Cosmos returning to NASL in 2013


After all of the fanfare, VIP backing and posturing, the New York Cosmos will indeed take to the field as a soccer team yet again.

The Cosmos announced Thursday that they will play in NASL starting in the 2013 season, joining the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Tampa Bay Rowdies as original NASL franchises playing in the modern edition of the league. The club did not announce where their home games will be played, and according to an NASL release, that information, along with technical staff and players, will be announced "in the near future."

The Cosmos brand was reborn in 2010, with the likes of Pele, Eric Cantona and Cobi Jones taking roles in an effort to bring the legendary club back to prominence. The club currently has an Under-23 side and an academy set-up and also fielded a star-studded team to play at Old Trafford in the Paul Scholes testimonial match last summer. The Cosmos were pushing hard to become the newest MLS expansion franchise before ownership turmoil derailed that quest, but the organization still has its sights set on one day reaching the top tier of U.S. Soccer.

"Our ultimate goal is to play at the very highest level, and we feel today's announcement is the first step in that direction," Cosmos chairman Seamus O'Brien wrote in a team statement.

What do you think of this development? Excited to see the Cosmos return to the field?

Share your thoughts below.

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91 Responses to Cosmos returning to NASL in 2013

  1. john says:

    good first step but they have to try to find a place to play in queens since that is where the new mls team will have there stadium

  2. Fred says:

    Is Cantona still with the organization? Can’t find his name anywhere on any press releases.

  3. boyton says:

    Amazing that in all of the announcements I’ve read today for this, it is never mentioned where the Cosmos will play their home games! Including your blog Ives.

  4. Shayne says:

    still need too get the organization up to speed. Their website is inundated will all the interest and won’t respond. But getting the Cosmos back to soccer in any American league is a good thing!!!

  5. Shayne says:

    would like to see the history of NASL glory days come to MLS, a la Northwest teams!

  6. Old School says:


    -Don Garber

  7. b says:

    Where will they play their games? If it’s within NYC that would be amazing, hopefully Brooklyn or Queens.

    Now at least haters won’t be able to dismiss them as a fake team that doesn’t really exist aside from PR… I would love to see them become the 20th MLS team.

  8. b says:

    How cool would it be if we ended up with three more MLS teams from the glory days of the NASL, Chivas should get their own stadium and rebrand as Los Angeles Aztecs, Beckham could bring MLS back to the south with the Miami Strikers, and the biggest story of all could be the return of the New York Cosmos…

  9. Rico says:

    And then Team Hawaii, the Minnesota Kicks, Calgary Boomers, and Las Vegas Quicksilvers could join in?

  10. Joseph D'Hippolito says:

    Let’s be honest: Only the *name* is returning, not the tradition nor the players — least of all the organization. Warner Communications operated the original franchise, and had the money to sign Pele, Chingalia, Beckenbauer, et al. You think the current owners have that kind of cash? Don’t be fooled by media hype.

  11. Hartford bicentennials, Memphis Rougues, Detroit Express

  12. let’s hope that they have a longer stay than FCNY who just dropped out of the NPSL mid-season.

  13. Gnarls says:

    I think the goal of the current Cosmos incarnation is to do the opposite of the original brand vis-a-vis spending huge dollars that ultimately bankrupt the club.

    If the team eventually makes it to MLS, they’ll be bound by the same DP rules all the other teams follow. Gone are the days of Beckenbauer et al.

  14. Dante says:

    This is just sad and pathetic. This team won’t draw flies. It’ll just do more damage to the “Cosmos brand” than anything. Nostalgia doesn’t pay the bills.

  15. Dante says:

    This is just sad and pathetic. This team won’t draw flies. It’ll just do more damage to the “Cosmos brand” than anything. Nostalgia doesn’t pay the bills.

  16. Rico says:

    It’s a proven recipe for success (look at the NW). Take the history you have, throw in a little revisionist history, market it like crazy, and the masses will buy in.

  17. Erik says:

    I beg to differ. Nostalgia pays the bills in Seattle, Portland, & Vancouver. I suspect New Yorkers will be a little more skeptical and I doubt this team will draw in the NASL (neither did Seattle and look at them). But if and when they jump to MLS, the nostalgia will pay the bills.

