In surprising news, the most well-known club name in US soccer history has joined the North American Soccer League (NASL).
The NASL today announced that the New York Cosmos have joined the NASL and will begin league play in the 2013 season. The NASL Board of Governors unanimously approved the Cosmos’ membership during its meetings this week in New York.
It’s been nearly 30 years since the Cosmos, an iconic global soccer brand, have played in a professional league. Yet throughout the absence from the pitch, the franchise has maintained a loyal and dedicated fan following. The team 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 concluded today, 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. They are committed to putting the brand back at the forefront of North American soccer. The New York Cosmos began play in 1971, spending fourteen seasons in the earlier NASL, winning five Soccer Bowl trophies and bringing some of the biggest names in world soccer history to North America. The Cosmos last won the NASL Soccer Bowl in 1982.
“We are extremely proud to welcome the New York Cosmos to the North American Soccer League,” said NASL Commissioner David Downs. “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.”
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 New York Cosmos joins the league with two other famous NASL franchises — the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Tampa Bay Rowdies.
What does this mean about the Cosmos’s interest in becoming a MLS team? Does it hurt or help them? Share your opinions in the comments section below.