Photo by Xaume OIleros/Power Sport Images
By RYAN TOLMICH
Governmental relations between the USA and Cuba have long since hampered sport between the two countries, but following recent agreements between the two nations, it appears that the New York Cosmos are ready to play on Cuban soil.
Reports have recently surfaced linking the Cosmos to a June appearance against the Cuban national team, with a Cuban executive calling the deal “almost certain”, according to Reuters. Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese didn’t quite go that far on Wednesday, but he did admit that there has been discussions between the two parties.
“What I can tell you right now is that we have had dialogue with the Cuban federation, some very positive conversations,” Savarese said on a conference call. “There will be more information coming soon, about what it is all about. There will be more information in the next few days.
“At the moment, the most important thing is that we’ve had very good conversations with the Cuban federation. We’ve been talking to them for a few weeks and more information will be coming in the next few days.”
Here are some more of Wednesday’s NASL news and notes:
NASL LOOKING INTO FANTASY SOCCER
Fantasy sports have become a major marketing tool for league’s around the world, and one fans tweet may have gotten the NASL into the fray.
Commissioner Bill Peterson says that the league is pursuing the addition of an NASL fantasy option with Yahoo after the site responded to a fans tweet gauging interest in the league. Following Yahoo’s admission of interest, Peterson says that the league is set to explore the inception of an NASL fantasy league.
“I’ve been telling people to retweet that thing like crazy,” Peterson told SBI. “I thought that was a great response from them. I don’t know if I would have expected it. It’s not something that we’ve been too focused on, but we’re going to explore it with these people because it would be a lot of fun for our fans and to expose NASL to a lot of other fans. I’m all for it and we’re going to see if we can get our fans to write in or retweet Yahoo and see if we can get a conversation to get these things going.
In addition, the league remains in pursuit of inclusion in EA Sports’ popular FIFA video game series, which is something Peterson believes is possible in the next year or two.
“I’ve had conversations with them in the past,” Peterson said, “and, as expected having not been in this business a long time, the response was that we needed to get a little bit further down the road and have a little bit more attention on the league and also have more teams. I’m guessing maybe next year this time, or maybe later this year, we’ll be having those conversations as we look at 2016 and 2017.
“If we keep doing what we’re doing and keep growing, we’re going to have that. It costs a lot of money to set that up as well and as soon as they feel that they can get the return on it, they’re going to come and do it. That’s for sure.”
MINNESOTA UNITED LOOKING TO BUILD BRAND, UNITY IN BRAZIL
After all of the success that was kickstarted by last season’s trip to England, Minnesota United are taking the opportunity to spend part of the preseason in one of the world’s top soccer countries.
Minnesota United are set to depart for Brazil on Wednesday for a 12 day stay. Head coach Manny Lagos says that trips like these are an essential part of both growing his team, both on the field and off it.
“I think we found, both from a sporting side and a branding side, that the networking and just trying to build relationships globally brings a lot of value,” Lagos said. “We’re looking to do the same thing with this trip. From a sporting side, we’re looking to have a preseason that challenges us on the field in terms of competition, but also we found a lot of unity in terms of the trip last year. We’re looking forward to a key part of our preseason and having that same type of environment”
The trip also gives Minnesota United a chance to integrate some of the team’s new faces. Following a busy offseason that saw the signings of MLS veterans Kalif Alhassan and Johnny Steele, Champions League veteran Ibson and Cameroonian international Sammy N’Djock, Lagos is looking forward to getting some of the new guys up to speed with the team’s returning players.
“That’s why this preseason trip is important,” Lagos said. “We have to kind of get, hopefully, those guys to push our level and become better. Also, they now have the challenge of coming into a group that has high expectations that are important for the club.”
COSMOS IN PURSUIT OF LOAN FOR STRIKER
The New York Cosmos’ offseason has been highlighted by the introduction of Spanish legend Raul, but it appears that the club is in pursuit of another goalscorer from the very same country.
Head coach Giovanni Savarese revealed Tuesday that the club is currently talking to an unnamed forward that is currently plying his trade in Spain.
