The genesis of the Greensboro Dynamo, USISL National Champions in 1993 and 1994, may very well have come in 1976 when English businessman Neil Macpherson an his wife Bridget moved to Greensboro. They became enamored with the city, and the two built a very successful business selling embroidering and monogramming machinery. Y Macpherson felt two things were missing, as he would tell a reporter in 1977. The city needed "a professional soccer team and one hour of English soccer on TV per week."
By 1993 he had one of his wishes - The Greensboro Dynamo Soccer Club - and we know now that it took a little longer to get the second. The first one had involved a sizable amount of money, countless work hours and a lot of creativity and ingenuity. "I am giving it three years," he said. "If it doesn't work in Greensboro, it's not going to work anywhere."
Turns out it worked quite well.
The previous year, 1992, would really set the foundation for what was to come. A soccer club called IFC Greensboro, coached by George Kennedy (NC Soccer HOF 2014), won the North Carolina State Open Cup and finished as runner-up in the U.S. Amateur Cup. IC had been put together by Buckley Andrews, another Englishman, who had played at UNC Greensboro. His dream for soccer in Greensboro was similar to Macpherson's, and he created IFC in 1991. The two pooled their resources (*he asked me for $3,000 and it quickly turned into $25,000," said Macpherson) and they moved into the professional ranks as the Dynamo.
They became members of the Atlantic Division of the U.S. Interregional Soccer League, roughly equivalent, as one newspaper put it, to "baseball Double A." One league rule stood out: No more than five foreign players on the field at one time. This was a boon to the Dynamo, for they could combine their overseas contacts with players, past and present, from the very successful UNC Greensboro program led by the very successful coach Michael Parker, also from England. Parker would stay for three years, as he planned, long enough to get the program off the ground. Promotion, led by team public relations director Eddie Mitchell, was intense - Macpherson bought a $25,000 hot air balloon decorated as a soccer ball - and by spring of 1993, it was a go.
The results speak for themselves. In 1993, the Dynamo (14-2 regular season) defeated East Los Angeles 4-0, Atlanta 9-0, and Orlando in the final 2-1. This was the Sizzlin' Six in Daytona Beach. Then, in the memorable 1994 season, the Dynamo (18-2) would host the Final Four coming out of the Sizzlin' Nine. On the UNC-G field they would defeat Long Island 2-1 (OT) on August 13. Two days later, in front of 5,000 excited spectators on a hot night preceded by a day of thunderstorms, Mike Gailey would score after 10 minutes and Brian Japp would convert the winning PK in a penalty kick shootout. The Dynamo repeated as ISL champs 2-1.
What a ride. The players involved in the two seasons include: Maher Atta, Del Deanus, Greg Fallon, Thomas Finley, Carl Fleming, Mark Fulk, Michael Gailey, Carlos* Garcia, Gabe Garcia, Kenny Gasser, Jimmy Glenn, Michael Gosselin, Steve Harrison, Jason Haupt, Aidan Heaney, Allen Higgins, Thomas Ingram, Brian Japp, Mike McGinty, Tom Misuraca, Aidan Murphy, Eddie Radwanski, Jim Rinker, Michael Rock, Steve Springthorpe, John Stark, Michael Thorn, David Torris, David Ulmsten, Joey Valenti, Mick Wakeman and Kelly Weadock. Assistant coach was Eric Vaughter. Rusty Scarborough served as a volunteer assistant coach.
Congratulations on selection to the National Champions Hall of Honor, class of 2020, as part of the North Carolina Soccer Hall of Fame.