[NASL] The New York Cosmos are back. Not in MLS -- at least not yet -- but in the North American Soccer League, the league of the same name in which they once
played. The Cosmos will begin league play in the 2013 season as the NASL's ninth team.
No announcement on a stadium -- the stumbling block for MLS's award of its 20th team to a New York group -- or staffing was made, though it was reported that the Cosmos might play at Hofstra Stadium on Long Island, where the original Cosmos played in 1972 and 1973.
“We are delighted to return to our historic home with the NASL and bring the New York Cosmos back to the playing field," said Cosmos chairman Seamus O’Brien. "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.”
O’Brien told New York reporters the move to the second-tier NASL was a logical first step in his group's effort to build a solid foundation and "to play ultimately at the highest level and be the No. 1 side in North America."
In recent months, MLS's search for a 20th team has surrounded efforts to find a location for a New York team to build a stadium. It is examining the feasibility of building a stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens.
The Cosmos' new move is much more modest in scope than their earlier grandiose efforts that included the hiring of Eric Cantona as the director of football and sending a team to play Manchester United at Old Trafford.
A youth development agreement with Southern California club LAFC ended. An agreement with New York's Blau Weiss Gottschee remains in force -- though not before Gottschee, a Queens-based youth club, sued the Cosmos over missed payments.
Saudi Arabia’s Sela Sport and O'Brien's ISA bought out Paul Kemsley, who had purchased the rights to the Cosmos from Pepe Pinton, who held the rights to the name after its collapse in 1985.
The new, new Cosmos received the blessing of Clive Toye, the architect of the original Cosmos who brought Pele and Franz Beckenbauer to the club.
“When the last Cosmos resurrection took place, I called it an abortion, not a re-birth. Unfortunately, I was right,’’ said Toye in an email to Soccer America. “This time, the first moves made are those that I would’ve made myself had I managed to persuade Pepe Pinton to sell to me over the years; so I start out with positive thoughts in my head for the Cosmos and for the NASL, and long may they remain so.’’