New York Cosmos Played First NASL Game Against the St Louis Stars 40 Years Ago

Cesar Diaz@@gritwriterCorrespondent IIApril 15, 2011

Thanks Werner!
Thanks Werner!

Actions are the seed of fate deeds grow into destiny.” - Harry S Truman

Long before Pelé, Giorgio Chinaglia, Franz Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto, and many former New York Cosmos legends joined the team, the New York Cosmos had already won their first NASL Championship in 1972.

Long before the Cosmos made Giants Stadium their home, they played their first season at Yankee Stadium.

Before playing their first home game at Yankee Stadium on May 5, 1971 in a 1-0 victory against the Washington Darts in front of 3,746 in attendance, the New York Cosmos had played their first official North American Soccer League (NASL) match almost a month earlier.

Forty years ago or April 17, 1971, the New York Cosmos played their first official NASL game. Playing on the road, there first-ever opponents in league competition was the Saint Louis Stars.

Playing at Busch Memorial Stadium, the New York Cosmos played the spoilers as they won 2-1 in front of 3,701 in attendance.

Scoring the first New York Cosmos goal was now Cosmos Legend Randy Horton. While Horton scored the first goal, Wilberforce Mfum of Ghana scored game winner. F

ollowing this historic game, I wonder how many in attendance truly believed that the New York Cosmos would have become most famous world-renowned American Soccer club.

How many in attendance actually believed that the Cosmo would become the "Galácticos" before Real Madrid took that honor? Not many, I'll wager. While it maybe a game that many New York Cosmos fans will probably not know, it will always remain the first official regular-season NASL game.

So why do I know this? Two words: Werner Roth.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009 was the day the idea of writing about the New York Cosmos were planted.

Earlier that day, I was at Barnes & Noble listening to the conversation between Julian Bond, chairman of the NAACP and Dr. Cornel West, activist, thinker, professor and leader. Later that evening, I went to a Kicking & Screening (K&S) Festival event. 

There I met former New York Cosmos captain Werner Roth. Meeting him is equivalent to a lifelong Chicago Bulls fan meeting Michael Jordan. Along with being cool to hang with, we talked a few more times because the Festival was a week-long event.

Obviously, we talked about the New York Cosmos and other life-related topics. During one of our conversations, he suggested that I should write about the Cosmos. I promised him that when the time was right, I'll do it.

What's pretty cool about this is that it was before Pelé announced the return of the New York Cosmos on Sunday, August 1, 2010 at Halftime of the Copa NYC final between Jamaica and Poland.

Sure, this maybe all coincidental, but when it's said and done, I took the former captain of the New York Cosmos suggestion to heart and turned it into a reality. I'm not sure if he'll even remember of our conversations and that's cool because in the end, I do.

I'm proud to admit that it's because of him that I work hard in trying to find interesting stories about the New York Cosmos History.

So I salute you Werner Roth!

Cesar Diaz covers Soccer for LatinoSports.com. He's also a Columnist for USSoccerPlayers.com; your source for American Soccer news brought to you by members of the U.S. National Team.

Easily accessible, you may reach Cesar at cesar@latinosports.com and at Twitter at @CoveringSoccer.


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