Far removed from their height in popularity during the Pelé years of 1975, ’76 and ’77, the New York Cosmos have enjoyed a huge resurgence lately, but are at risk of becoming defunct unless the North American Soccer League scores a major assist.
Since a rebirth in 2010, and just as they were in the 1970s and 80s, the Cosmos are a mainstay of the NASL. Their imprint on the pitch and in the soccer community is widespread.
Considered by many as a force in the NASL, the Cosmos have won the championship three out of the previous five seasons — 2013, 2015, 2016.
And after a four-year stint on the campus of Long Island’s Hofstra University, the 2017 club relocated to the more intimate setting of MCU Park in Coney Island, Brooklyn. The move not only helped expand its fan base and brand recognition to Brooklynites, but it also catapulted them to their third consecutive championship game.
They ultimately fell short to the San Francisco Deltas, yet in the losing effort, the Cosmos positioned themselves for an exciting 2018 campaign.But, that’s assuming that there will be a 2018 season.
On a conference call with the media in late September, NASL legal counsel Jeffrey Kessler stressed the importance of the league’s upcoming appeal on December 15: “In order for the NASL to continue in 2018, and to grow and to survive, it needs to obtain a preliminary injunction from the court to retain its Division II status,” said Kessler.
NASL interim commissioner Rishi Sehgal confirmed last month that they remain confident about regaining their Division II status, which had been rescinded by the U.S. Soccer Federation. Also part of Sehgal’s announcement was that the defending champion Deltas and FC Edmonton would not return next season.
Despite the hearing quickly approaching, Sehgal has been buoyed by the number of expansion candidates that have expressed interest in joining the NASL.
As the fate of the NASL rests with the court’s decision on Friday, an injunction would benefit the Cosmos the most, as they would like to get back to the business of winning.