New York Cosmos: Club's Revival Will Make Them the 20th Club in MLS

Andrew Jordan@@Andrew_JordanSenior Writer IAugust 1, 2011

NEW YORK - AUGUST 01:  Soccer Legend Pele (center) with President of the United States Soccer Federation Sunil Gulati (L)and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) announces the return of The New York Cosmos at Flushing Meadows Corona Park on August 1, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for the New York Cosmos)
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Once the most popular soccer club in the world, the New York Cosmos have done a tremendous amount of work throughout the last year to resurrect a team that was once extinct.

The Cosmos hard work included but was not limited to the following: getting a legendary Cosmo to become their honorary president, buy advertising space in Times Square, getting an office in SoHo Manhattan and the hiring of a new club director for soccer.

But in June of this year, it was announced that the Cosmos would oppose Manchester United in the testimonial match for former United midfielder Paul Scholes on August 5 at Old Trafford.

This match will be the first match for the Cosmos since 1985, and will contain a mix of stars from not only the Cosmos U-23 side, but also stars throughout the world.

These stars include current players such as Brad Friedel, Wayne Bridge and Robbie Keane alongside retired players including former Manchester United players Gary Neville and Dwight Yorke, plus recently retired players Fabio Cannavaro and Patrick Vieira.

Of course money does play a big role in the decision to have the Cosmos appear at Scholes' testimonial match, but this money is going to further help the Cosmos get back onto the map.

After all, money is one part of the Cosmos' existence that cannot be overlooked.

Pele's arrival forever changed American soccer
Pele's arrival forever changed American soccerGetty Images/Getty Images

During their brief existence in the 1970's and 80's, the New York Cosmos became one of the biggest names in world football.

The Cosmos were not only able to draw in big names such as Pele and Franz Beckenbauer to play for them, but also had celebrity fans and were routinely able to sell out Giants Stadium.

But due in large part to bad finances from clubs trying to replicate the success of the Cosmos, the North American Soccer League (NASL) was forced to fold, hence causing the Cosmos to dissolve in 1985.

However, the Cosmos were able to not only prevent the death of American soccer in the 1970's, but also helped to provide the framework for the future of American soccer.

If it weren't for the Cosmos, the United States probably would not be capable of qualifying for the World Cup and definitely would not have hosted the 1994 World Cup.

To this day, Pele is one of the most recognized names in American soccer despite not playing since 1977.

Following the demise of the Cosmos, they remained out of the soccer scene in the United States for the next 20 plus years.

During this time, former Cosmos general manager G. Peppe Pinton held onto the Cosmos name, logo and records but refused to allow for the logo to be used in MLS. The reason why Pinton did not give in was due to a belief that MLS did not respect the Cosmos legacy.

Pele celebrating with kids following the rebirth of the New York Cosmos
Pele celebrating with kids following the rebirth of the New York CosmosNeilson Barnard/Getty Images

But after seeing some new MLS clubs take the name of former NASL clubs, Pinton sold the rights to former Tottenham director Paul Kemsley and a group that featured Pele as their honorary president in 2009.

Some of the other executives that joined the Cosmos include Terry Byrne, the club's director of soccer, who previously worked for Watford, Chelsea and the England national team and is known to be "best friends" with David Beckham, and Rick Parry, a board member who spent nine years as the CEO of Liverpool and was in charge of the development of the Premier League.

During the beginning of August 2010, Pele announced during the Copa NYC that the Cosmos were reborn and were committed to joining MLS.

In the following months, the Cosmos put up an ad in Times Square to celebrate Pele's 70th birthday and completed a variety of media interviews showcasing what their plans are for the future.

Also, the original Cosmos' top goalscorer, Giorgio Chinaglia, was included as an international ambassador.

In January of this year, the Cosmos made another giant splash when it named Manchester United legend Eric Cantona to be the club's director of soccer.

Eric Cantona is the Director of Soccer for the Cosmos
Eric Cantona is the Director of Soccer for the CosmosChris McGrath/Getty Images

Cantona's arrival not only showed that the Cosmos were serious with another big name in their front office, but also that the Cosmos would soon join MLS.

The Cosmos also were able to hire former American international Cobi Jones as the associate director to Cantona. 

Now that we are several months removed from the arrival of Cantona, there are more advances towards the Cosmos becoming the 20th club in the league.

In a recent interview, Bryne discussed where the Cosmos are planning to play and he has claimed that the Cosmos should expect a decision "within the next six to eight months."

Of course, one of the biggest problems that the Cosmos face is getting an arena to call home but Bryne revealed four locations that the Cosmos could play in.

Those four locations are all within New York City limits, with two of the potential locations in Queens, one in Brooklyn and one in Manhattan.

It was recently rumored that the Cosmos would almost certainly get a new building in the Willis Point section of Queens because the Wilpon family (which own's MLB's New York Mets) wanted to have their own MLS franchise.

But due in large part to a lawsuit from the families that were victim to the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme, the Wilpons would not be able to afford a MLS franchise.

However, unlike the Wilpons, the Cosmos do have the money to pay for the MLS franchise fee, which is rumored to be around $70 million.

However, the biggest event for the Cosmos in 26 years is coming up on August 5 against Man United and a strong performance (especially by their youth academy players) will go a long way to securing a MLS spot.

But after seeing how much the Cosmos have done over the past year and with their legacy, there should be no doubt that they will become the 20th club in MLS.

Of course there are claims from cities such as Miami and Detroit seek a club of their own. But neither city can ever dream about having a franchise such as the Cosmos, let alone the potential revenue that can come in from having another franchise in New York.

The addition of the Cosmos will also allow for the New York Red Bulls to gain popularity. Right now, the Red Bulls have only been able to sell out the new Red Bull Arena three times in a year-and-a-half.

But with the Cosmos in the picture, the Red Bulls will be able to get new fans with the increased popularity of the league in the city.

Hopefully we will get to see the Cosmos play in New York City sometime within the next three years.

Right now, it appears that the sky is the limit for the New York Cosmos as they try to obtain their passage into America's top soccer league.

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