“I am very honored to join the legendary club New York Cosmos. It’s a big project, a wonderful project. The Cosmos are very strong, beautifully made, with a great past. It’s kind of a mix between football and art. In addition to my artistic engagements, I will do everything that I can to help us first find our way to regain the #1 position in the United States, and then for us to become one of the best clubs in the world over the coming years.” - Eric Cantona, New York Cosmos Director of Soccer
Words are so powerful that it can add value to something or simply cheapen it. Of course in today's TMZ world many are more likely to be skeptical than faithful. As a result, words are only as powerful as the actions behind it. If you live in New York City, seeing action doesn't come cheap.
In the case of the New York Cosmos, some consider the team to be a brand while others believe that it's a tradition... an American Soccer Tradition. With the additions of Pelé, Giorgio Chinaglia, Giovanni Savarese, Cobi Jones, and now Eric Cantona, some have viewed this as a gimmick while others view it as sincere.
Regardless of what you want to believe, the New York Cosmos organization has invested a lot of money in an attempt to demonstrate to their Cosmos fans that they're committed to returning while serving notice to Major League Soccer that they want to be the 20th MLS team. At the end of the day, media and soccer fans throughout the world are talking about the New York Cosmos.
In a tribute fit for a King, Eric Contona was magnificently introduced as the newest resident of Cosmos Country as many were able to see the digital billboard in the heart of Times Square. Since Pelé announced the return of the New York Cosmos last August, the organization has accomplished more in generating attention in less time than what most MLS teams have accomplished in their entire existence.
Purchasing the rights of Copa NYC, posting old Cosmos photos throughout the city, Pelé's birthday event with a billboard in his honor, the creation of two coast to coast Cosmos Academies, supporting the 2010 Global Peace games for Children & Youth, the penalty shootout to meet Pelé, the hiring of staff as well as bringing in Soccer Icons, and now King Eric's welcoming cost money. Did I mention that all of this was accomplished in less than six months?
Despite the organization's effort to show their commitment to joining MLS, there are Cosmos fans who demand to see a blueprint for a future stadium. Patience young grasshoppers... patience.
If you're going to be demanding, then I recommend that you direct your demands to the Commissioner of Major League Soccer, Don Garber. He's been the one who's wanting a second New York team. He's the one who praised the New York Cosmos organization during his annual "State of the League Address" and at the 2010 MLS Cup.
When it's said and done, he's the one who calls the shots. Until then, the New York Cosmos organization doesn't have to show you anything. I could understand if they were officially inducted into MLS, but until that day arrives there's no need to demand further proof that the organization is serious.
As I pointed out to members of the Borough Boys last night, appreciate these moments and be creative in advocating the return of the New York Cosmos. Here are some ways you, the true Cosmos fan who wants your beloved team to return, can help:
Start a letter writing campaign
Write (don't email) a weekly letter to Commissioner Don Garber stating that you want the Cosmos to return. Organize a group or do it yourself but at least do something. Whether he reads it or not... someone will be receiving those letters and you never know who may write an article about your efforts.
Go to a New York Red Bulls game and next year's MLS SuperDraft in your Cosmos gear
This is where I'm going to call out my friends and fellow Cosmos Supporters, the Borough Boys. With the 2011 MLS season coming up, go to a game and show off your pride but make sure you're positioned where the cameras cannot avoid you. What's the worst that can happen, the Red Bulls organization asks you to leave. Now I know you have some writers in your group and what a story that would be a public relations nightmare for the Red Bulls organization.
I'm not sure how the Empire Supporters Club would feel about that but the Viking Army would love it because they understand the importance of a good but respectful rivalry. Visualize this, you're at the 2012 MLS SuperDraft and even though the New York Cosmos wouldn't have a vote, someone will write about your presence. Good or bad... it'll be written.
Volunteer your time
Recession or not, the need for volunteers will never be downsized. Support the Cosmos by also supporting your community. Your name will probably be forgotten but you'll be the individual(s) who wears New York Cosmos gear.
Wear your Cosmos gear on a weekly basis
The easiest one in the list, wear your Cosmos gear on a weekly basis! Whether you're at park, in the zoo, Red Bull Arena, in the subway, Church (wear a Cosmos button), or anywhere else where there's going to be people... wear your Cosmos gear!
You've been given ideas and it's up to you to decide... do I do my part in actively supporting the return of the Cosmos or not? At this point, it's not whether the Cosmos become the 20th MLS team, it's about you looking back and saying, I did my part.
Cesar Diaz covers Soccer for Latino Sports. You may follow him on Facebook at Covering Soccer and at Twitter at @CoveringSoccer and @LatinoSports143. Please email your questions and comments to Cesar at email@example.com.