  18. BetaMale says:

    Wow, it happened. I really thought it was all talk

  19. DGH says:

    If they opened a soccer-only stadium in Brooklyn, the hipsters would be all over it…ironically.

  20. Dante says:

    If you think this team can do what Seattle and Portland are doing, then I want what you’re having. How are the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Ft. Lauder Strikers doing? They must be printing money in Florida.

  21. Dante says:

    If they can survive by the time MLS put the team in NY and if they don’t damage the brand. This is going to be a fiasco. It was best to wait for MLS to come calling, but someone got desperate.

  22. Carlos says:

    Cosmos dissing MLS

  23. Gnarls says:

    It isn’t nostalgia that fuels Seattle and Portland fans. It’s a genuine love for soccer. I live 2500 miles away from New York, so I’m not the best judge, but do you think New Yorkers have the same passion for the game as Pacific Northwesterners (aka “Cascadians”)?

  24. Andrew says:

    So what if they are playing, I don’t think the brand is worth that much. At the end of the day you will have a third tier team. The cosmos although with a rich tradition and history have not played in close to thirty years. So what if they have Eric modeling thier gear or they put peles signature on the brand. Who cares, it’s all hype. And hype does not field a team.

  25. yankiboy says:

    Well played, Playah…Props!

  26. BSU SC says:

    The current owners do have that kind of cash. Actually, they probably have more of it. The Cosmos are owned by Sela Sports, a Saudi Arabian sports marketing group which has vast amounts of wealth. If anything holds them back, it will be a salary cap.

    And the team will actually exist. I don’t think it can be referred to as “hype” any longer.

  27. BSU SC says:

    Troll. I don’t think you actually believe what you’re saying. Calling them a “fiasco” before they play a single game?!?!

    Are you one of the people who also complains that Don Garber doesn’t know what he’s doing?

  28. BSU SC says:

    Hype sells tickets & merchandise. Sales enable you to have a professional organization. Professional organization translates into success on the field. If you don’t like it then don’t support the team. Otherwise, stop making such asinine statements.

  29. Charles says:

    One, the Cosmos are not done with MLS, there have been a few successful teams that have leaped to a different, more profitable league.

    Two, the one thing that MLS was pretty stupid about was ignoring the heritage and history. Remember when they wanted to name the Sounders, the Alliance ? Wow, there was an outcry on that.
    When the Sounders play the Whitecaps next they will talk about the 127 meetings before. That is part of what makes it so great.

  30. BSU SC says:

    They will play at Hofstra Univesity.

  31. RLW2020 says:

    crazy how much hype and hate there is around this! either way people are talking about it so its good…

    im happy they will be back playing soon. Get a some years in at the lower divisions and move up to MLS when the stadium and other details are ready. sounds like a good plan.

  32. bottlcaps says:

    I think a fire was lit under the Cosmos Mgmt. to go and get a Sosmos team playing. By all intents and purposes, FIFA has limited most top division Leagues to 20 teams and the MLS has, right now, 19. That means the Cosmos, by name only, and not by any good competitive lower division team, would hope to get the final MLS spot. With all the other cities who have bid unsuccessfully to promote their lower division team to the MLS, this would seem unfair. But the MLS wants another team in the Big Apple, so they stressed to the Cosmos to get going.

    I think, at some time, that the MLS will buy into one of the lower division leagues, maybe even the NASL and make it a “B” league for the MLS. They could add a slew of Franchises in the wanna-be MLS cities, expand it geographical presence to other parts of the US, and if the “B” League is successful, start a promotion/relegation to and from the MLS.


    hater, hater, hater. I’m am from newyork, NY have a very mix population. This is the first step, then MLS. Stop hating, the brand is worth a lot. You need a team of history in NY, I don’t mean NYRB history, I mean history of them adv. 70,000 fans a game once.

  34. bottlcaps says:


  35. RLW2020 says:

    true! love for the game and the idea of continuing the legacy of a club.

  36. Adam M. says:

    This move is obviously a placeholder until they get an MLS stadium built, probably by 2014-2015. No way MLS brings in a second NY team that isn’t the Cosmos if the Cosmos are fielding a real team. The brand is too valuable.

