On Saturday, the New York Cosmos confirmed what has been rumored for some time now. In a forum with a group of supporters, The Borough Boys, newly appointed Cosmos COO Erik Stover said the Cosmos would return to play in the NASL Fall Championship season.
“We’ve said from the beginning that when we returned to the field, we would do it in the right way,” said Cosmos COO Erik Stover. “This allows us the time we need to build our staff and operational capabilities in a professional manner. But most importantly, especially for our loyal fans, it gives us the necessary time to put a club on the field they can be proud of.”
Stover also told the Cosmos supporters, because of their decision; the team will forgo the 2013 US Open Cup competition.
With the NASL allowing the Cosmos to do this, it puts in question their motives, and credibility.
While there is no doubt the Cosmos brand name has already brought the league attention, at what price and why was their such a rush to push them into a half season of play?
Why can’t the Cosmos simply have begun playing in 2014? That way, they would have come in with Ottowa, who has been working nonstop to bring a NASL franchise to their city, and the number of teams would remain even at 10.
We all know the Cosmos aren’t looking to stay in the NASL for long, but this lack of professionalism in their part makes them look like fools to Don Garber and the rest of Major League Soccer, as they look to expand the League.
If a team can’t field a team to start a season, logic would say to make that team wait until the 2014 season to begin playing in the NASL.
“It is nearly impossible to deliver on our primary objective – which is to be a proper soccer club – in three months,” Stover said. “We literally don’t have the ability to sell tickets now. It’s not possible. We don’t have a ticket service provider. We don’t have any staff. We have a coach, no players.”
“My biggest fear if we went out there in March is we’d be playing with a rubbish club,” Strover confessed. “Nobody wants that.”
Tell that to the Minnesota Stars, Atlanta Silverbacks, and the Carolina Railhawks, who all fielded a team on short notice and didn’t disappoint.
The NSC Minnesota Stars put a team together in 2010 after announcing they would field a team in mid-December of 2009. Starting with no players or coach and using the makeshift staff of the NSC, the team played out its first season finishing in 7th place out of 12 teams and made the playoffs with a 11-12-7 record.
In 2011 the Atlanta Silverbacks threw a team together after having a two year off professional play. They went out, found a coach, assistants and put together a team in time for the season. Although it was not a good team, they did entertain their fans for most of their home games, keeping it close and drawing an average of 2,866 in the process.
In 2010, The Carolina RailHawks had to be assembled from scratch, including all new player contracts. They did so and had a team on the field by the spring of that year. Not only did they have a team, but they actually won the Regular Season NASL Championship with a 17-8-3 record.
The Cosmos had plenty of time to field a team; looks like they were just very slow getting started. The Cosmos announced their participation in the NASL in early July of this year, yet Stover and head coach Giovanni Savarese were only appointed within the last 30 days.
The Cosmos should pay for their procrastination by starting in the 2014 season alongside Ottawa.
The NASL split season dates have still not been set, but the league has said they most likely will begin in late March or early April and go to July 4th. They will break for one month and then will start a new season in August which will run through late October or early November. The winner of the spring championship will host the winner of the fall championship for the NASL Soccer Bowl.
If the Cosmos were to start in the fall, even if they win the fall championship they should not be allowed to play for the Soccer Bowl.
Teams have to deal with the wear and tear of an entire season, and so if teams like the Cosmos was to start halfway through the season, it would give them an unfair advantage. In the case the Cosmos win the Fall Championship, they should forgo the Soccer Bowl and give the runner-up the shot at the title.
If this wasn’t bad news enough for Cosmos fans, David Beckham spoke about him and the Cosmos during the MLS Cup Press Conference before he and his Galaxy teammates won their second consecutive MLS Cup Championship, “I’ve been hearing the Cosmos thing for the last two-three years,” Beckham said. “This is not true. My manager has definitely not had conversations with them, that’s definitely not true.”