New York Cosmos: Wikis


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New York Cosmos
Full name New York Cosmos
Nickname(s) Cosmos
Founded 1971
Dissolved 1985
Stadium Yankee Stadium (1971, 1976);
Hofstra Stadium (1972–1973);
Downing Stadium (1974–1975);
Giants Stadium (1977–1985)
League North American Soccer League
Home colors
Away colors

The New York Cosmos (1971–1985), known simply as the Cosmos for the 1977 and 1978 seasons, was a soccer franchise based in New York City and its suburbs that operated in the North American Soccer League from 1971 to 1984. Founded by brothers Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegün as well as Warner Bros. President Steve Ross, it was without any doubt the strongest NASL franchise, both athletically and financially.

It became known around the world for signing the great Brazilian player Pelé who, though past his prime, was nonetheless one of the team's, and the league's, top gate draws during his tenure with the Cosmos. The NASL folded after the 1984 season, but the Cosmos attempted to operate as an independent team in 1985 before it ceased activity too.


Name and colors

Cosmos original crest

The name was coined by Clive Toye, the club's first general manager. Taking inspiration from the New York Mets, which references "Metropolitans", Toye took it a step further: Cosmopolitans, or Cosmos. Toye staged a "name the team" contest, choosing the entry that matched his planned team name.

For the team colors, Toye chose the green and yellow of Brazil as part of his strategy to lure Pelé to the United States.[1] The club's initial uniform was all green with yellow trim, with the colors reversed on the road uniform - the same colors as that of the previous NASL team the New York Generals, which had folded after the 1968 season[2]. When Pelé did come on board, the kit was all white, just like Santos, while the green top became the away kit with white shorts.[3]

A kit designed by Ralph Lauren was used from 1979 to the end; the home kit remained all white, though with navy and yellow trims. The away kit was made navy shirts and shorts with yellow trim, and unusual socks with then yellow and navy hoops. Later, the away socks were made all navy.

The Ralph Lauren away kit


Famous players to play for the club include Edison Arantes do Nascimento (aka Pelé),Carlos Alberto, Ramón Mifflin, Franz Beckenbauer, Vladislav Bogićević, Giorgio Chinaglia, Hubert Birkenmeier, Rick Davis, Marinho Chagas, Andranik Eskandarian, Johan Neeskens, Dennis Tueart, Werner Roth, Julio Cesar Romero, Roberto Cabañas,Chico Borja, Norbero A. Luna, Carlos Caszely, Shep Messing[4], Yasin Özdenak, Mordechai Spiegler, Jomo Sono (who later named his own soccer club in South Africa the Jomo Cosmos). On October 1, 1977, Pelé closed out his legendary career in front of a capacity crowd at Giants Stadium. In an exhibition match televised nationwide and worldwide, he played the first half with the Cosmos and the second half with his old team Santos.

Much of the New York Cosmos' ability to acquire big players was due to the financial resources of parent company Warner Communications. In the early 80's, Warner was the target of a hostile takeover bid by Australian media magnate Rupert Murdoch. His attempt did not succeed, but afterward Warner sold off several of its assets, among them Atari and Global Soccer, Inc., the subsidiary that operated the Cosmos. The club was sold to a syndicate led by their once star player Chinaglia. This group did not have the capital to continue to operate the team at the level kept by Warner Communications, resulting in a fire sale of many of the stars. By the last season, 1984, the Cosmos did not even make the playoffs. The precipitous decline of the Cosmos after the 1983 season became for many fans and the media proof positive of the grave condition of the whole NASL.[5]

The team was also a member of the Major Indoor Soccer League during the 1984–85 season, but withdrew after 33 games due to low attendance.

In 2006 a feature-length documentary about the New York Cosmos called Once In A Lifetime was released in cinemas. The film was narrated by Matt Dillon and featured interviews with many of the players and people involved in the team.[6][7][8][9]

Attempts to revive the Cosmos

Since their demise, there have been frequent attempts to revive the club with the team name, logo, and records retained by former Cosmos general manager G. Peppe Pinton. Cosmos merchandise is sold to keep the name alive along with a number of "soccer academies" hosted for youngsters interested in the game.[10][11]

