Tuesday, February 09, 2010 |
Face it: American soccer will never be rid of the specter of the New York Cosmos until the club returns or professional soccer in the US and Canada suddenly ceases to exist forever.
And since I'd be willing to bet that the latter just isn't happening (sorry, Mr. Rome), we're really only left to wait until someone steps up to return the Cosmos name to the pinnacle of soccer in the United States. But with the status of the name, its ownership, the lack of stadium options in New York City and the uncertainty of which league a revived Cosmos would actually play in, there's no telling how long it might take. Never mind that it's unclear which league a revived Cosmos would actually enter.
The ownership of the Cosmos name has been a matter of contention since the team shut down in 1985, with a hanger-on named Peppe Pinton emerging from the rubble. Pinton sold the rights to former Tottenham vice-chairman Paul Kemsley back in August; what Kemsley plans to do with the Cosmos name is anyone's guess.
A few possibilities have been bandied about, however. Kemsley's only comments to this point have been an avowal to turn the Cosmos into a "lifestyle brand"; as that is a vague and non-specific appellation, the only guesses so far involve Kemsley putting together a barnstorming team that would tour the globe. When talking about a return of the Cosmos, that isn't really what most people have in mind.
MLS doesn't appear likely, at least not yet, and though there are options to play in other leagues (it would appear), would putting the Cosmos in Division II really be a good idea? The owners of the brand would be cutting themselves off at the knees if they chose to enter a league with a smaller profile than MLS.
I myself tackled the question of a Cosmos team entering MLS a few months back, and while I ultimately decided that the juice would be worth the squeeze for America's top flight, I certainly wasn't positive it would be a good idea.
All of this comes up because there are subtle signs appearing that the Cosmos name is being revived in some fashion, at least in a business sense. It's what prompted Mark Fishkin to examine the possible forms a new Cosmos could take, what has the Borough Boys supporters group pushing an online petition (aimed at MLS), and what has that same concern starting a blog called "This is Cosmos Country" with tantalizing references to meetings with people connected to the Cosmos name ownership group.
Perhaps the most tangible evidence that the Cosmos are back on the scene in New York City is their logo, the one made so famous by Pele, Bekenbauer, Chinaglia and Co., painted on a brick wall (supposedly) somewhere in the Big Apple.
This little nugget, by the way, comes via the aforementioned This is Cosmos Country blog. Done by a London-based design firm, the logo's mere appearance is enough to excite anyone desperately awaiting the return of the Cosmos.
There's something very Arthurian about the whole thing, as if the second coming of the New York Cosmos will somehow invigorate American soccer and accelerate the slow curve of growth.
I'm not sure that's the case, but I'll admit that I'm suddenly much more intrigued about a new Cosmos than I was before. These small signs and new discussion have me thinking how wonderful a thing a New York derby would be, or how much American soccer could benefit from having a team in the heaving melting pot of NYC proper.
I hope to talk to the Borough Boys about those mysterious meetings in the near future, as soon as they are allowed to do so; for the time being, I'll be looking to see if there are more subtle signs and hoping that the Cosmos revival isn't just the Harlem Globetrotters in soccer form.