Can I visit Major League Soccer headquarters

Cosmos revival with Pelé and Cantona

The headquarters of the New York Cosmos is located in the middle of the trendy Soho district. The office floor on the second floor of 75 Green Street is hidden behind a cast-iron facade in a neoclassical style. The small but fine ambience has to suffice for the time being,

Holger Pauler ⋅ The headquarters of the New York Cosmos is located in the middle of the trendy Soho district. The office floor on the second floor of 75 Green Street is hidden behind a cast-iron facade in a neoclassical style. For the time being, the small but fine ambience has to be enough to manage the fortunes of what was once the most dazzling football club in North America. The great time of the Cosmos, when Pelé or “The Kaiser” Franz Beckenbauer provided glamor on and next to the square, has been over for more than 30 years.

Kung Fu Eric on board

Now the club is about to make a comeback. In 2013 at the latest, the makers want to return to professional football, into Major League Soccer (MLS). And since the show is at least as important as sporting success in the Big Apple, Eric Cantona was hired as manager at the beginning of the year. A figure who appeared uncompromisingly as a footballer or later as an actor and political activist, and sometimes also appeared, for which it was sometimes severely punished. Like in 1995 after a kung fu kick against an English hooligan who racially insulted the then Manchester United player. This was followed by a nine-month ban.

The Frenchman recently described the contribution as the “high point” of his career. Another is to follow now. «The Cosmos revival is a wonderful project. I love this unique mix of sport and art, ”says the 44-year-old. The goal is to become one of the “most popular football clubs in the world”.

Cantona's business is not understated. He was recently voted the best player in Premier League history by the English. And in New York, too, Cantona's charisma should ensure that the Cosmos tie in with the time of footballing freedom of movement in the late 1970s, when a visit to the Cosmos games also included a night of disco in Studio 54. Musicians and actors like Mick Jagger or John Travolta turned night into day together with the Cosmos players. "It was the best time of my life," said Franz Beckenbauer later about the era when football and partying were one. Now they are planning the revival in New York.

Stadium question unresolved

The former captain of the US soccer team, Cobi Jones, should also help. Most recently he played like David Beckham for the Los Angeles Galaxy, now Jones is said to contribute insider knowledge. “I am proud to be able to work on this ambitious project,” he says. In his opinion, the chances of a successful future are good. Although the competition has a head start, it can be "caught up very quickly". In a league in which old stars like Beckham or Thierry Henry are considered the ultimate, absolutely understandable.

Financially it looks more difficult. At the beginning of March, the entire Cosmos group traveled through Asia to swear the currently booming football market to the upcoming revival. Also on board were Honorary President Pelé and Managing Director Paul Kemsley, who was Tottenham Hotspur's Vice President until 2009. "We were enthusiastic about the reactions in Asia," says Kemsley and adds: "The whole world should know: The New York Cosmos are back." However, the response in Europe is still more than meager.

Kemsley did not want to comment on the budget. Insiders assume a dollar amount in the three-digit million range that the Cosmos would have to raise within the next two years to buy into the MLS. There are currently 16 clubs in the MLS, 3 more are to be added in 2012, the Cosmos would be the 20th team in 2013. The biggest problem, however, is the lack of infrastructure. The New York club has neither a stadium nor a training ground. "We're looking for suitable locations in Queens, Manhattan or Brooklyn," says Kemsley.

After all, negotiations with a team from the fourth-rate USL Premier Development League are about to be concluded. From 2012 a U-23 team will play in the second division. As a venue, the Aviator Field in Brooklyn, which can hold 2000 spectators, or the twice as large Icahn Stadium at the southern end of Manhattan are under discussion. Temporary solutions that would be too small for the MLS. Up to 30,000 spectators attend top games there.

But soccer is still having a hard time in the USA. Basketball, baseball and football are making the sports headlines. The "New York Times" deals with the MLS on its last sports page - together with the European leagues. At the start of the MLS season on March 15, the play-offs in college basketball ran on the pubs' screens. And when soccer is shown, it is mainly the Premier League.

Henry remains unrecognized

“Everywhere we play, spectators come into the stadium in Arsenal jerseys. The Premier League is omnipresent here, ”says Thierry Henry, one of the (old) stars of the New York Red Bulls. He strolls through the streets of Soho in a T-shirt - past pubs, diners and cafes. But the football star from France cannot attract the attention of passers-by. Only a few tourists from Germany stop and pull out their cell phones - Henry is still a star in Europe. “Most New Yorkers don't even know there's a soccer team,” he believes. He is following the plans of the Cosmos with great interest. If anyone can make a comeback, says Henry, it is Cantona.