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Garber issues statement on Cosmos

Garber (Getty Images)

The New York Cosmos made waves Thursday with the announcement that they will be participating in NASL next season, the first tangible sign that the franchise will actually field a team after being reborn in 2010 following a nearly 30-year hiatus.

Based on the Cosmos' statement from earlier in the day, the club maintains its sights on one day becoming an MLS expansion franchise, and MLS commissioner Don Garber addressed the Cosmos' integration into NASL and future aspirations, issuing the following statement:

"We welcome the Cosmos' entrance to the NASL," Garber said. "Having a vibrant second division is important to the overall growth and popularity of soccer in North America, and we are pleased to see the NASL add a new franchise.

"Major League Soccer remains committed to securing an expansion team in New York City. The current focus is on exploring a stadium site, but we will continue discussions with several potential ownership groups, including the Cosmos, about the possibility of joining the efforts to bring a second MLS team to New York." 

What do you make of Garber's comments?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. This is spot on. My wife’s from Brazil. When talk soccer with her family there are only two American club teams they can off the top of their head, LA Galaxy and NY Cosmos. It’s that simple, Cosmos is still the only American club team with real global recognition.

  2. Ooh, maybe they should go with something historical, something with local ties, maybe “Real Carolina” or “Sporting Carolina” or maybe “Dynamo Karolina”!

  3. The problem with Chivas is that they seem to be a crappy team with crappy players, crappy management and staff and crappy ownership. It’s a good bet if there were no Galaxy they would still suck and have the same attendance issues.

    You can’t balme the Galaxy, or the two team concept if Chivas USA is run by stupid.

    Anyone who thinks Hispanics will support something stupid just because it is Hispanic,is,well,stupid.

  4. The “new” Cosmos – Chivas USA comparison, is not a very good comparison.

    The only thing these new Cosmos seem to have in common with the original is some geographical proximity and a few relgious icons in terms of some shirts and what not.

    Chivas USA was attempting to shove their clone club’s Mexican heritage in everyone’s face and use it to dominate a market obviously heavy with Mexican Americans. I don’t know what happened but the fact that the club sucks does not help.

    In that sense Chivas was attempting to emulate the McDonald’s franchising model.

    The “new” Cosmos are more like Elvis Impersonators. They should have moved to Vegas and for their first player signed Herc Gomez. He’d look great in a white Elvis suit.

  5. I –Voice,

    “Oh, but this will be in NY, not NJ. Know your history? The team took off attendance wise when it crossed the tunnel to the Meadowlands. There was a reason it left Hofstra. The irony just piles up.”

    Where you living in the New York area when the Cosmos were a big deal? Because if you were then you weren’t into soccer then.

    When it comes to those Cosmos you do not know what you are talking about.

    The Cosmos went from Yankee Stadium to Hofstra to Downing Stadium in Randall’s Island( a real hellhole) back to Yankee Stadium and then the Meadowlands. By the time they moved to the Meadowlands they were such a big deal it was the only suitable place.

    Yankee Stadium was never going to work, it was a terrible place to watch a soccer game and Downing stadium seated 22.000. But the Cosmos need space. If the city had built a 70,000 seater in Central Park, the Cosmos would have filled it.

    “The team took off attendance wise when it crossed the tunnel to the Meadowlands.”

    It was actually the other way around. If you were soccer crazy and lived anywhere in the Northeastern United States the Cosmos were the basically only place to see real live players like Pele, Beckenbauer, Chinaglia, Risjbergen, Neeskens, Carlos Alberto, Dennis Tueart, etc.etc. and they would play teams like the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Rodney Marsh or Argentina with a very young Maradona. And to think the Cosmos started out just a few years before with guys like Randy Horton, and Werner Roth( who were actually fine players).

