While the New York Cosmos celebrates the club's 40th anniversary, the Los Angeles Futbol Club has made the decision to end their affiliation with the New York Cosmos six months after the New York Cosmos announced the creation of Cosmos Academy East and West.
Fielding teams from Under-9 through U-18 as part of the Cosmos, LAFC is based out of Pasdena, California. The club has been ranked the No. 1 youth club in California and is a top-10 ranked club in the United States.
As part of their initial agreement, the New York Cosmos organization was covering the costs of registration fees, uniforms, coaches’ salaries and travel costs that families normally have to pay from their end.
Who ends an affiliation with the most famous American Soccer Club in American Soccer History?
An organization who (1) has a better deal with another party or (2) wasn’t happy with the affiliation. Odds are that we'll never know the reason because the Los Angeles Futbol Club were polite about terminating their relationship with the Cosmos Organization and whether the New York Cosmos organization issues a statement regarding the matter is something only time will tell.
In a statement posted on the Los Angeles Futbol Club's website, LAFC Director of Coaching Barry Ritson announced, “We have decided to end our affiliation with the New York Cosmos and Cosmos Academy West. We wish them all the best in their future endeavors, and know that they will be successful in each of them.”
For the Los Angeles Futbol Club to end their affiliation with Cosmos organization is a powerful message that will most likely be ignored or considered a blessing in disguise. It’s a situation that many will justify as a positive thing because if the Cosmos were part of MLS, those kids wouldn’t be able to sign with the team.
It's one thing if both parties mutually reached an agreement to part ways because of MLS policies on Youth Academies, but it appears that wasn't the case. Regardless of the situation, it's still bad business considering that this involves children and that it was LAFC who made the decision to dump the New York Cosmos.
I know majority of true Cosmos fans, as well as those hipster Cosmos-gear-wearing-newbies, whose form of advocacy is “liking” a cause on Facebook, is considered volunteer work in their TMZ/Facebook/Twitter mentality are more interested in hearing about the Cosmos becoming the 20th MLS Team, the Stadium deal and the latest Cosmos gear they can purchase in the Spring.
If you're a Cosmos fan, hearing about the Los Angeles Futbol Club decision to end their affiliation with the New York Cosmos should be embarrassing because an incident like this is a poor demonstration of the organization’s commitment to grassroots and youth soccer.
I’m not blaming the entire organization, but I will hold Academy West Director Teddy Chrnopoulous accountable. After all, he was being paid to maintain a healthy relationship with LAFC.
Other than covering the games, I tend to talk with a lot parents who have their children involved in soccer academies, such as LAFC, as well as the US-U17 teams. And the sacrifices they have to make, in not only adjusting their schedules so their kids can practice with the team, but also in raising the money so their children can continue with their Soccer Education.
At the end of the day, we have to remember that any professional club who forms a partnership with any youth soccer club, their number one priority should be the children and their families. I hope this situation doesn’t have a negative impact on the families and their children who are currently involved with LAFC.
Update: In a statement that I had received from the New York Cosmos moments ago and it's now posted in their website, the Cosmo Academy West will continue their membership with the United States Soccer Development Academy:
February 7, 2011 – The New York Cosmos confirms that the Los Angeles Futbol Club (LAFC) has terminated its relationship with the club, however, this does not affect Cosmos Academy West in any manner (which includes U9 through U18 teams in the academy) and will continue its membership in the United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA).
As a further point of clarification, a recent article in Soccer America stated that LAFC was ranked the #3 in the United States – in fact, the team described is a team within Cosmos Academy West. It is Cosmos Academy West which is ranked the top youth club California and #3 Best Boys Club in the United States.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.