On Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010, the New York Cosmos celebrated Pelé’s 70th birthday by hosting a fan appreciation event at New York’s Planet Hollywood located at the heart of Times Square. Hundreds of Cosmos fans enthusiastically waited in line for their free t-shirt and 2011 official fan ball.
What was intriguing about Saturday’s event was the diversity of New York Cosmos fans. From fans who watched the Cosmos play in Giants Stadium to the fans who were children when the North American Soccer League ceased league play, the diversity of fans was phenomenal because it further demonstrated that Pelé and the New York Cosmos still remain in the memory of many New Yorkers.
Much like the Beatles, the New York Cosmos is an anomaly that’s withstood the test of time. It’s really amazing how a team 25 years removed from professional play still possesses loyal fans who yearn for their return.
Since Pelé announced the return of the New York Cosmos, fans have been wondering and speculating where they’re going to play and when. In addition, they’ve also wondered aloud about the business plan of the New York Cosmos. Do they have the money? Do they have the necessary partners? Are they going to be the 20th team in Major League Soccer?
Granted, the fans have a right to have their questions answered. However, they need to be patient and accept the fact that when the New York Cosmos organization is ready to answer their questions, they will make an announcement. From the very beginning, the organization has made it clear that they are going to be a grassroots movement.
Along with their acquisition of the annual grassroots, World Cup soccer tournament, Copa NYC, and the establishments of two Cosmos Academies, the New York Cosmos organization has already financially demonstrated their commitment to bring back the team.
While the New York Cosmos organization is working towards creating a professional team, the number one priority of all Cosmos fans should be the restoration of the New York Cosmos Nation and here’s how:
Declare Yourself a New York Cosmos Fan
Whether you’re in a pub, at a park or in another country, it’s easy to engage with other soccer fans in a conversation about soccer. During the conversation, the question of one’s favorite team is always asked.
By declaring yourself a Cosmos fan, not only are you reminding them of the global impact the Cosmos made in their playing days, you’re also positioning them to ask questions about your commitment to the team. If you're one on the go, wearing a Cosmos t-shirt is sure to draw the attention of others as you're passing them by.
Educate the Younger Generation
One thing that was evident about Saturday’s event was that there was a group of young Cosmos fans who were asking the right questions about the New York Cosmos. They wanted to know who else other than Pelé played for the team and how many titles they had won after Pelé retired.
By taking the time to educate the youth, you’re definitely creating the opportunity to create future supporters.
Join or Create a Supporters Club
What better way to remind the New York Cosmos organization that you want a team than joining or creating a supporters club? Imagine having a Cosmos Supporters Club that attends a couple of New York Red Bulls games at Red Bull Arena in Cosmos colors to declare a friendly rivalry with the Empire Supporters Club.
The beautiful thing about creating a Supporters Club is that you can also promote the team by volunteering for various nonprofits in the city. If you choose to form a Supporters Club, please notify the organization first and inform them of your intentions.
Utilize Social Network Websites
Living in the Facebook and Twitter world, it’s not difficult to inform your peers that you’re a New York Cosmos fan. All it takes is a few seconds to type, “I’m with the NY Cosmos” or “Cosmos fan 4 Life” on a weekly basis to draw interest.
If you really want to go above and beyond, write about the New York Cosmos and what they mean to you. There are plenty of sites where you can blog and, who knows, you may create a following.
Understand that creating a professional soccer club takes time, and there’s a process the New York Cosmos organization has to go through before they’re awarded the right to be a Major League Soccer team.
Cesar Diaz covers Soccer for Latino Sports. Please email your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.