    It wasn’t anything like it is today. Soccer fans today are spoilt for choice. There was no internet, no ESPN 3, no SBI. You could not get soccer on TV or read about it in the papers. The only soccer pictures came from British magazines you could find in cosmopolitan magazine stores. The Cosmos made a dent in that apathy and so to be able to see Pele and Beckenbauer who were like gods, my friends and I would travel from hundreds of miles away. The Cosmos, who transcended the sport in New York, were a freaking rock star phenomenon.

    It is very different today. Comparing NYRB to the Cosmos is like comparing Justin Bieber to Elvis Presley or Kanye West to Louis Armstrong.

    Whoever these Cosmos are they would best be served by focusing on Queens and Western Long Island. I can’t imagine anyone from there going to Jersey to see NYRB. It is a simple as following the Mets-Yankees dichotomy. Good luck to the Cosmos, they will need it.

  6. It is not a fact but your opinion. They very well may become a major player but they will not over take established brands right away. Now you may say that the Cosmos brand is established but not completely. It is one thing to have a historic name but to live up to it will take time. It is definitely possible that NYC metro area can support both teams but adding the Cosmos will subtract from NYRB. Yes I know where the Red Bulls play and that it is not in the city itself and that a lot of ‘New Yorkers’ don’t want to go to Newark for a game but it is not just about attendance but marketing/apparel and other brand name items as well. I know very well that NYC is not LA but it is also not Manchester either. Soccer is not on the level here that it is globally. Something will end up giving way and it could be the Red Bulls. Is that the right decision? Is it better for team 20 to be somewhere else? And dismissing smaller market cities is not the best way to go, Seattle has the best attendance in MLS, Portland and Van. have good attendance as well. Chicago (#3 I think for metro population) doesn’t do as well.

  7. No, it’s not what we have here. Chivas was and still is a horrible idea because the branding itself is absolutely awful, and they still play in the same stadium as the Galaxy. The Cosmos with their own stadium in Queens is completely different

  8. What Jim said. You keep making the comparison between Chivas and Cosmos because of the whole same city rivalry thing coupled with brand-driven marketing. But they aren’t comparable. Chivas is a cheap ripoff of another league and a silly idea, AND they play in the same stadium as the Galaxy. Cosmos in there own stadium in Queens would be a whole different ball game.

  9. Know your history?????

    Hofstra???? The NY Cosmos never played in Long Island, at Hofstra.

    As for attendance, the team did well enough in a tiny stadium that had no seats — all stone bleachers, as I recall — on an almost totally inaccessible island in the East River, after Pele signed. Before that, the NASL was basically a semi-pro league. However, once Pele was in the fold, it was understood that the demand for tickets was immense — hence the move to the massive Giants Stadium. The move didn’t drive the demand. It was the other way around — the demand to see Pele — and then the other stars brought in — drove the move. That, and the fact that Downing Stadium on Randalls Island was a dust bowl — they literally painted the dirt green to look like grass for Pele.

    Having said all that — it was almost 40 years ago. The demographics of the region has changed. Traffic has changed. There are reasons why the Red Bulls aren’t the draw the Cosmos were in NJ. There are reasons why the Cosmos – or some other New York City team — will be a bigger draw than the Red Bulls. And, there are reasons why having a team in the city will raise the profile for the league nationally and raise the profile of the Red Bulls locally.

  10. Take the word Cosmos out of all this conversation, replace it with Chivas USA, and rewind a decade. That is what we have here. Talking about a population that’s so large, a vibrant city, blah blah blah… NY is like 4 cities, just like LA, just like Chicago, just like Houston. The 4 largest cities in the US. The simple fact is that MLS cannot sustain 2 teams in the same city. NYRB are a laughing stock of the league outside of NY (oh, i’m sorry… New Jersey, where their fans really are). No team has done less with more.

    Now, people keep wondering when Chivas USA is going to move to San Diego, or what new ownership group is going to buy them. They all forget about the large Hispanic community that was supposedly going to support the organization in the LA area(sarcasm). It seems people haven’t learned from their mistakes.

    Garber needs to get out of NY a little more often. Maybe he would be able to hear the laughing a little better.