  37. don says:

    God, is it too far fetched to think they could attract a few stars to the NASL? It would be positive all around to have a dominant team in the 2nd division – both as a showcase for the league, and a team to give hell to the top flight teams.

  38. Dante says:

    In case you haven’t noticed, the NASL has been a mess from the start. Calling this a fiasco isn’t going out on a limb. Enjoy watching your third-rate club tarnish history. Unlike you, I went to Cosmos games and this is a joke.

  39. Oranje Mike says:

    Seattle and Portland were not defunct for decades before returning. This is a cash grab.

  40. b says:

    That’s just a ridiculous idea. They will not field a star studded team in the second division, they will play their academy guys mixed in with some NASL/MLS veterans, and save the big bucks for when they’re in MLS.

  41. slowleftarm says:

    And remember, even though Hofstra is a far more suburban location than Harrison, and further from the city, the Cosmos are the “real” NY team. Not sure why, but apparently it’s so.

  42. don says:

    So is it good for business and the brand to put a farm league out to represent what has always been seen as an all-star team? You may be right, but to say it is ridiculous goes a little far.

  43. Oranje Mike says:

    FYI…a Ross in Phoenix is selling Cosmos jersies for $20. Nearly snagged one for kicks but it was the white shirt.

    It was fun driving to each Ross to see which random club shirts were on the rack: Union, Dynamo, FC Dallas, Rapids, Cosmos, Sporting Lisbon, Lazio, Cameroon…no method to the madness.

  44. slowleftarm says:

    Oh it’s nostalgia that pays the bills in the northwest? I thought it was the huge sell out crowds every single week.

  45. BetaMale says:

    Hype got Obama elected. It can get people to show up for a few games

  46. The Ghost of Pele says:

    How do you know that Sela Sports has “vast amounts of wealth”?

    Is it an assumption because, you know, every Saudi company has vast amounts of wealth, or do you actally know something about their finances?

    And having the wealth means nothing if they’re not willing to spend it. Do you have inside information regarding Sela’s commitment to funding the Cosmos?

  47. BSU SC says:

    It’s based on the statement made yesterday by the one of the new owners of DC United. He said it himself yesterday that they have “vast amounts of personal wealth”. Feel free to read the story. link to

    And it’s up to them how they spend their money. There is a difference between not wanting to spend money and not having money to spend. It appears that they have the money, which is the point I was making.

  48. Todd C says:

    NY Cosmos Brand = Irrelevant to anybody under 50. It’d be great if NYC actually had a franchise that could fill seats. I’ll believe it when I see it though. The empty seats at Red Bull arena are ridiculous. #DOOP

  49. Brian says:

    Hofstra University.

  50. Brian says:

    Brah..they’re Saudi. Theys gots monies to spend.

  51. don says:

    I’ve always assumed the NASL was a possibility for the Cosmos bc it gives them a chance to be the best team. Going straight into MLS means no chance at winning immediately.

  52. BSU SC says:

    I went to Cosmos games, too. Once again, you’re making assumptions without knowing what you’re talking about. And the NASL has not been a mess from the start. They’ve had solid infrastructure ever since US Soccer restructured the league (from their USL-1 days).

    You have no idea what you’re talking about. Thank God people like you are not running soccer in this country.

  53. Kejsare says:

    Tulsa Roughnecks!

  54. don says:

    Really? Does it take more than one picture of Pele and Beckenbauer in front of 70,000 to make it immediately relevant?

  55. WildDrawFour says:

    The Ross jersey collection is fantastic! I bought a knockoff Houston scarf and USMNT jersey (previous edition, red with blue sash). A great place to find apparel for pick-up games.

  56. Chupacabra says:

    And in five years the league could go bankrupt! It’s all just a little bit of history repeating.

  57. don says:

    If you want to see relevance, go to google news and see how many papers worldwide are already covering this second division team.

  58. kevdflb says:

    I don’t think they know yet.

  59. tim says:

    Tulsa or an OKC team might be a good idea… Midwest could use another team imo.

  60. Felix says:

    It’d probably be smarter to play academy/young players to get them experience, so once they do get to MLS, they can be augmented by stars.
    I know there’s a couple of presumptions in there.

