Spartak in North America. How it happened
Spartak in North America. How it happened
Our team has first travelled to the US in 1979, specifically during the winter break. In 11 days (from February 2 until February 12), Konstantin Beskov's side played 6 minifootball games, or rather, indoor soccer games, which is how it was called in the US at the time.

Matches were played on hockey rings, covered by football-specific surfaces for the occasion. Each team had six players who competed four periods 15 minutes each, plus stoppages. The US teams were heavily represented by South American players at the time.

Spartak won five out of six, beating Pittsburgh Spirit 8:2, New York Arrows 9:7, Philadelphia Fever 11:4, Cincinnati Kids 7:3 and Cleveland Force 20:2. Only Houston Summit Soccer were able to inflict defeat on us with a 7:5 scoreline.

Sergei Shavlo, who was top scorer on the occasion (level with Evgeny Sidorov at 8 goals each), spoke about the visit to the US as a commercial exercise. The state received the bulk of the profits from the trip. The players received a 90-dollar bonus each, which was considered decent at the time. The footballers also had the chance to purchase different things abroad, which were hard to come by in the Soviet Union, with the help of USSR immigrants leaving in the US, who supported the team at matches.

It was a successful visit to the US for many reasons, one which set the team up for winning the league title later that year - their first domestic win in 10 years.

The team travelled across the pond once again the following year. However this trip saw a restricted squad (without the internationals) play in Mexico, rather than in the US. The team played two friendly matches in December in the more natural format of 11-v-11: against Atletas Campesinos in Queretaro and then vs Quartidoros in Leon (3:1 and 5:2 respectively).

Our last trip overseas happened in 1990. International players were absent once again and the team played three friendlies. We lost to the US national side in Minnesota 0:1, before playing Atletico Morelia twice, in Santa Ana and San Jose. Oleg Romantsev's side won the first game 2:1 and lost the return 0:1.

We retained a Camel Cup trophy from that visit though, which is now at display in our Hall of Fame.

Date: 10 September 2019, 17:30
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