RICHFIELD, Ohio - Remember the Cleveland Force?
The Force was our town’s entry in the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) and played its home games at the Richfield Coliseum.
The team, owned by Bart Wolstein, had players whose names longtime indoor soccer fans know by heart: Kai Haaskivi, Hector Marinaro, Andy Schmetzer (who later played for the Cleveland Crunch), Ali Kazemaini and Craig Allen. The head coach for the last six of the franchise’s ten-year existence was Timo Liekoski.
The video in our player is from the final home game of the 1985-86 season. WEWS reporter Mark Alexander covered the screaming mass of Force fans cheering the team to the playoffs.
The team won the Eastern Conference title with a 27-21 record. They bested perennial foe Baltimore Blast in the first round of the playoffs but lost to Minnesota Strikers in the Division Finals.
The Force never won a championship but did play and lose in the 1987-88 season, the team’s last season in the MISL.
The Crunch, taking up the mantle of indoor soccer in Cleveland after the Force folded, went on to win three championships.
I got a kick (pun really not intended) out of looking at some of the signage on the boards of the soccer floor and around the Coliseum itself, including Stroh’s Beer, Broadview Savings and AmeriTrust.