In its previous incarnation the New York Cosmos was able to attract world class footballers in the shape of Pele, Giorgio Chinaglia, Carlos Alberto Torres and Franz Beckenbauer and draw average crowds of over 40,000 every week during the 1970’s.
However, once the North American Soccer League’s television contract with US network ABC collapsed in 1980 it set the league on a road into financial breakdown, and even with the introduction of a wage cap, had to collapse in 1984 when all its clubs became unprofitable and unsustainable. The New York Cosmos was washed away with NASL.
That was until English businessman Paul Kemsley, former co-chairman of Tottenham Hotspur, acquired the naming and image rights for the club in 2009 with the aim of rejuvenating the Cosmos and providing New York with its second MLS team.
Former players and global stars such as Pele, Carlos Alberto, Cobi Jones and Eric Cantona were brought in to help start the project and promote the brand, which is clearly working due to the popularity of the club’s branded jackets and caps in the UK at the moment.
This year they will finally begin their ultimate aim which is to become an actual football team, competing in their first competitive fixture on August 3rd against Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the North American Soccer League (now the second tier in the US soccer pyramid) with their ultimate aim to be given a place in the MLS franchise.
If they do indeed join the country’s top division they will be able to enjoy a rivalry with the New York Red Bulls – these are the derbies that the commissioners of the MLS are trying to encourage. However, a rival that could prove to be much more deadly is the financial behemoth combination of Manchester City and the New York Yankees.
A consortium including Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour and other UAE investors, and the owners of the New York Yankees, have agreed to collaborate in the multimillion pound project to build a MLS franchise. They want to capitalise on the football fan base in the city by building a stadium close by, which would be a considerable competitor for the Cosmos.
As it stands at the moment the New York Cosmos are much further ahead and have put together a squad and secured a place in a national league, even if it isn’t the one they want. It is this team which English fans will be able to catch a glimpse of when they come to London and play friendly games against Leyton Orient and Watford.
Their roster contains young players who are going to be guided by a number of experienced MLS players and internationals. They have signed up former New York Red Bull’s defender Carlos Mendes, Guatemalan international Henry Lopez, and their star player Marcos Senna. The Spanish international was capped 28 times and has just finished playing for Villarreal for over a decade.
On the 24th and 28th of July fans in and around London will have a unique opportunity to become involved in a club with such an illustrious and historic heritage, and see a squad who are determined within the next few years to become another member of the growing MLS franchise.
image: © jamesboyes