  11. I’ve got to disagree here. I know a lot of people who want a return of the Cosmos. Some are older, like me, and saw the Cosmos play in the late 70s. Others are younger, heard about it from friends or family, and are enamored of the brand. I still play in a league here in NYC and I see a lot guys wearing Cosmos shorts on the pitch, t-shirts after the matches, etc. The big issue will be finding a place to build a stadium somewhere in one of the four boroughs (sorry, Staten Island).

  12. A team in NY wouldn’t be poorly supported, particularly one with the Cosmos name. The big issue for them is finding a place actually in the city. Hofstra is an absurd idea.

  13. Fact? LOL Oh boy, here we go.. already delusional fan boys for a barely existant team. Futbol is alive & well in NYC 🙂

  14. The day the Cosmos step on the pitch for their first game in MLS they will be the most valuable franchise in the league. That is a fact.

    That is why the Cosmos will return to MLS.

  15. How do you say things like “The Cosmos are soccer through and through.” This team doesn’t even exist. It’s some fanboys clinging to a brand that died 30 years ago. No one cares any more. And people aren’t going to be schlepping out to Queens or Hofstra or whereever to see MLS soccer just because the team is called “Cosmos.”

  16. But my point is that the Cosmos are/were a brand associated with star power and basically outspending everyone. The salary cap eliminates that tactic for 27 of the 30 players, if not all 30 depending on your approach. And I don’t know if 3 DPs will meet the starpower expectations of local fans whom you would be relying upon to buy tickets in expectation of a Cosmos image. In short, the team can’t provide enough of what it would be trying to sell, not unless foreign stars are willing to play for a brand name revival for American veteran player salaries, ie, $200Kish.

  17. The day the Cosmos step on the pitch for their first game in MLS they will be the most valuable franchise in the league. That is a fact.

    That is why the Cosmos will return to MLS.

  18. Makes sense on what levels? This is not Red Bull GmbH, this is some unknown ownership group attached to a historical brand that died for 20 years. This is people pushing for a NYC team on the theory it will draw alongside rather than from NYRB, without a current team or even historical data to back it. Because you can’t pull the “small stadium” excuse and then tell me we can be objectively certain they’d have pulled Meadowlands numbers in NYC. It’s all conjecture.

    I didn’t clamor for anything, I said team 20 is an iffy concept. I’m on the record here as saying we’ve picked the low hanging fruit on down to Montreal. To me we are now to risky sites. I see Orlando as too small, Minnesota as not well-attended enough, ditto Atlanta, San Diego Phoenix and San Antonio are unproven.

    And then there’s this NYC2 business, which I see as mythic in concept and likelihood of success. I see the NYC soccer fan as usually equivalent to Dallas types who will gladly attend marquee friendlies in droves for name players, but probably won’t be excited by a salary cap league with 3 modestly ambitious DPs. That does not scream “Cosmos” to me, and I think the “Cosmos” fans are naive about their ability to spend with Red Bull, a big soft drinks company who essentially treats sports as advertising.

  19. To me, the Cosmos bear no comparison to Chivas. Just because two teams has not been a home run in LA does not mean much for two teams in NY. A huge difference is that they will be playing in two different stadiums. Also, Cosmos is an American soccer brand that everyone recognizes, not a raping of another league’s/team’s tradition.

    The money factor will add intrigue to the league. As the salary cap grows, rosters will get deeper on some teams while others will try to attract stars. How the Cosmos decide to build their roster, we will see. How good that team is, we will see. What we don’t have to wait and see on is whether or not the team will be interesting. They will be one of the most interesting teams in MLS upon their arrival. How that manifests over the long term is another thing that we will have to wait and see, but I, for one, am excited to watch.

