New York Cosmos
Full name New York Cosmos
Founded 1971
Dissolved 1985
Stadium Yankee Stadium (1971, 1976);

Hofstra Stadium (1972–1973); Downing Stadium (1974–1975); Giants Stadium (1977–1985) (Capacity: 78,000)

League North American Soccer League
[2] Home colors [3]

The New York Cosmos, known as the Cosmos for the 1977 and 1978 seasons, is a soccer organization based in New York City and its suburbs. Founded by brothers Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegün and Warner Brothers President Steve Ross, it competed in the North American Soccer League from 1971 to 1984 and was the strongest NASL franchise, competitively and financially.

It is known for signing the great Brazilian player Pelé and German star Franz Beckenbauer who, though past their prime, were the team's and the league's top attractions during their time with club.

After the NASL folded, the Cosmos attempted to operate as an independent team in 1985 but also ceased activity. The team's youth camps continued to operate,[1] keeping the Cosmos name alive. The name was sold in 2009 to a new organization featuring Pelé as Honorary President. On August 1, 2010, Pelé announced the return of the Cosmos to New York City.[2] The group has the eventual goal of fielding a team in Major League Soccer

The name was coined by Clive Toye, the club's first general manager. Taking inspiration from the New York Mets, which references "Metropolitans", Toye took it a step further: Cosmopolitans, or Cosmos. Toye staged a "name the team" contest, choosing the entry that matched his planned team name. In order to justify his own choice over Nesuhi Ertegün's original suggestion of "New York Blues", Toye wrote dozens of letters in support of the "Cosmos" name, purportedly from fans of the club.[4]

For the team colors, Toye chose the green and yellow of Brazil as part of his strategy to lure Pelé to the United States.[5] The club's initial uniform was all green with yellow trim, with the colors reversed on the road uniform - the same colors as that of the previous NASL team the New York Generals, which had folded after the 1968 season.[6] When Pelé did come on board, the kit was all white, just like Santos, while the green top became the away kit with white shorts.[7]

A kit designed by Ralph Lauren was used from 1979 to the end; the home kit remained all white, though with navy and yellow trims. The away kit was made navy shirts and shorts with yellow trim, and unusual socks with then yellow and navy hoops. Later, the away socks were made all navy.

The Cosmos joined the NASL in its fourth season and quickly rose to the top of the league, winning the NASL Championship in 1972, the team's second season.

The club played its 1971 home games in Yankee Stadium before moving to Hofstra Stadium for two seasons and Downing Stadium for two years. Following one more season in Yankee Stadium, the Cosmos moved to Giants Stadium for the 1977 season. At that time, they dropped "New York" from their name and played without a regional name,[8] but reverted to their traditional name by the 1979 season.

Famous players to play for the club include Pelé, Carlos Alberto, Ramón Mifflin, Franz Beckenbauer, Vladislav Bogićević, Giorgio Chinaglia, Hubert Birkenmeier, Rick Davis, Marinho Chagas, Andranik Eskandarian, Johan Neeskens, Dennis Tueart, Werner Roth, Julio Cesar Romero, Roberto Cabañas, Chico Borja, Norberto A. Luna, Carlos Caszely, Shep Messing,[9] Yasin Özdenak, Mordechai Spiegler, Jomo Sono (who later named his own soccer club in South Africa the Jomo Cosmos). On October 1, 1977, Pelé closed out his legendary career in front of a capacity crowd at Giants Stadium. In an exhibition match televised nationwide and worldwide, he played the first half with the New York Cosmos and the second half with his old team Santos.

Much of the Cosmos' ability to acquire big players was due to the financial resources of parent company Warner Communications. In the early 80's, Warner was the target of a hostile takeover bid by Australian media magnate Rupert Murdoch. His attempt did not succeed, but afterward Warner sold off several of its assets, among them Atari and Global Soccer, Inc., the subsidiary that operated the Cosmos. The club was sold to a syndicate led by their once star player Chinaglia. This group did not have the capital to continue to operate the team at the level kept by Warner Communications, resulting in a fire sale of many of the stars. By the last season, 1984, the Cosmos did not even make the playoffs. The precipitous decline of the Cosmos after the 1983 season became for many fans and the media proof positive of the grave condition of the whole NASL

Following the collapse of the NASL, the team competed in the Major Indoor Soccer League during the 1984–85 season, but withdrew after 33 games due to low attendance.

Although the organization did not field a team following the 1984-85 MISL season, the Cosmos' youth soccer camps, which the team had started in 1977, remained in operation. The camps were run by former Cosmos general manager G. Peppe Pinton at Ramapo College in Mahwah, New Jersey, where he was the team's soccer coach from 1989 to 2003.Pinton retained ownership of the name, logo and records of the club. Further information: New York Cosmos (2010)There have been frequent attempts to revive the club. With the rise of Major League Soccer, there has been some negotiation between various New York area entities – including past and present owners of the New York Red Bulls – and Pinton for the acquisition of the Cosmos name.[13][14] Since then, other serious movements to revive the New York Cosmos include a 2002 group headed by Pele which would possibly have pushed for a second New York area franchise or used the Cosmos name as a traveling all-star team similar to the Harlem Globetrotters in practice.[15][16] Supporters of the movement to revive the New York Cosmos point in response to the reintroduction of old NASL names San Jose Earthquakes, Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps to considerable success, and the reintroduction of the Seattle Sounders name after intense fan pressure.[17][18]

Pinton claimed to have been approached by the MetroStars, but declined to give them use of the name, believing that the league was not receptive to reviving or respecting the historical significance of the New York Cosmos.[19] However, after seeing the revival of the Sounders in Seattle as well as plans for the Timbers and Whitecaps to join the league in 2011, he now sees MLS as a league that is prepared to welcome the NASL's legacy.[20]

The Daily Mail reported on August 29, 2009 that former Tottenham Hotspur F.C. Vice-Chairman Paul Kemsley had purchased the team's name and image rights from Pinton.[21] The Daily Telegraph reported on July 11, 2010 that Kemsley planned to launch a team probably by December 2010 in an interview with Wall Street Journal.[22]

On August 1, 2010, Pelé, Honorary President of Kemsley's group, announced the return of the New York Cosmos to New York City.[2] The New York Cosmos have a partnership with Queens-based youth club BW Gottschee creating The Cosmos Academy[23] This academy will include teams from U12-U18 and will participate in the US Soccer Development Academy. The New York Cosmos also acquired the Copa NYC tournament,[2] a grassroots, World Cup style tournament held in New York City each year.[8]

On August 25, 2010, Giovanni Savarese joined the Cosmos in the role of Director of the Cosmos Academy with a focus on developing world-class youth talent in New York.[24] The New York Cosmos also have expanded the Cosmos Academy to the west coast to include the LAFC as Cosmos Academy (West). Ted Chronopoulos will be Director of Cosmos Academy (West).[24]

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