NASL: Cosmos -- and league -- find their savior

Until U.S. Soccer gave the NASL provisional Division 2 sanctioning on Friday night, Rocco Commisso wasn't ready to commit to buying the New York Cosmos. And if the Cosmos didn't find a buyer, the league would have folded.

“It wasn’t just the Cosmos who weren’t sure were going to survive," Commisso, introduced as the Cosmos' new majority owner on Tuesday, "it was the entire NASL. That’s gotta be said up front."

The Italian-born Commisso, 67, has a long background in soccer -- he starred at Columbia University (1967-70) -- and he was previously approached about buying into MLS and Italian club Roma.

“I wasn’t coming in if it wasn’t D2," he said, "and without me I don’t know it could have survived.”

Chief operating officer Erik Stover described Commisso as a "savior." But the chairman and CEO of cable operator Mediacom won't make any promises about the future of the NASL.

The first order of business: give employees who had been laid off back pay and pay creditors.

"Let's get something clear," Commisso said. "Rocco is not known for screwing anybody."

Then there is rebuilding the team, which took a turn for the worse after they clinched their third NASL title in four years in November. Many of the players have re-signed elsewhere.

As far as a stadium goes, the Cosmos won't be back at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium, where it is persona non grata.

“We don’t have a formal agreement, given everything that’s happened the last couple of months," said Commisso. "We don’t have a formal agreement with anyone right now as where we’re going to play come April."

One option: Columbia. Commisso co-founded Friends of Columbia Soccer and in 2013 the Ivy League school naming its soccer venue at the Baker Athletics Complex the Rocco B. Commisso Soccer Stadium. In October, he was enshrined in the Columbia Athletics Hall of Fame.

“I’m getting into this situation with my eyes wide open,” Commission added. “This is not an easy situation from a financial standpoint. Rarely do sports teams make money and in the case of the Cosmos, even worse. We have to accept the fact that in order to make the Cosmos successful again we need to invest resources and money and accept the losses.”

3 comments about "NASL: Cosmos -- and league -- find their savior".
  1. A. Torres, January 11, 2017 at 8:39 a.m.

    If the Cosmos really wants to win over a fan base and establish itself as the number one club in NYC, it needs to setup in Queens and build a soccer specific stadium reachable by mass transport. I know it's going to be expensive to setup in Queens but is either that or failure.

  2. Gus Keri replied, January 11, 2017 at 9:24 a.m.

    Or Brooklyn. Coney Island or Floyd Bennett field is better than the northern tip of Manhattan island, which is not far away from Yankee stadium where NYCFC play.

  3. Glenn Maddock, January 12, 2017 at 10:14 p.m.

    If the Cosmos are going to survive as a minor league team in a city with 2 major league teams, they need to get far, far away from those fan bases. Go out to Long Island. Fix up a grass field stadium and build a minor league fan base. You cant be anywhere near NYCFC or Red Bulls. That never works in any city. I always thought they would be smarter selling the Cosmos brand to the Red Bulls and play in NJ as Cosmos again. Nobody drinks Red Bull anymore anyway. That's a stupid name.

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