An Overview and Brief History
Shoreline Adult Soccer League
The Connecticut State Soccer Association has recognised the Shoreline Adult Soccer
League as the largest soccer league under their jurisdiction.
The SASL was formed by Alfie Campbell in Clinton, Connecticut in the late 1970s but was reformed as a strictly over-30 league in 1981. Goalkeepers, however, can be 25 years old, owing to the difficulty of finding players capable at this specialist position. The league started as a local shoreline endeavour with teams from Clinton, Guilford and North Branford. Today, the league is statewide and encompasses some 40 teams in four divisions of ten teams each. The Clinton club that started it all moved to Madison in 1987 and there are still teams from Guilford and North Branford. As each new season has begun there have always been new teams. Expansion was slow at first, but when the league reached 16 teams all in one division it was decided to create East and West divisions. Since then, the league has evolved in leaps and bounds and has gone from a purely recreational league into a competitive league of incrementally competitive divisions with championships, trophies, promotion and relegation all at stake.
The league is highly ethnical. It started with a Scotsman and a few U.S. Americans, but now includes a vast array of nationalities, especially Portuguese, Italian, Polish, British and Irish. U.S. Americans, however, are still very well represented.
The First Division is regarded as highly competitive with many players formerly playing in the Connecticut Soccer League and at the collegiate level. Many individuals have played professionally in the past and some have played for their respective national teams.
As you may expect, the Second Division may be less competitive, albeit some teams are First Division calibre and are playing to return to the top division.
The Third and Fourth Divisions may be less competitive with some teams and players playing mostly for recreation but with a competitive edge. These divisions may contain First or Second Division calibre teams that are new to the league but are working their way up via promotion.
Teams from the SASL enter the CSSA Over-30 State Cup every season. Some of the more competitive and ambitious teams have also entered into the U.S.S.F. National Over-30 Cup. In the early 1990s New Haven Portuguese reached the Quarter-Finals. Many felt they were strong enough to go the whole way, but luck was not on their side in a Quarter-Final match played near Baltimore, Maryland. Many teams have also represented the league very well at indoor and outdoor tournaments throughout the northeastern United States. It is traditional for many players to make their pilgrimages to Lake Placid, New York to play in the highly prestigious winter indoor tournament there, or to Oneonta, New York for over-30 and over-40 summer tournaments sponsored by the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Connecticut Internationals, Glastonbury Celtic FC and Waterbury Morse Watchman have all entered teams and won the Championship. Many other SASL teams have come close in the later rounds also.
As time has passed, the SASL evolved into a competitive league for players and sometimes whole teams from the CSL to step into once they turned 30 years old. Now, there are many players who are well into the 40s and some are already into their 50s and are eager to keep playing, but unwilling or unable to compete with "young" 30+ year olds.
Since 1996 the SASL had been active in starting an Over-40 Division which finally come to fruition in 1998. It started with only three teams but there is a great deal of interest in competitive over-40 soccer. In 2001, the Over-40 Division was renamed the SASL Masters League. By 2002 the Masters League had grown to 12 teams. In time, the Masters League will grow from strength to strength, just like its fledgling Over-30 parent did in the early 1980s. But this time, the Over-30 will be acting as a feeder league into the Masters League ensuring continuity of competition for all SASL players. Read a brief overview and history of the SASL Masters League.
We hope to start an Over-50 Division in the near future too! So, keep checking back to our Website for news and developments!
Overall, the SASL exists for all ages over 30 years old with any type of experience. Soccer was fun when we were young and remains an addiction we cannot, or will not, shake. We play under the adage that soccer players never die - unless their knees go first!