The NY Cosmos cheerleaders – the 70s!
These are heady times for soccer fans especially in the Tri State area. The Copa NYC in its second year attracted 22 teams which was won by Poland. They beat Jamaica, 5-4 on PKs after both teams tied, 3-3. Chris Karcz, a former Red Bulls reserve forward who had already scored during regulation, provided an assist, was responsible for the winning penalty kick.
At halftime, the crowd was treated to the sight of Pele, making a rare appearance to NY along with fellow New York Cosmos team mates Carlos Alberto and Giorgio Chinaglia announcing they were forming the Cosmos Academy in partnership with BW Gottschee soccer club from Queens to provide talented players with free tuition to their well regarded training program.
This would eliminate the pay to play system in place currently in place ensuring that the program attracts the best kids. Pele also announced that the Cosmos were acquiring the Copa NYC to expand the tournament domestically as well as internationally.
However, the biggest buzz was created by the news that a consortium of English businessmen led by former Tottenham Hotspur director Paul Kemsley as Chairman, CEO Carl Johnson and former David Beckham associate Terry Byrne as director of football had purchased the name of the New York Cosmos which was the North American version of the Galacticos back in the days of Studio 54.
The Cosmos was the hottest ticket in town as Gavin Newsham’s book “Once In A Lifetime” makes amply clear.
A bright, incandescent jewel in the history of the ill fated NASL. It was bought by Warner Brothers and Steve Ross – and the likes of Mick Jagger, Robert Redford, Barbara Streisand, Ahmet Ertegun, Woody Allen, Jimmy Carter, Henry Kissinger would grace Giants Stadium where 70,000 + fans would roar on the likes of Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto, Giorgio Chinaglia, Johan Neeskens, Werner Roth, Shep Messing, and even Johan Cruyff.
The Cosmos was power personified – Henry Kissinger was drafted to get the signature of Pele. The Cosmos was to soccer what the Hacienda was to the Manchester music scene – including the drugs, sex, and rock n’ roll.
The acquisition of the Cosmos name is the first step to a possible return of the club. If it all pans out then New York will have its first MLS club and not a proxy called the New York Red Bulls out in Harrison, NJ.
But and this is the cautionary but – the prohibitive cost of building a stadium in the city means that the consortium has to have seriously deep pockets, possess the werewithal to overcome the myriad and deeply entrenched zoning laws, take on the city, state, and community boards with their political and environmental agendas, which more often than not pits them against each other to the detriment of development.
The Jets were doomed in their NY venture, the Yankees and Mets have priced out their matches to pay for their exorbitant new stadiums, and the Nets are moving into their new Atlantic Yards address amidst stiff public opposition. It is going to be a gargantuan task. There is talk that the Willets Point area where Citifield Stadium is located could potentially be a venue but it might be years and a pretty penny before every case of eminent domain is settled.