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Cosmos owner Rocco Commisso offers to pledge $500 million towards American soccer based on conditions


Another NASL owner is willing to throw a large chunk of money into American soccer in order to get his league back off the ground and implement a promotion/relegation system in the United States.

This time it’s Rocco Commisso, the owner of the New York Cosmos. In a series of letters to and from U.S. Soccer made public on Monday, he expressed his desire to send the federation $250 million in exchange for a few provisions. Commisso added that the investment could end up doubling in due time.

He calls for the usual things the NASL has called for in the past few years: the severing of the relationship between the USSF and Soccer United Marketing, and end to what they feel are discriminatory practices against leagues that aren’t MLS and the USL, and, of course, a league system featuring promotion and relegation between leagues.

He also wants the USSF to give new leagues ten years to meet with the professional league standards, citing the history of exemptions granted to MLS and the USL as examples.

Finally, he requested a meeting with U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro and other top members of the federation to discuss a way to make this happen.

Cordeiro responded to the letter saying he was busy travelling across the world in support of the United 2026 World Cup hosting bid and would be unable to meet, although he as more than willing to.

“Unfortunately, I must continue to devote myself virtually full-time to World Cup matters over next the month or more,” he wrote. “Nonetheless, I am in the process of determining who from U.S. Soccer’s leadership should lead the discussions with you as well as their availability to meet in the next few weeks.”

Cordeiro also asked Commisso to provide a more detailed proposal before said meeting could take place, something Commisso refused to provide in his next letter. He was also rather upset that the president was unwilling to take time out of his busy travel schedule to sit down with him.

“So, while hosting the World Cup is a goal which all of us dedicated to advancing U.S. soccer can rally behind,” Commisso wrote, “I nonetheless am more than a little disappointed that you, as USSF’s most visible and influential executive, could not spare even a few hours to personally explore the unprecedented opportunity represented by my proposal.”

The USSF’s response to this letter came in the form of an email from its CEO Daniel Flynn, who would be Cordeiro’s representative at a sit down meeting., on Sunday.

“I am responding to you on behalf of Mr. Cordeiro,” Flynn wrote. “As I believe he stated in his previous letter, he is traveling out of the country in support of the World Cup Bid. This week, he is between Jakarta, Copenhagen and Dubai! This pace of travel is likely to continue up to the vote on June 13.

“Nonetheless, his offer to re-open a dialogue in his April 19 letter was made in the spirit of finding a path forward, and so, as previously noted, he has delegated this matter to me and Board representative(s) to meet with you. Mr. Cordeiro asked me to reiterate in particular that he has full confidence in my role as CEO of the Federation.”

Flynn also reiterates the need for a more detailed proposal before a meeting can occur.


  1. follow up/my two cents: i think the dividing line in mls board members’ minds between “you’re in” and “you’re out” of the picture is single entity. why aren’t builders like drew carey, magic johnson and mia hamm asked to submit a detailed written proposal to become sounders or lafc investors, respectively? imo that’s because if these people accept single entity, that’s why. someone like rocco commisso who would reverse single entity and give ownership of the clubs and their players back to the clubs (not franchises, each club is an entity) is in the “you’re out” category so would say mls board members, i think.

    i’m pretty sure that the nuts and bolts of what rocco is trying to do – if it is club ownership club and players, perhaps no salary limits, pro/rel, – then i’m pretty sure there is nothing “crazy” about this type of thinking, pretty sure it would be like the accepted way we see in many other countries.

    i think what we have here are two competing ideologies, club ownership and single entity and that’s mainly all that’s going on here. no, the mls board isn’t going to let someone like rocco (no disrespect meant) take away their single entity. however, no, that doesn’t mean imo that rocco is “wrong” or that there is anything wrong with the club ownership model, which is used all around the world, yes?

  2. I think 250M or 500million is much too small an amount to ask for changes Commisso wants. As it affects the MLS, they will never go for it. If you want your team in the MLS, buy a franchise like everyone else.

    Also, the fact that if the USSF succeeds and lands the ’26 World Cup, it could mean over a billion dollars (maybe 2x that) in funds toward US soccer

  3. Cosmos owner: unprecedented

    Me: Yeah, no one ever lost huge amounts of money in US soccer. especially trying to get the Cosmos to be a super-team.

  4. This what the net was made for when you don’t have a real leg to stand on. It’s why both of these guys never do interviews with eductaed folks who will, ya know, ask them real questions they will have to answer. They can’t….and they know it. They will look like fools.

    So what do u do? Go to the net and manipulate the ignorant, uber emotional, and little kids!
    Sites post these things because they guarantee cheap easy hits from compromised and limited mentalities! Funny, funny stuff.

    How smart can Rocco be? He bought into a failing league an wasted millions. Any fool could see what he wass doing was dumb and now he is pissed and trying to save face and most likely reach some sort of settlement to get his stupid investment back. That is what folks with cash do. Silva is in it for the rights only. He is sleaze if u know anything about him. Rocco is all about hurt ego right now IMO. he wants his pissed away cash back, feels dumb and is doing the PR rant/itigate routine all rich folks do when they screw up. Manipulating the fools is easy. but it won’t get him anywhere.

