The Pittsburgh Spirit was one of the six teams that started the Major Indoor Soccer League. In 1978-79, the league's inaugural season, they finished fifth with a 6-18 record.
In the offseason, Frank Fuhrer acquired controlling interest in the team. The Spirit replaced Bruno Schwarz as their coach with Alan Pringle and claimed that the '79-80 payroll was four times the previous year's. Jim Steele, Clive Charles, Adrian Webster, Alan Merrick, David Butler, Steve Buttle, Micky Cave, Tom Jenkins and goalie Alan Mayer all had North American Soccer League outdoor experience.