Sept. 14, 1977
Cosmos to face People's Republic team Oct. 8
The North American Soccer League champion Cosmos will play a representative team of the People's Republic of China in a specially arranged encounter at Giants Stadium on October 8. The announcement of the international exhibition contest was made jointly today by the Cosmos, the United States Soccer Federation and the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.
The game, which begins at 1:45 p.m., will be one of several which the Chinese will play in North America during a USSF-sanctioned tour, but will be their initial encounter against a professional team. Three matches have been set against the United States National Team. The Chinese-Cosmos match will mark the first time that any Chinese sports team has competed against an American professional team.
"We are pleased to be able to present an attraction of such great significance," remarked Cosmos Executive Vice President Rafael de la Sierra. "It's unique for the great sports fans of the metropolitan area to see this type of historic event. The Cosmos are proud to have this opportunity to help develop warm relationships between our two peoples."
Arthur H. Rosen, President of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, noted that "this will be the fifth athletic delegation to visit the United States since the signing of the Shanghai communique in 1972 and that the soccer matches are expected to draw the largest crowds of any competition with Chinese teams in the united States since the advent of 'ping pong diplomacy'.
"Athletic encounters between the United States and China are an important element in the development of mutual understanding and friendly relations between the people of both countries."
The National Committee, a non-profit organization whose membership comprises 500 American civic and business leaders and scholars, sponsors exchanges with China in civic, international, and educational affairs as well as in sports and the fine and performing arts.
The game will be a return match of sorts for the Cosmos, since the team is presently in the People's Republic of China for a pair of games this week. Games are scheduled for Peking and Shanghai for the Cosmos, who are owned by Warner Communications.
Though relatively unknown in the world soccer scene at the present time, the Chinese are generally credited with having invented the game, over 5000 years ago. Writings from the Yin Dynasty (1400 B.C.) indicate that a game similar to soccer was played as early as 3400 B.C. when a small ball of leather was kicked around during military training exercises. The sport then spread through the Middle East, Africa and Europe. Soccer quickly became the world's most popular sport and is now rapidly on its way to rivaling football and baseball as America's pasttimes.