    He sounds like a rambling fool at this point. All the contradictions and delusions served up on a platter for the conspiracy/ “smart” internet (hahahahahaha), easy to manuipulate crowd.

    What a bunch of easily fooled sheep. Jeep posting relentlessly. It will change things or someone will hear your genius…LOL. Folks in the real world (99.99% of us) go on ignoring you and what u are. Poor Rocco. Should have vetted better. Never make abusiness decision like that. Man, his ego must really be damaged right now. Makes folks with money angry.

  5. Lol! This guy is hialrious. He and Silva, in their greed for marketing rights, will manipulate every cluless clown out there, If course their base is little kids and the ignorant who are easy to manipulate, so it will get them nowhere, but he hilarity of it all. Insee money to made now, everyone else did all ofmthenhard work, and I want in now!!! Wah! Its not fair! Ill make laughable statements that will get cheap hits for whores, and get the kids riled up! His rants contradict themselves constantly also, its great. How dumb and clueless do u have to be to belive a guy like this and Silva. I know internet fools here will, but thats what makes u funny!

    • Thanks TK, I agreed with you 110%. These two clowns of Riccardo Silva and Rocco Commisso are full of Sh___, period.

  6. quozzel, that is the most interesting new idea i’ve heard in a long time. my first reaction to it is it seems a little scary to me, sort of a financial wild west. i like the safe confines of our salary cap/dp/tam system. i fear what might happen if we unleashed it.

    rocco/nasl: i respect this man and am grateful for everything he’s done to grow soccer. he is a builder like hunt or Kraft and we should cherish him, there aren’t many like him out there.

    Don’t make him write a more detailed proposal. invite him to sit down and talk. hear what this man has to say.

    • He just wanted 10 yrs of waivers instead of the 2 that he got…
      On one level I’m sad that NASL is gone – we need more soccer in the US not less – but they were not running a good business as a league.

  7. Prob should have just paid the $100M franshise fee NYCFC did and saved $400M to allocate in other areas of the Cosmos. Prob b/c this is just posturing by roccs for brains

    • Would you rather have him owning a MLS Cosmos, or City owned by the Emiratis? I know nostalgists like the “idea” of the Cosmos, but it’s now a twice-defunct failure, and to me that’s what I associate both versions of NASL and their historic names with. MLS has now far outlasted NASL — even if we don’t have the Pele equivalent of our time — and the City folks seem like stable owners playing our game rather than a sideshow that wants to change the rules and make things both more lucrative and risky. I like this side of the risk equation. It works for NFL, NBA, and is a model UEFA now looks to with Financial Fair Play. We don’t need “Cosmos,” “free spending,” or “pro/rel” to keep growing well and be a model for others.

  8. Poison chalice, if it was going to work why didn’t it work in NASL, regardless of what “division” it was labeled, why didn’t he spend this money there. Pro/rel and the like “reforms” would wreak more havoc with pro soccer here than a quarter of a billion would be worth, and it would be spent in less than a decade.

  9. This is like North Korea making demands on the US. Yes, we know you would like to be relevant, we know you could make some trouble, but you are in no position to make a list of demands and throw a tantrum when the president tells you to sit down wait your turn.

    He’d be better off waiving his $250M in MLS’ face and try to get an expansion team…

  10. Pro/rel is a different story and one I’d be very interested in, but if you really wanna upgrade the quality of MLS while preserving parity, all you need to do is one simple thing:

    1) Allow MLS teams to sell their DP slots for cold hard cash that they can then apply to their own salary cap.

    Think about what this would do to the game. I’d be willing to guess that DP slots would sell for about $5 million a year (or more)…if you sell two of them, you’ve just added $10 million dollars – financed by another team! – to your own salary cap. Right now the cap is about $5 million (if that) and they give another $2.5 million for TAM…which means a small-market team that doesn’t really use its DP slots anyway instantly inflates its salary cap to $17.5 million – again, $10 million of which is subsidized by other, bigger teams.

    The big teams that are willing to spend in turn could bring in 5-6 DP’s. Very different level.

    • I’ve been preaching something similar for several years. Why sell DP slots? That gives big market teams a chance to stockpile a lot of big money players. Just allow a team to take a certain amount of money (like $5 million) for each DP slot and apply it to their salary cap, if they so choose. For $5 million you can get 10 pretty good players at $500 k each, or 5 very good players at a $1 million each.

    • Superficially interesting except if we maintain the current system otherwise, you get money to spend on DPs but then at the expense of one of the 3 exceptions for which it can be used. In reality I think you vastly overstate the trade value of a DP — unless those millions in value were the rule and not just theoretically possible — and what would really happen is as with international slots and the like, poor teams would trade them for a pittance to rich teams and the league would begin to tier in favor of teams who can afford more DPs against those whose only option is to sell one DP (undercutting your own competitiveness) to get more money to pay one of the few DPs you have.

