CosmologyBy: Joel Marino
There’s only one legendary soccer team in the history of the US: the New York Cosmos.
You know, the team that in the ’70s brought Pelé and Franz Beckenbauer to Gotham to teach ’Merica what that soccer thing was all about. And for a while, it worked: their games were broadcast on network television, they sold out Giants Stadium, and they won a few titles—when they weren’t dancing at Studio 54. (For more on that story, check the 2006 doc Once in a Lifetime, available on Netflix.)
But the dream was brief. Pelé left the team in 1977, and the North American Soccer League—an equivalent to today’s MLS—started crumbling not long after that. By 1984, the league’s financial troubles forced it to suspend operations, taking the Cosmos down with it.
In the ensuing decades, many people tried to resuscitate the franchise, but it only happened this year. The Cosmos have been playing in the Division II North American Soccer League (no connection to the original one), and they’ve been keeping their legacy alive: with three games remaining in the regular season, the New Yorkers are leading by seven points.
Did you get that? They are playing and tickets are still available.
While the team waits to see if the project for a beautiful stadium comes true in Elmont (just east of Queens), they’re playing their home games at Hofstra University’s James M. Shuart Stadium, which brings the story full circle: even when soccer has come so far since the glory days of the original Cosmos, they’re still trying to create magic in a place that wasn’t even designed for the beautiful game.
So go see them. Legends are rarely this easy to touch.