  61. Felix says:

    I’m 35 and remember the Cosmos well when I used to go to Chicago Sting games with my family.
    I think you are wrong on this.

    I for one am excited about the Cosmos coming back.
    If they get a stadium in NYC and attempt to attract some stars – it will be a hit. Not only will the older crowd, like myself, love it for the nostalgia, but I think they’ll be a significant amount of haters who will come out to root against them (a lighter version of what we saw with the Miami Heat this year). Plus the instant rivalary with NYRB and the other East Coast MLS clubs.

    If the Cosmos are organized, placed, and marketed right, they will be as much of a credit to this league as clubs like the Timbers, Sounders and SKC.

  62. Brad says:

    I am actually excited to see the Cosmos coming back. I remember as a child watching my Tulsa Roughnecks play the Cosmos. Those we some great times.

  63. Pele's Accountant says:

    No, that’s not what that article says. Feel free to read/re-read the article. There’s nothing in there about Sela Sports’ wealth; this is the only mention of Sela Sports:

    “Various international super clubs have also been linked with potential ownership of MLS teams and Saudi Arabian sports marketing group Sela Sport recently took over the New York Cosmos organization, which had previously indicated its intention to be part of MLS one day.”

    I don’t know anything about Sela Sports’ finances. For all I know, they may be the wealthiest sports marketing firm on the planet. But assuming that they have “vast amounts of wealth” and that they will fund the Cosmos with boatloads of cash just because they are Saudi seems pretty foolish to me.

  64. JoeMormon says:

    Behold, yee speak the truth.

  65. wyofan says:

    i was in Manchester, UK and they were selling Cosmos jerseys in the airport souvenir shops. just sayin’

  66. Duneman says:

    Ya…i had been more Mashalls/TJ Max, but heard some people talking about Ross getting MLS kits, etc. I checked it out and you can find some good ones. I was there the other day and saw Cosmos, Milan, Newcastle etc….and even better I found some US Men’s (older blue kit) for about $30 and MLS ones for $19!!…they were the 2010 version i think…I have gone back 2-3 times so now have FC Dallas, Revolution, Salt Lake, LA Galaxy..all for $19…not too bad.

  67. Graham says:

    Actually, both Seattle and Portland were defunct for over a decade before returning to the A-League (APSL – whatever you want to call it). Vancouver was defunct for longer than that.

  68. b says:

    Hilarious but FYI since you must not be familiar with the league to be making such a comment, MLS has a salary cap, unlike the NASL of the 70s-80s.

  69. Rico says:

    Are you claiming John McCain was the better choice?

  70. b says:

    If the Midwest gets more teams, the best options are St Louis (near that hill neighborhood where most of the 1950 US team was from)), Minneapolis (downtown), and Detroit (not within the city but in the wealthy suburbs to the northwest).

  71. buckyball says:

    So, the NASL ownership board approved this Cosmos addition unanimously.

    Do you suppose there was a truly candid moment before the vote when the Cosmos people said, “Listen little buddies. We’re here for two years max. We want that 20th MLS slot – sorry, Tampa, Ft Lauderdale! So, we’re gonna outspend you massively with middle east money and pound on you every game so we’ll look like winners. The good news is that as the heels of NASL we’ll draw you some big crowds craving our fail. The bad news is at the first MLS sniff, we’re leaving and not looking back. So- how about some short-term profit, boys?”

  72. slowleftarm says:

    Too be fair to the “haters” until this they were a fake theam that didn’t exist.

  73. BSU SC says:

    You can feel free to do a simple google search. They have locations on 3 continents and are highly invested in Ittihad FC, one of the wealthiest clubs in Saudi Arabia. Do you really think this organization would invest millions of dollars into the Cosmos without having the finances to do so?

    I don’t know why you’re trying to argue about this, but it’s foolish and asinine to assume that a company would purchase a sports franchise (in New York of all places) and then not invest into it. It’s $25 million to own a NASL team. That should tell you something right there.

  74. BSU SC says:

    …and this team had to be approved by the NASL board (team owners). Do you really think they would approve a team that had no intention of being competitive? Seems pretty foolish to think otherwise.

  75. Nap time for Pele says:

    Having the money to join the NASL and being financially able to compete in MLS are two very different things, and we’re talking about two very different levels of wealth.

