Philadelphia Atoms T-Shirt
The Philadelphia Atoms were an American soccer team based out of Philadelphia that played in the North American Soccer League (NASL). They played from 1973 to 1976, at Veterans Stadium (1973–75) and Franklin Field (1976). The club's colors were blue and white. The club was succeeded by the Philadelphia Fury in 1978.
The Atoms were founded by Philadelphia construction mogul Thomas McCloskey in 1973. Playing a largely American line-up, they won the NASL title.
The Atoms could not sustain the success of their first season as the club missed the playoffs in each of their remaining three NASL campaigns. Attendance began to flag and, after the 1975 season, the team was sold to a group of Mexican clubs, which included Club Deportivo Guadalajara. Fielding a primarily Mexican side (almost 30 years before Chivas USA would try a similar approach in Major League Soccer), attendance continued to wane and the club folded after the 1976 season.
The Atoms were also part of what is considered by soccer historians to be the birth of modern indoor soccer in the United States. On February 11, 1974 they hosted the Soviet Red Army team at the Spectrum in an exhibition match. That night, 11,790 roaring fans watched the reigning league champions hold their own into the final period before the Russians finally pulled away for a 6–3 victory. The following year the NASL staged its first league-wide indoor tournament, and within a few years both the NASL and the MISL were playing full indoor seasons.
In 2017 a new team began play in the American Soccer League called Philadelphia Atoms SC. The club claims the heritage and colors of the original Atoms