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New York Cosmos Rise Again

Today, the NY Times Soccer blog reported that the rights to the New York Cosmos name has been purchased by a group led by Englishman Phil Kemsley.  According to blog author Jack Bell, the announcement of the relaunch of the Cosmos name and brand was made today during halftime of the Copa N.Y.C. finals.  Former Cosmos superstar Pele was on hand for the announcement, and will be the honorary president of the new club.  Kemsley at one time was an investor with Tottenham of the English Premier League.

“Our plan has several phases, but if you fast-forward, it’s our aspiration to play at the highest level in this country, and that’s M.L.S., ” said Joe Fraga, the executive director of the new New York Cosmos. “And we are serious. We want to make it relevant again; we want kids to know what the Cosmos were and are, to bring the soccer dream back to the city. Pelé is our face, and you couldn’t do better than that, not just for the Cosmos, but for soccer in general. Our goal is to respect history and the legacy, and make it relevant now.”

There has been speculation for some time about a second New York franchise becoming the 20th team in MLS, after Vancouver and Portland join for the 2011 season and Montreal enters the league in 2012.  MLS commissioner Don Garber does nothing to discourage this speculation, and was recently quoted as saying that “We are very focused on trying to have that 20th team in New York — a second team in New York, a rival for the Red Bulls.  We have got a lot of work to do to achieve that. We may or may not achieve that, but that is our goal and our main focus for the 20th team. That would be pretty cool.”

The group led by Kemsley purchased the rights to the Cosmos’ name from Pepe Pinton, who had owned the rights for many years.  The group also purchased the rights to the NYC Copa tournament. a soccer tournament made of New Yorkers playing for teams representing the countries of their ethnic/national heritage.  Sixteen teams competed in this year’s competition, with the final played by a group representing Jamaica against a group representing Poland. 

The NY Cosmos were a legendary team in the original NASL.  Although the franchise existed between 1971 and 1985, the late 1970s were the team’s heyday, when they signed such stars as Pele, Giorgio Chinaglia, Franz Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto and other international stars under the leadership of Warner Communications Chairman Steven Ross.  The club was founded by the Ertegun brothers, who also founded the famed Atlantic record label.  The club won five NASL championships and averaged over 40,000 fans per game for several years. 

Apparently the new owners of the Cosmos name have hopes of getting a franchise in MLS by 2013.  Perhaps there will be a coalition formed with the owners of the NY Mets, the Wilpon family, who have shown interest in acquiring an MLS franchise in the past.  Building a new stadium near the Mets’ Citi Field would seem a possibility.

Finally, and this is pure speculation, but would this team want to get a head start by playing in Division 2 for a few years ?  Build a fanbase, get the front office working smoothly, begin building a roster and evaluating players and coaches while getting a soccer specific stadium built.  Also, I have hopes that MLS will make a decision soon on their 20th franchise, so that everyone will have a clearer idea of the future of MLS will be, but also allow D2 to identify which cities can be long-term members.  In other words, when MLS can cherry pick successful markets at the D2 level, it weakens the financial stability of the lower division.   If MLS stops expansion at 20 teams, D2 can concentrate on developing regional play and more effectively seek broadcasting contracts and sponsorships.

Information for this article was taken from the New York Times Soccer blog.  For more information about the Cosmos and the excitement they generated, read “Once in a Lifetime” by Gavin Newsham, or see the movie of the same title.


4 Responses

  1. I’m sure Cooper is next in getting a franchise…..yeah right.

  2. Hi my name is Alfonso
    am 19 years old born in June 5, 1991 in Mexico.
    i had play for West New York, Strikers United, and PDA
    I just graduated from Memorial High School which i played the four years 2 JV and 3 varsity.
    The reason am sending you the it because i have try for the red bulls but they didn’t want to accept me because they have enough players a;ready and i was just wondering if you guys can give me a chance i really would like to play with you guys 1- to help my mom and 2- so i can get responsible of my self i hope i can hear from you guys soon.

    Those are my numbers where you can contact me.
    I thank you for the moment that you take to read this mail.

    Cell- (347)573-6729
    e-mail- tlazalo20@hotmail.com

  3. GReat News. And to have pele as the face of NY Cosmos is a masterstroke. What soccer in the USA needs ist the black kids in the ghettos to get interested for it to truly become an American game. Every other game, its in the slums and ghetto and barrio where u find the real gems such as Tyson, Pele, or Maradona. MLS needs to help make the NY Cosmos happen again.

  4. Heya i’m for the primary time here. I came across this board and I in finding It really useful & it helped me out much. I’m hoping to present one thing again and aid others such as you helped me.

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