by Elson Seale.

"I didn't hit the ball as well as I can," Seale said, "but I just wanted to get it in a danger area." He did.

Jim Steele and a Portland attacker both went in the air to play the ball, but neither made contact. "You hardly ever see two players go for a ball on a corner kick and not flick it one way or the other," Gordon Bradley lamented. The ball landed in front of John Bain, whose miscue allowed the Dips to tie the match in the final seconds of regulation play.                                                                                                                                            
"That guy (Bain) must have been as surprised as anyone to see the ball sitting there like that. If the ball goes anywhere else, we clear it. But it didn't and he toe-poked it in. It was a matter of the ball landing at one of their player's feet. It's luck. That was the first time Portland was down our end of the field in the overtime. Portland didn't deserve to win. They had only one way of attacking: kick the ball 40 yards up-field to (Clyde) Best, that was the extent of their offense."

Despite his disappointment, Bradley was proud of his lads. "My team showed the same character, attitude and enthusiasm it showed over 30 games this year."

Was Bradley being unnecessarily bitter? Jim Steele didn't think do. "I think they (Portland) know they were lucky. We should have won, we had so many chances. They got a break." He paused for a moment. "They were fortunate, but they're a great bunch of lads."

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Assorted Stickers

Here are some of the stickers the Dips put out through the years. If I've forgotten any, please feel free to send a picture.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Bob Stetler, 1979 Preseason Match, Florida

It was always good to see Bob Stetler get some PT, even if it was an exhibition game. Note the game ball; not the signature Adidas red, white and blue star ball, but what appears to be a K-Mart special.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Danny Molendyk 1980 Jersey

Danny Molendyk's son, David, shared a photo of his father's 1980 home jersey. Thanks,  David!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Spring Training

Mid-March was always the time the Diplomats preseason training would be in full swing. Some would be more intriguing than others, as Doug Dugan recalled http://washingtondiplomats.blogspot.com/2014/04/from-inside-1980-pre-season.html 
A few photos from the 1979 & 1980 training camps demonstrate drills Gordon Bradley employed.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Bobby Stokes Biography Available May 1, 2016

Bobby Stokes, one of the most popular players ever to don a Dips jersey, is the subject of a new book by Southampton author Mark Sanderson. You can order Bobby Stokes: The Man from Portsmouth Who Scored Southampton's Most Famous Goal, by using the following link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bobby-Stokes-Portsmouth-Scored-Southamptons/dp/1785311379/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1454506270&sr=8-1&keywords=bobby+stokes or visit http://bobbystokesbook.com/

"He's the man whose goal delivered Southampton's only major trophy in 130 years and counting. Bobby Stokes's winning goal in the 1976 FA Cup Final marked an unforgettable 11-second sequence of play for Saints fans, but just how did a Portsmouth-born Pompey supporter end up scoring a cup-winning goal for his boyhood team's hated, local rivals? Bobby Stokes: The Man from Portsmouth Who Scored Southampton's Most Famous Goal answers this question and so many others. Such as, what led him to leave Saints just a year after his glory? Why did he swap the glamour of the US League and crowds of 50,000-plus in New York for the grass roots of the Sussex County League? How did he end up waiting tables in a Portsmouth cafĂ©? And, why, less than 20 years on from that historic May afternoon, did he end up dying in poverty in 1995 at the tender age of just 44 - shortly before his testimonial match was due to take place at the Dell? This book takes a long overdue look at the life of Bobby Stokes, answers those questions and tells the story of a legendary figure in Southampton's history and the man who scored the club's most-famous goal."


Stokes in action against the Tulsa Roughnecks , 1979.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Diplomats at Rowdies, 1975

Diplomats Gerry Ingram, Rowdies Malcolm Linton.