The 1980’s were a special time for Women’s Collegiate Soccer in the United States. It was growing fast and starting to gain a national footprint, but there was no sanctioned national tournament at that time. In order to show that the sport had some “legs” and receive an official AIAW sanction, an experimental tournament was organized in 1980. According to the tournament report, “one obvious intention was to have a first-ever National Champion.”
Cue the Cortland State Women’s Soccer team, hot off their come-from-behind regional win.
The Red Dragons were ranked dead last in the Eastern Regional Tournament due to some early season losses. However, they won that tournament handily, and three days later proceeded to travel 40 hours, in two red Cortland State vans, to get to that first-ever National Tournament in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
With wins over Colorado State (3-0), Harvard (3-0), and UCLA in the finals (5-1), Cortland State won the tournament to become the first-ever National Champion in Women’s Collegiate Soccer…and then drove 40 hours back home.
No one had heard of Cortland State at that tournament (they thought we were from Portland)…and still, no one knows that Cortland State won that first National Tournament. This is the story we want to tell, but we need your help to finish the job.