New York Cosmos to return to NASL roots
13 Jul 2012
The iconic New York Cosmos franchise is set to return to the field for the first time in nearly three decades after it was announced the team will join the North American Soccer League (NASL) in its 2013 season.
The NASL, which is now a Division 2 league in North America, approved the Cosmos’ membership during its meetings this week in New York. The Cosmos began play in 1971, spending 14 seasons in the previous incarnation of the NASL, winning five Soccer Bowl trophies and bringing some of the biggest names in world football history to North America. English businessman Paul Kemsley led a consortium that in 2010 resurrected the franchise with the ultimate goal of securing a Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion team.
However, the Cosmos in October announced the resignation of chairman and CEO Kemsley amid reports of a major restructuring of the club. This ultimately led to Saudi Arabian investors Sela Sport securing full control of the club in November. At the time the new owners said it was “unequivocally” the goal for the team to become an MLS franchise in the “most expedient manner possible”, but the Cosmos have now appeared to change strategy. Seamus O’Brien, chairman of the New York Cosmos, said: “We are delighted to return to our historic home with the NASL and bring the New York Cosmos back to the playing field. We are committed to running the franchise with the highest possible standards on and off the field, and look forward to putting together a competitive and entertaining team our fans can be proud of.”
The NASL said the team expects to announce more details about its stadium, ticket sales, operations staff and players in the near future. NASL commissioner, David Downs, added: “As we continue to expand the league and help grow professional soccer in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean, the Cosmos brand and their strong ownership group are a perfect fit with us. The history of the Cosmos and soccer in the New York City area are intertwined. Bringing the Cosmos into the NASL is a logical next step as we embrace the heritage of our own past and now reunite the Cosmos, (Fort Lauderdale) Strikers, (Tampa Bay) Rowdies and several markets with ties to the NASL’s early days. Most importantly, we look forward to the Cosmos enhancing the quality of our league both on and off the field.”