The story of the Metros-Croatia soccer championship win
The pro soccer team that struggled to draw fans and make money won it all in 1976
That squad was the Toronto Metros-Croatia, a struggling franchise in the 20-team North American Soccer League.
The Metros-Croatia team had difficulty drawing fans and staying afloat as an organization — it was financial need, in fact, that drew investors into the mix who insisted that the word "Croatia" be appended to the name of the pre-existing Metros team.
That name change happened in 1975, a year before the Metros-Croatia squad had its successful playoff run.
And yet, in 1976, the NASL remained so frustrated with the franchise over the name change that the team's playoff-bound trajectory occurred with "anything but league blessings," according to a Toronto Star report.
A brewery had tried to buy the team, but the owners didn't want to sell. That frustrated the league, too, as CBC reporter Joe Cote explains in the clip below.
Taking down the Kicks
In the end, the Metros-Croatia put together a 1976 season that included a multi-game winning streak that helped them make it to the final.
And when they got there, they made it count.
On Aug. 28, 1976, the Metros-Croatia beat the Minnesota Kicks — a great name for a soccer team, for sure — by a score of 3-0.
When the Metros-Croatia returned to Canada the day after their win, they were greeted by a crowd of hundreds of fans at Toronto's Pearson airport.