Forty years ago the Major Indoor Soccer League debuted, an Americanized version of the beautiful game promising end-to-end action and goals, goals, goals

For someone who had forged a reputation as Mr Cool, Shep Messing was one anxious goalkeeper the night of 22 December 1978. After all, it isn’t every day you help usher in a new league. Messing was playing for the New York Arrows as they welcomed the Cincinnati Kids to the Nassau Coliseum in the Major Indoor Soccer League’s debut.

“There’s only been two other times I’ve felt as nervous as this,” Messing said at the time. “One was when I won the [1977 North American Soccer League] championship in Portland with Pele. The other was Pele’s retirement.”

Read more: ‘Hockey with a ball you could see’: the Major Indoor Soccer League turns 40