Cosmos owner Commisso offers to fund new league with $250 million

Getty Images
1 Comment

New York Cosmos owner Rocco Commisso is ready to splash a quarter-million dollars on a new or revived soccer league.

He just wants some ground rules to be set by U.S. Soccer first.

Commisso and the Cosmos on Monday released letters sent between Commisso and U.S. Soccer that illustrate Commisso’s desire to invest $250 million in personal funds as part of a $500 million deal to fund a new league that would supposedly rival MLS and likely USL. The North American Soccer League, led by Commisso and the Cosmos, is currently battling with U.S. Soccer and MLS in a lawsuit over the federation’s decision not to give the NASL second-division status.

[READ: PL Preview: Tottenham vs. Watford]

In communication with U.S. Soccer, Commisso is asking for six changes as well as a 10-year runway for the new league to ramp up. The six changes requested are:

  • Either eliminating the close relationship between U.S. Soccer and SUM – MLS’s marketing arm, or making the conflict of interest policy clear in how certain relationships are handled.
  • Equal representation and voting power for each professional league on the USSF board.
  • Rules to keep MLS and USL from “poaching” (as Commisso puts it) clubs in the NASL or other pro leagues.
  • Barring board members with ties to professional leagues (like MLS commissioner Don Garber) from playing a role in selecting independent directors or Athlete Council members.
  • Opening the bidding process to USMNT and USWNT licenses.
  • And lastly, to re-write the Professional League Standards to include promotion/relegation.

Whether for legitimate reasons or not, U.S. Soccer has been slow to respond. Cordeiro claimed (likely correctly) that he was not around to respond to Commisso’s original letter and request due to the FIFA World Cup bid committee assessing the 2026 World Cup bid by the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

When he did respond, Cordeiro said he would likely not be able to personally meet with Commisso due to the World Cup bid but asked for a detailed proposal, something which Commisso angrily declined, stating it was clear enough in the first letter.

In another correspondence from U.S. Soccer CEO Dan Flynn, U.S. Soccer again requested another detailed league proposal, saying they were open to dialogue without “the pressures of artificial deadlines or suggestions of going to the media.”

Of course, the latter is exactly what has happened. And the ongoing litigation between the NASL and U.S. Soccer isn’t going to help this process move as fast as Commisso is hoping.

Ultimately, while the NASL may have a right to grieve over losing Division II status, there was nothing stopping the league from applying for Division II status and putting together a business plan that leads to long-term success, something that hasn’t really been around since the NASL rebirth at the turn of the decade.

It’s clear now that nothing will be determined before the upcoming 2026 World Cup vote, likely ensuring another year outside of professional soccer for the Cosmos, Miami FC and Jacksonville Armada. Hopefully the two sides can come to the table, and Commisso can move forward with his impressive personal investment into domestic soccer.