  20. To repeat: “and other ownership groups”. I will laugh probably forever if NY2 happens & it ISN’T the Cosmos.

  21. Using NYRB’s attendance figures to dispute a new team IN New York is not a good comparison. Also consider that NYRB has been working overtime to create a brand image and a marketing presence whereas all Cosmos have to do is announce that they are coming back and there are immediately fans hollering from all sides. The recent hype that has gone into promoting the Cosmos is good for them and the league. Does it mean anything? Yeah, it creates excitement (for or against) that not many MLS teams could generate, and it creates a level of expectation for when the team does reach the highest level.

    For the history of Cosmos attendance: of course there high attendance days were when they moved to Meadowlands — that is where the 70k seat stadium was. They moved so they could have higher attendance, the attendance didn’t grow because they moved…

    I am 31, have never lived anywhere close to New York, and I have been following/anticipating the return of the Cosmos. I never saw them play, but I have always known that Pele played for them and that they were a “superclub” in the NASL filled with ex-world class players. I am sure there are lots of people out there like myself who know nothing of the pre-MLS history of professional soccer in the US outside of the New York Cosmos.

    Clamor all you want for teams in places like Minnesota, Orlando, Atlanta, San Diego, etc. Would teams in those markets draw attention from around the world. Would DP-caliber players be interested in coming to league with tread still on their tires to play in those cities?

    This is not a case of expanding just to get to 20 teams like you suggest. The return of the Cosmos makes sense on so many levels.

  22. First year of Backe/Soler was the team left over. Last year was true adjustment to this league and to a salary cap they had Robison 330K and Salou 280K still on the books(not to mention the Gold Cup ball drop).

    Even with this difunction the product on the field far surpasses that of ’09 and dare I mention ’99. But also let’s face other facts: Do Tim Ream and Ryan Meara say more about te talant available in the Draft or Backe/Soler. Agudelo isn’t exactly lighting it up at Chivas(although I haven’t watched closely). Now the wisdom of the DeRo for McCarty trade is visable(DeRo may be playing well but his legs are going, McCarty is still a spring chicken).

    There is also the culture of Pro sports in NY. Teams here spend a fortune on players and sometimes they fail epically and the fans turn on them. Backe/Soler make decisions that aren’t always obvious, but they are their decisions. They have been doing this for 30 years or so. Firing him after last season would exaserbated the greater problem with RBNY. No way was anyone going to fix everything after ’09 in just a couple years.

    Everyone is upset about payrolls when really they will onlyremeber titles. Which is where the big problem is. But mainstream America’s dysfunctional relationship is enough to undercut RBNY’s dysfunction…for now.

  23. They avg 19,000 last year not 10 and to put down a team that has gone so many games without half of their team b/c of injury/international call ups with in the past 2 yrs, is just plain stupid.

  24. MLS can’t have a team called the Railhawks, thats only slightly better than Atlanta Silverbacks. What is another possible name, something with a historical connection to the area. Also the logo is ridiculous, unless they want to be an arena football team.

  25. Reread his statement in that article. I was merely wondering if the promotion/relegation system with NASL may be in the future. Remember the clocktime used to count down to zero but have changed to match the international standard clock time count. MLS is slowly evolving to be more on the international level. That is where I wondered about what he may have meant by that statement.

  26. The Cosmos are more ambitious and soccer focused than Red Bull. Red Bull is an energy drink marketing empire looking to expand their brand via big hype publicity moves like a completely owner funded state of the art SSS and maximum mega-watt DPs in arguably the biggest media market on the planet.

    (DPs are not what make a quality football team btw, as that formula has never won an MLS Cup until Beckham & co finally did it last year. They top heavy the team, creating salary and quality inadequacies in the remaining positions. Forcing you to find diamond-in-the-rough minimum salary rookies like Maera/Tchani/Agudelo etc, otherwise the formula doesn’t work. This is very hard to do. But superstar DPs are great for hype, and filling seats, and promo shots holding “product”. Exactly what Red Bull wants to do. Aging slowing oft injured DPs are not necessarily great for winning games in a fast paced physical league like the MLS.)