“The one that we’re currently talking to will be a loan,” Savarese said via conference call. “The player that we’re talking to is currently under contract in Spain. At the moment, we’re looking to bring in a player on-loan at the moment.”
If acquired, the forward would join an attacking unit that currently features Raul, Mads Stokellien, David Diosa and Lucky Mkosana.
What do you think of these notes? Excited to see the Cosmos play in Cuba? Would you be interested in playing NASL fantasy soccer?
Share your thoughts below.
I’m not that into fantasy leagues but I would love to see NASL in EA sports FIFA! Can’t really see it happening in the next two years (maybe the next 5 if the league keeps growing) but as soon as it’s out I’d get a copy.
If the Cosmos were ever to get their own stadium,, Redbulls and NYCfc, are done in n.y.!!!
The Love Poem of Slowleftarm:
I have a slow left arm
It means to do no harm
But when I see the Cosmos spending cash
I want to go and smash
Why should anyone enjoy
Anything other than what I see fit
I LOVE YOU, MLS!
All other leagues are sh#t
Damn those who think otherwise
Only the left arm knows what’s right
Damn you, NASL!
For keeping me up at night
I do not know why I obsess
Is my left arm going insane?
I am sorry if I digress
It is to MLS loyal I remain
I am obsessed with putting down the Cosmos and NASL. I lie in bed all night in my mom’s basement, unable to sleep due to their existence.
Help me please!
I am becoming unhinged!
I guess if you can’t rebut my jabs at Hempstead Cosmos, unoriginal ad hominem attacks are your only option.
Hey Cosmos…would you mind putting in a good word with the Cuban federation regarding a release for Ozzie Alonso?
Well you can’t say they aren’t ambitious. The FIFA thing would more than fantasy soccer would, because part of fantasy footballs success is the huge racing fan base, which is something NASL, or really american soccer, are no where near in comparison. These seem like desperation moves to not be left farther back in the MLS dust storm, and if Minnesota United gets approved on an MLS bid, the league will take a huge drop off. NASL has to be seating and praying the bid goes through for Sacramento and Miami, while MU and San Antonio stay put.
Slightly off topic, but I’d like to see all of our leagues do a better job connecting with gambling culture.
American leagues tend to fight it out of a fear of corruption even in municipalities were betting is legal
Wagering is a big part of global football culture and single day Fantasy is one of the fastest growing sectors in the gaming industry
You see the pattern, right?
It’s always the Cosmos & Minneapolis doing the heavy lifting.
If NASL want’s to be anything – they need more owners with real ambition.
I can’t imagine they’ll find them with their D2 status
Are you even paying attention? San Antonio has a soccer specific stadium. Indy is pushing one through the state legislature. Tampa Bay is renovating Al Lang Stadium. And throughout the league, we’ve seen quality (D2) signings. Is there a bit of dead weight in NASL ownership at this time…for sure, but to say there’s no ambition beyond NYC and Minneapolis tells me you have no idea what’s going on with the league. If you’re in an MLS market or a Euro snob, it’s your prerogative to not keep up with the NASL. Just refrain from making stupid comments about the league.
yes, what Newton said.
I think you can Ottawa to the list of clubs to be proud of. Not a SSS, but a great newly renovated stadium.
Just looks like MN and NY are really cold this time of year so they need to go to warmer climes to get their preseason work in. NASL ownership is much better than it was 3-4 years ago, and I believe it will be even more “ambitious” 3-4 years from now.
NASL in FIFA….that would be awesome. Skeptical, but very hopeful. Then the US Open Cup could have them in it ?
Get FIFA to put in CCL, rediculous that is doesn’t…
that would be huge! id love to see the whole fifa game expand; USOC, CCL, NASL and a good amount of SSS would be good for North America, Copa Libertadores in South America. expand into some of the great national team competitions around the world too.
Looks like Cosmos fans already are into some serious fantasy soccer when they act like they’re a big time relevant club.
But some MLS clubs should be envious of the Cosmo’s Marketing Department. I see them doing more than the Columbus’, Dallas’ , and Chicago of the MLS world.