In the seventies, a new chapter in the story of Washington D.C. began to unfold. A chapter that saw a team rise to prominence and capture the hearts of the people of our nation’s capital and beyond. That team was the Washington Diplomats.
The Diplomats were born in 1974, when a group of business leaders from Washington D.C. were granted a franchise by the North American Soccer League. The team played all their home games at RFK Stadium in 1974, but in 1975 and 1976 they played most of their games at W.T. Woodson High School in Northern Virginia, including all of their 1976 games. They played indoor home matches at the neighboring D.C. Armory.
Despite some early challenges, the Diplomats never gave up. They worked hard and persevered, and in each of their last three years of existence, they qualified for the playoffs. And in their final year, they made a historic signing, bringing in the future European Player of the Century, Johan Cruyff. This signing sparked a surge in attendance, with nearly 20,000 fans a game by the 1980 season.
The Washington Diplomats were more than just a team, they were a symbol of the city’s resilience, determination, and the power of working together towards a common goal. They remind us that even when things are tough, with hard work and perseverance, we can achieve great things. And as we continue to strive for greatness in the world of football, let us remember the lessons of the Washington Diplomats and the legends that played for them.
The Memphis Rogues were a professional soccer team in the former North American Soccer League.