WASHINGTON, July 12, 2012 — The New York Cosmos, famous in the 1970s with stars such Pele and Franz Beckenbauer, is going to take the field again. The Cosmos is joining the new North American Soccer League (NASL), which began in 2011, and will begin league play in the 2013 season, according to an announcement by the NASL on Thursday.
Pele made the Cosmos a worldwide name and the most notable American soccer club in the world, before David Beckham arrived at the Los Angeles Galaxy.
The announcement could signal the beginning of the Cosmos’ attempts to be chosen as as the second New York team in Major League Soccer. A number of recent MLS expansion teams began playing in the second-tier of American soccer.
It’s been nearly 30 years since the Cosmos played in a professional league. The old NASL folded in in 1984. The team will announce more details about its stadium, ticket sales, soccer operations staff and players in the near future.
“We are delighted to return to our historic home with the NASL and bring the New York Cosmos back to the playing field,” said Seamus O’Brien, who leads the ownership group of the Cosmos.
The Cosmos began play in 1971, spending fourteen seasons in the earlier NASL, winning five Soccer Bowl trophies and bringing some of the biggest names in world soccer history to North America. The Cosmos last won the NASL Soccer Bowl in 1982. The Cosmos is led Seamus O’Brien.
The NASL is sanctioned as America’s second division professional soccer league in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, below Major League Soccer in the soccer pyramid. The league’s member teams are: Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina RailHawks, FC Edmonton, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, New York Cosmos (beginning play in 2013), Minnesota Stars FC, Puerto Rico Islanders, San Antonio Scorpions FC, Tampa Bay Rowdies and Ottawa (beginning play in 2014).
“We are extremely proud to welcome the New York Cosmos to the North American Soccer League,” said NASL Commissioner David Downs. “As we continue to expand the league and help grow professional soccer in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean, the Cosmos brand and their strong ownership group are a perfect fit with us.”
For over 20 years John Haydon wrote a weekly soccer column for The Washington Times. He has covered two World Cups and written about Major League Soccer from the league’s inception in 1996. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnahaydon
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