July 12, 2012
Cosmos to play in NASL for 2013 season
NEW YORK -- The New York Cosmos are back.
The North American Soccer League announced on Thursday that the Cosmos have joined the league and will begin league play in the 2013 season.
The NASL Board of Governors unanimously approved the Cosmos’ membership during its meetings this week.
It has been nearly 30 years since the Cosmos have played in a professional league, last performing in the original NASL in 1984.
It was not immediately known whether the club's NASL presence will open up possibilities of playing in Major League Soccer, which is gung-ho on adding a 20th franchise, an expansion team in New York City. The league is hopeful of building a new stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens.
The 21st century version of the NASL is a second-tier pro league behind MLS.
The current NASL lineup: Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina RailHawks, FC Edmonton, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, New York Cosmos, Minnesota Stars FC, Puerto Rico Islanders, San Antonio Scorpions FC and Tampa Bay Rowdies. Ottawa will begin play in 2014.
The Cosmos expects to announce more details about its stadium, ticket sales, soccer operations staff and players in the near future.
Over two days of meetings, that ended on Thursday, the NASL board of governors also addressed a variety of league matters, including hearing presentations from a record number of potential expansion team owners and discussing possible changes to the league’s competition structure for upcoming seasons.
The Cosmos' ownership group, New York Cosmos LLC, is an international partnership led by industry veteran Seamus O’Brien. The team said that it is committed to putting the brand back at the forefront of North American soccer.
The Cosmos began play in 1971, spending 14 seasons in the original NASL, winning five Soccer Bowl titles and bringing some of the biggest names in world soccer history to North America.
"We are extremely proud to welcome the New York Cosmos to the North American Soccer League," NASL commissioner David Downs said in a statement. "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, Strikers, 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.”
O’Brien, chairman of the Cosmos, was optimistic as well.
“We are delighted to return to our historic home with the NASL and bring the New York Cosmos back to the playing field," he said in a statement. "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.”
Added NASL board of governors chairman Aaron Davidson: “The team owners are thrilled to welcome the Cosmos back to their birthplace and home, the NASL. The Cosmos ownership group’s decision to join the NASL is the ultimate validation of our efforts to bring back the league which laid the foundation for soccer in North America. We look forward to respectfully honoring the legacy of the NASL and Cosmos of the 1970’s – 1980’s as we grow today’s NASL and play our role in driving the further development and maturation of soccer in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.”