Tonight is the night that fans of the New York Cosmos have been waiting for.
After almost three decades in the soccer abyss, the Cosmos will finally begin play once again as a professional soccer team in North America. Albeit in the second-tier this time out.
Their first game back in the NASL against the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers this evening may not be as glamorous as Pele, Franz Beckenbauer and a plethora of cheerleaders at Giants Stadium in the 1980s. But it is the start of what the Cosmos hope will be a successful journey back to the upper echelons of soccer in the USA.
But it is poignant. Often during the 80s the Strikers and Cosmos battled it out in the NASL and it’s only right that the rivalry between those two franchises is reborn on the same day that the Cosmos are. These two teams last met on May 8, 1983, as the great Giorgio Chinaglia scored twice for the Cosmos in a 3-2 victory.
Earlier this week the club’s Honorary President, Pelé, turned the Empire State Building green to honor the return of the Cosmos.
The return of this global brand to action is big news. Many in the US soccer landscape will be pleased to see them return but with a move to Major League Soccer not on the cards for many years, if at all, it seems as though New York will remain in NASL play for the foreseeable future.
Life in the second-tier will be something new for everyone. But ultimately the US soccer pyramid will be stronger with the Cosmos back in business.
And although things are now much different the Cosmos are well aware of their rich heritage, as new Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese points out.
All of us – the coaching staff, the players, the front office – we are very excited to get this new venture going. The Cosmos have such a special history and it’s wonderful to be a part of their re-birth. This weekend, against the Strikers, against our old rivals, should be a great test and a great start for this team, and I can’t wait.
German legend, World Cup winning captain and former Cosmos star Beckenbauer perhaps sums the glamor of their original NASL heyday best.
“Sometimes, in the dressing room, I think I’m in Hollywood.”
However at 7pm ET tonight at the 15,000 capacity James M. Shuart Stadium on the campus of Hofstra University, Hollywood may seem quite far away.
But who cares. The New York Cosmos are back.