      So LA has 5 DPs and can afford them all and you’re sliding back in history to 1-2 DPs who you have to beg LA to trade money to pay for.

    • So now I am in the LAG situation of Beckham and Landon and 9 Dwarves where they stunk. While other teams can field half a team of DPs paid as much as the one I had to get them to subsidize.

      Creating superteams is not our goal. Having a full league that is competitive and solvent is. I never understand why the part of Europe people want to imitate is having leagues where 5 teams outspend everyone and share the title amongst themselves, and Europe is as much as a second tier team can dream of, and the elite never worry about relegation, and the poor do nothing else. Where Leicester is a miracle.

      • I subscribe to this line of thinking. I would rather see us find a way to pay our meat & potatoes guys more so that we can raise the overall level of play, not just splurge for a name on a shirt.

      • 5-6 DP’s does not a superteam make. That still won’t get you into the zip code of a Real Madrid or Bayern, who have 24 of those guys on their rosters and another bunch out on loan still on the books.

        What it DOES do is vastly elevate the overall level of play – while giving even the likes of, say, Philly or Sporting KC or RSL pretty close to $17.5 million to play with if they sell two spots.

        They could still keep 1 DP slot, or even sell all 3…and hey, now you’ve got $22.5 to play with. Or basically just short of a million dollars to spend per player.

        Small-market teams could put together SERIOUS rosters of no-name guys that way. Think, what Sporting KC or Red Bulls have right now, but on a lot more juice.

      • I’m not saying a 5 DP team becomes an international level superteam, because, let’s be real, the best teams probably have a DP level contract at each spot and onto the bench. But the closer you get to fielding 11 millionaire studs the less likely any old domestic team can keep up, and also the better chance you have of overcoming any botched DP picks. As it is we are still somewhat in the place where a team can only field so many high salary players, and suffers if the make poor choices or they are injured. If it gets where Seattle or NY can field half a team of people making the whole payroll of Houston a piece, then Houston’s ability to compete is gone. As it is our attendance has fallen off slightly since it went from hard cap to isolated DPs to 3 DPs, because it’s more obvious whether we can spend to keep up.

    • This idea is decent but it does not seem sustainable. What happens after one season? Does the team that sells its DP slot have to sell another one in order to continue financing its $10mm payroll? Seems like they’d be permanently out of DP slots pretty quickly using this strategy.

      You could have a team’s 3 DP slots “replenish” at the end of the season, but then you’d devalue the DP designation but flooding the market with an ever-increasing number of slots. There are some other fixes but as long as you have a finite number of slots, it seems to me you are re-enforcing a “haves vs. have-nots” situation in the long term, as Imperative Voice says.

      • ….Gomer….
        Basically each team gets 3 slots per year. A lot of them aren’t being used right now…and of course the richer clubs are pressing for four apiece.

        Basically, let them sell those spots. For instance, Team A would sell their DP slot to LA Galaxy in 2019, 2020, and 2021, for the agreed-upon-price of $5 million per year.

        That means for 2019, 2020, and 2021, Galaxy can then buy 4 DP’s.

        For 2019, 2020, and 2021, Team A would effectively have a salary cap of whatever the normal cap # would be, PLUS the $5 million. Plus stuff like TAM which helps you buy down salaries below DP level.

        It just means the teams that want to spend can spend more, and it gives the teams that don’t want to spend something of exceptional value to trade, effectively making the rich teams subsidize the salaries of the small-market teams.

      • Sorry, but most DPs are used these days, it’s just different teams use them on different level salary players. That to me is already tiering the league somewhat between a Seattle or Toronto, who spends millions a slot, versus a team like Houston that has never spent a million on the salary for a DP. We have 3 DPs, which pretty much everyone does, they just have 6 figure salaries not that different than non DP. And sometimes it’s not even spent on salary, the DP, as it is on our acquisition costs.

        Under your idea I magically get the money for a change but erode away my own ability to have any number of them.

    • Ok I think I get the concept. Basically the team is “renting” its DP capacity to a wealthy team, who in turn would attempt to rent some amount sized to the number of years it intends to keep the player it is targeting. Yes?

      Not bad, but then again I can think of a lot of ways this becomes very complicated very fast. If all we are doing here is redistributing wealth, aren’t there easier ways?

    • Interesting ideal, but not all DP slots are created equal. Let suppose that KC sells a DP slot to Dallas for 4 Million, but LA Galaxy sell a DP slot to NYCFC for 10M. Small market teams may not get as a much money from some teams as they would others. I suggest an “auction” would be more fair, with a reserve set aside. But I would not consider doing the at all until 2020 and beyond as a new TV contract 3x more than the existing one, would give teams, all teams, about 10M for their salary cap (The salary cap is somewhat correlated to the national TV rights share per team). The economic dynamics of the MLS, as a league and its teams would surely change


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