With the rise of Major League Soccer, there has been confusion regarding the negotiations between various New York area entities – including past and present owners of the New York Red Bulls – and Pinton for the acquisition of the Cosmos name.[12] More pointedly, there is hostility from many MLS clubs to the reintroduction of the name many see as synonymous with the NASL supernova.[13] Since then, other serious movements to revive the Cosmos include a 2002 group headed by Pele which would possibly have pushed for a second New York area franchise or used the Cosmos name as a traveling all-star team similar to the Harlem Globetrotters in practice.[14][15] Supporters of the movement to revive the Cosmos point in response to the reintroduction of old NASL names San Jose Earthquakes, Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps to considerable success, and the reintroduction of the Seattle Sounders name after intense fan pressure.[16][17]

In a recent interview Giuseppe Pinton stated that he has changed his views on MLS and has offered the name and history to any New York expansion group that steps forward for free, going on to say that he never wanted money but rather believed that the league was not receptive to reviving or respecting the historical significance of the Cosmos. However after seeing the revival of the Sounders in Seattle as well as plans for the Timbers and Whitecaps to join the league in 2010, he now sees MLS as a league that is prepared to welcome the NASL's legacy.[18][19]

The Daily Mail reported on August 29, 2009 that Paul Kemsley bought the name and image rights for the team and is planning to create a barnstorming team.[20][21]

Year-by-year season results



Year League W L T PTS Regular Season Playoffs
1971 NASL 9 10 5 117 2nd, Northern Division Did not qualify
1972 NASL 7 3 4 77 1st, Northern Division Won Semifinal (Dallas)
Won Championship (St. Louis)
1973 NASL 7 5 7 91 2nd, Eastern Division Lost Semifinal (Dallas)
1974 NASL 4 14 2 58 4th, Northern Division Did not qualify
1975 NASL 10 12 91 3rd, Northern Division Did not qualify
1976 NASL 16 8 148 2nd, Atlantic Conference, Eastern Division Won 1st Round (Washington)
Lost Division Championship (Tampa Bay)
1977 NASL 15 11 140 2nd, Atlantic Conference, Eastern Division Won Division Championship (Tampa Bay)
Won Conference Championship (Ft. Lauderdale)
Won Soccer Bowl '77 (Seattle)
1978 NASL 24 6 212 1st, National Conference, Eastern Division Won 1st Round (Seattle)
Won Conference Semifinal (Minnesota)
Won Conference Championship (Portland)
Won Soccer Bowl '78 (Tampa Bay)
1979 NASL 24 6 216 1st, National Conference, Eastern Division Won Conference Quarterfinal (Toronto)
Won Conference Semifinal (Tulsa)
Lost Conference Championship (Vancouver)
1980 NASL 24 8 213 1st, National Conference, Eastern Division Won 1st Round (Tulsa)
Won Conference Semifinal (Dallas)
Won Conference Championship (Los Angeles)
Won Soccer Bowl '80 (Ft. Lauderdale)
1981 NASL 23 9 200 1st, Eastern Division Bye 1st Round
Won Quarterfinal (Tampa Bay)
Won Semifinal (Ft. Lauderdale)
Lost Soccer Bowl '81 (Chicago)
1982 NASL 23 9 203 1st, Eastern Division Won 1st Round (Tulsa)
Won Semifinal (San Diego Sockers|San Diego)
Won Soccer Bowl '82 (Seattle)
1983 NASL 22 8 194 1st, Eastern Division Lost 1st Round (Montreal)
1984 NASL 13 11 115 3rd, Eastern Division Did not qualify


Year League W L Regular Season Playoffs
1981/82 NASL Indoor 6 12 4th, American Conference, East Division Did not qualify
1982/83 NASL Indoor Season cancelled
1983/84 NASL Indoor 20 12 2nd Won Playoff (Chicago)
Lost Championship (San Diego)
1984/85 MISL 11 22 7th Eastern Division N/A - withdrew after 33 games


NASL Outdoor Championships

  • 1972
  • 1977
  • 1978
  • 1980
  • 1982

NASL Runners Up

  • 1981 outdoor
  • 1984 indoor

Division Titles

  • 1972 Northern Division
  • 1978 Eastern Division, National Conference
  • 1979 Eastern Division, National Conference
  • 1980 Eastern Division, National Conference
  • 1981 Eastern Division, National Conference
  • 1982 Eastern Division
  • 1983 Eastern Division