    The Cosmos however, are soccer through and through. They have plans on the board to build an iconic 40k seat stadium (capable of holding internationally sanctioned FIFA events). They have the pedigree. And are focused on the right things. Which is going to make all the difference.

  27. You’re right: Charleston is averaging 3800+ in the USL Pro, Carolina is averaging 4k+, and Atlanta is averaging 3200+. Clearly no one in the South cares about soccer.

    It is nice to see the large city mentality is still around to provide automatic justification. I’m almost curious enough to break down each MLS, NBA, and MLB franchise by means of absolute and percent attendance.

  28. good points but its not about the money. The NY Cosmos are still regarded as one of the biggest soccer teams in the world, most people in Europe know them. Only the Galaxy can say that and they aren’t regarded with the same history, not even close

  29. How does it matter who wins what? All that should matter is fan support, not titles won by other teams in the area. I don’t think MLS needs a second NYC team any time soon, nor does it not a second LA team (nor did it ever, nor will it ever), but the one aspect of the Red Bulls that MLS will look at in terms of prospective sustainability for a second local franchise will be that teams on-field success, for it truly has nothing to do with the Cosmos’ own success.

  30. I might agree if we were talking about another city… but this is New York, compared to the rest of the country it’s really at least 3-4 cities if not more. Plenty of room for a 2nd MLS side, probably even more than 2 though that definitely wont happen.

  31. Sounds somewhat reminiscent of Chivas hubris which should have been immediately evident when setting up a US version of a team whose unique aspect is being exclusively Mexican. They’ve since tried to reconfigure as hispanic, so-cal, etc. Ironically a pre-branded entity still in search of an identity.

    Bears noting that the Cosmos’ claim to fame used to be all the stars but this is a 3 DP salary cap league. So you get Henry, Marquez, one more dude, and then you’re filling the team with a GK you drafted from college, etc. Do it wrong you’re Galaxy c. Gullit year. Even done well, will a mere splashing of a few stars outshine RB? Who do you think has more money, “Cosmos,” or a soft drink maker who buys F1 titles and owns multiple soccer teams plus a stadium?

  32. “Atlanta, St. Louis or a Florida team.”

    Three proven pro soccer team graveyards.

    Red Bulls are a New Jersey team but if you ddon’t live in the area you will never understand what that means.

  33. Some would say the whole 20th team mentality is the problem, the assumption that we have to expand, to add a team no matter what and that the need allows us to finesse issues like, oh, worthiness.

    NY currently pulls 17K, 68% of capacity, in a 25K stadium. That’s fewer people than Philly and I don’t hear a Philly 2 drumbeat. C’mon, let’s be real, this would be like Chivas. People are not going to show up for the Cosmos unless it has Pele too.

    But players and fans want NY? Not what the % of capacity suggests, and the notion of creating a team just to give 3 more foreign DPs a home, even if the organization itself is jacked? Really? Tail’s wagging the dog.

    Oh, but this will be in NY, not NJ. Know your history? The team took off attendance wise when it crossed the tunnel to the Meadowlands. There was a reason it left Hofstra. The irony just piles up.

    The notion that expansion would make the other teams money is part of what buried NASL. No one will care about the fees if the league ends up saddled with the next imploded Fusion/ Mutiny/ NO Hornets to soft-land.

    The irony to me is that the serendipitous choices like Seattle and Toronto have far outpaced the brand-driven big city obsessions like Chivas USA. Garber wishes it would work but wish in one hand, etc.

  34. Welcome to sports in the ESPN dominated American market.

    Think about the NFL without the Giants and the Jets, the NBA without the Knicks and the Nets and MLB without the Yankees and the Mets.

    And I’m not talking about winning teams just about the media attention.

    For example without the Yankees ESPN would not know baseball existed. Unpleasant but true.

  35. The amusing thing about playing at Hofstra would be that it would underline the history of why the Comsos ended up in NJ.

    Also, by playing at Hofstra they probably build in an excuse for limited attendance. It only holds 15K et cetera.


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