    I’m sure that the NASL Board of Governors is convinced that the Cosmos have the means to be competitive … in the NASL. I doubt that they care or even considered whether Sela Sports can compete financially in MLS.

    You were the one who claimed that Sela has “vast amounts of wealth” and that they will only be held back by MLS’ salary cap. I’m just trying to figure out if you really know what you’re talking about or are just making stuff up, and I think I’ve got my answer. Thanks.

  76. old grey mullet says:

    When the Cosmos were drawing 70k a game, they were doing it in New Jersey, at the meadowlands. True story.

  77. dan says:

    They will be in NASL max 2 years, maybe 1. Garber probably twisted their arm to start playing and prove they can be successful to continue the nasl to mls tradition of past MLS expansions.

    I have to say though this is GREAT PR for the NASL.

  78. dan says:

    Timbers, Sounders and SKC? That’s an interesting group of clubs to say are credits to this league.

    Either way, I think the Cosmos will probably blow out the league in attendance and fanfare. They are the first and only team that will be in MLS that can boast a massive history being a massive club. Everyone in the world knows the Cosmos.

  79. Rabid RBNY says:

    1 hr and 40min public transit from NYC. 40 min drive from Williamsburg/Greenpoint. FC Mets!

  80. PCFC says:

    FC Clip Art was a disgrace.

  81. Slatch says:

    Lol! Tru dat on Obama, but GO COSMOS!!!

  82. Slatch says:

    NASL knows many clubs use it as stepping stone and they are fine with it. That’s just part of being a 2nd division league. Between this and the Wynalda thing in ATL, I think they are just happy with all the recent media coverage.

  83. Roderick says:

    You should check the MLS average attendance numbers. The Cosmos never “drew” 70k unless you mean on an occasion in which case so have some MLS teams.

  84. DS says:

    Agreed Todd – I’m an avid player and fan in NYC, and have no loyalty or interest in the 3rd division Cosmos relaunch. Now if it was in a brand new SSS in Queens, in MLS, then I’d be buying some tickets for sure. Although I have to admit, the color scheme and logo are dated and corny. Yeah I said it.

    Btw Don – how can you be such an avid fan already? Methinks you work for the Cosmos – you doth protest too much.

  85. don says:

    Yes, full disclosure, I have to admit the Cosmos pay me a salary to sit on my couch and defend their brand on SBI.

  86. BSU SC says:

    I never said anything about MLS (besides the article regarding the DC United owners). My point was that there is no reason to assume that Sela Sports can not field a successful NASL team based on what is publically known about them, but for whatever reason you have difficulty accepting that. Now you want to change the topic from “we can’t assume they’ll be able to run an organization” to “well…ok but this doesn’t mean they can put together a MLS team”. Why would the NASL board care about whether or not this team can one day play in MLS? They’re not applying to play in MLS and I never said that they were.

    I never claimed to have “insider information”. I simply made a statement on the information available. You can doubt it all you want but until you are able to provide documented proof, then you doing nothing more than stating an opinion…or making stuff up. The Cosmos will be a professional soccer team playing in the NASL and the league believes they have the financial backing to do so. End of story.

  87. BSU SC says:

    Read this then tell me what you have to say: link to

    I just might remain silent if I were you.

  88. Todd C says:

    The Cosmos brand and appeal had to do with having some of the greatest soccer players on the planet at that time on the team, and the excitement of soccer actually be appreciated in the US. There is ZERO chance the Cosmos will have any true WORLD CLASS talent playing for the team until the MLS as a league can attract ($$$) that type of player. I hope NYC does have a popular/quality franchise, but to think some retro jerseys and a cool stadium will bring instant success is just ignorant. Too much hype for a team that is no longer relevant but I’m all for the MLS to grow and have global exposure. #DOOP

  89. BSU SC says:

    “We got as deep a pockets as anybody in the game.”

    -Seamus O’Brien, NY Cosmos Chairman

  90. Tim F. says:

    I can’t wait until the New York Cosmos become an MLS franchise!

  91. thomas says:

    The original NASL didn’t simply go bankrupt, it challenged Fifa for overall control of the game and was crushed like a fly. They were immensely naive.

    Read up on the Mexico 86 hosting decision.