Trans-Atlantic Cup Championships

  • 1980
  • 1983
  • 1984

Head coaches

Athletic trainers

  • Arnold Trachtenberg 1978- 1984
  • John Bruno 1984-1985

1977 squad

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 United States GK Shep Messing
2 Canada DF Bruce Twamley
3 Yugoslavia MF Vitomir Dimitrijević
4 United States DF Werner Roth
5 West Germany DF Franz Beckenbauer
6 Northern Ireland MF Dave Clements
7 England MF Tony Field
8 United States FW John Bradley
9 Italy FW Giorgio Chinaglia
10 Brazil FW Pelé
11 England FW Stephen Hunt
12 United States DF Bob Smith
14 Brazil MF Nelsi Morais
15 Peru MF Ramon Mifflin
No. Position Player
16 Israel MF Mordechai Spiegler
17 Scotland DF Charlie Aitken
18 Yugoslavia FW Jadranko Topić
19 Turkey GK Yasin Özdenak
20 England DF Mike Dillon
21 United States FW Gary Etherington
22 South Africa FW Jomo Sono
23 Brazil DF Rildo
25 Brazil DF Carlos Alberto
26 Canada DF Paul Hunter
27 United States DF Gregory Kourtesis
33 United States MF Chris Agoliati
34 United States FW Roberto de Oliveira

Famous players

Retired numbers

10Brazil Pelé, Deep-lying forward (1975-77) (number retired on October 1977)

Yearly average attendance

  • 1971 - 4,517
  • 1972 - 4,282
  • 1973 - 5,782
  • 1974 - 3,578
  • 1975 - 10,450
  • 1976 - 18,227
  • 1977 - 34,142
  • 1978 - 47,856
  • 1979 - 46,690
  • 1980 - 42,754
  • 1981 - 34,835
  • 1982 - 28,479
  • 1983 - 27,242
  • 1984 - 12,817


  1. ^ Toye, Clive, A Kick in the Grass, pg. 49, St. Johann Press, 2007.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "HE'S NO SAVIOR Toye, the man who signed Pele, on Beckham". Big Apple Soccer. 2007. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  4. ^ "Pinup Goalie: Shep Messing". New York Movies. 2006. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  5. ^ "Soccer Hall of Fame Historian Allaway Pens Book on the New York Cosmos and Bethlehem Steel". Hall of Fame Network. 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  6. ^ "When Soccer ruled the USA.". ESPN E-Ticket. Special. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  7. ^ "Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos (2006)". The New York Times, Jeannette Catsoulis. NYT Critics pick. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  8. ^ "Cosmos shined brightly in soccer universe". USA Today. 2006. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  9. ^ "'Lifetime' exaggerates story of N.Y. Cosmos". 2006. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  10. ^ "Cosmos Soccer Camps.". 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  11. ^ "Why Don't More Americans Watch Soccer?". Voice of America. 2006. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  12. ^ "Red Bulls May Be Mix of Former Cosmos". The New York Times. 2007. Retrieved 2009-06-12. 
  13. ^ "Cosmos' legacy yet to be fully embraced by MLS". ESPN. 2007. Retrieved 2009-06-12. 
  14. ^ "Pele May Help Bring Back The Cosmos; Will Miss MLS Promotion". Sports Business Daily. 2007. Retrieved 2009-06-12. 
  15. ^ "SOCCER: NOTEBOOK; Group Has Proposal To Bring Back Cosmos". The New York Times. 2002. Retrieved 2009-06-12. 
  16. ^ "Seattle's new soccer name: Seattle Sounders FC". 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-25. 
  17. ^ "M.L.S. Opener Touches on Deep-Rooted Soccer Nostalgia". The New York Times. 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  18. ^ "the cosmos, for free!". this is american soccer.. 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-12. 
  19. ^ "New York Cosmos Are On The Market (40 Years Later)". The Offside. 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-12. 
  20. ^ "Kemsley planning rebirth of New York Cosmos". Daily Mail. 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-29. 
  21. ^ "Cosmos to Be Reborn (Sort Of)". Jack Bell, The New York Times. August 28, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 

External links

Simple English

New York Cosmos
Full nameNew York Cosmos
GroundYankee Stadium (1971, 1976)
Hofstra Stadium (1972-1973)
Downing Stadium (1974-1975)
Giants Stadium (1977-1985)
(Capacity 78,000)

New York Cosmos is a soccer club which plays in United States.

League position

1974NASL4th / North
1975NASL3rd / North
1984NASL3rd / East



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