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New York Cosmos Will Not Participate in NASL Spring Season; Will Wait Until August to Field Team

2012 December 2
by Brian Quarstad

The New York Cosmos confirmed on Saturday what has been rumored for some time now; they will not field a team to start play in the spring of 2013, rather they will wait until the 2nd half of the NASL split season (clausura/fall), which will begin in August, to take the field.

The news came from newly-appointed Cosmos COO Erik Stover at a Q & A event held by Cosmos supporters group, the Borough Boys.

“We’ve said from the beginning that when we returned to the field, we would do it in the right way,” said Stover at the Saturday afternoon event held at a pub to coordinate with the 2012 MLS Cup final. “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 not participate in the 2013 US Open Cup competition.

“Honestly, I think our fans were upset,” said Nick Laveglia, president of the Borough Boys. “Had we not been let down so many times by the Cosmos before, perhaps this would have been an easier pill to swallow. Maybe that’s unfair to the new ownership group but the fans are definitely concerned.”

The team also confirmed that at the moment alcohol will not be sold in Hofstra Stadium because it is a college campus. But the Cosmos stated they are working with Hofstra to see if a special deal can be worked out with the University.

Stover also let supporters know that they are going to be working on getting buses to run from Queens and Brooklyn to Hofstra on game days.

The Cosmos announced their participation in the NASL in early July of this year. Sources familiar with the organization said they were very slow in getting started. Stover and head coach Giovanni Savarese were only appointed within the last 30 days.

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 though to late October or early November. The winner of the spring/apertura will host the winner of the fall/clausura for the championship.

IMS will have a special commentary on this news later today.

43 Responses
  1. Chris A. permalink
    December 2, 2012

    A league that would allow a team to start half-way through a COMPLETE season has decided credibility can be sacrificed. Even with “split” season playoff format, teams have to deal with wear and tear of a full season. Not professional, not sporting, not what this league should be about. All in or wait until 2014.

  2. speedcake permalink
    December 2, 2012

    I agree. Make them wait until 2014. Be sure they are getting this right, which from the sounds of things they are having a great deal of trouble doing as is.

    We should all be ever so shocked that a team called the Cosmos is pulling a stunt like this.

  3. jnutt permalink
    December 2, 2012

    This news is even more strange when you consider how long Ottawa has been waiting to kick off play. There is no way the league expected the Cosmos to drag their feet so much when it came to hiring a COO and coach. This could be a disaster for the Cosmos if they do fail to be the next MLS team. It’s what a lot of fans are expecting.

  4. bullsear permalink
    December 2, 2012

    I agree with almost all of the previous comments. Somehow I had come to expect more to this league.

    Half season or no, this is unfair on many, many levels.

    Further, I’m confused as to how the Cosmos can get out of playing in the US Open Cup if they’re playing in the league. This is really grasping at straws, but the USSF DII Standards that BQ reported on 8/12/10 state that “1 – ii. U.S.-based teams must participate in all representative CONCACAF competitions for which they are eligible.”

    Wouldn’t the Cosmos be eligible for the USOC if they’re eligible to play in the league (for any amount of time)? And doesn’t the NASL season represent a “CONCACAF competition”? A quick Wikipedia check would seem to imply that it is one.

  5. bullsear permalink
    December 2, 2012

    There’s also this little diddy, under stadium requirements:
    “iv. Not later than 120 days prior to the start of each season, each team shall have a lease for one full season with its home stadium.”

    So wouldn’t the team have to pay for a full season lease with Hofstra if they want to participate, even in the half season? They can always get a waiver, I guess.

  6. Ryan Vollbrecht permalink
    December 2, 2012

    There will be some upset teams and fans if they end up with the best record in the fall season. Kind of unfair considering injury and things are likely to happen during the spring season.

  7. Ken Jamieson permalink
    December 2, 2012

    I must agree with the other posters that New York should not be permitted to join half-way through the season. Although the season is split, the two halves constitute the season.

    The NASL is playing with fire going into New York. USL Pro couldn’t make a go of it, MLS has yet to play a game in New York State, despite having a New York team. At least the MetroStars had the decency to call their team the New York-New Jersey MetroStars.

    The NASL would be better off expanding to legitimate soccer markets that MLS has failed to cultivate. MLS brass are not the best at selecting expansion sites, it took them over a decade to give Seattle a team. I am sure Minnesota fans would welcome an NASL team in Milwaukee or St. Louis, or even Detroit, it would certainly cut travel costs.

    An additional US-based team is also required for 2014 when Ottawa enters the league. US Soccer regulations require the league to be 75% US-based, the addition of Ottawa (even with New York and Northern Virginia) will take the percentage below 75%. The league should be petitioned to look at the Midwest for the 12th team.

  8. WSW permalink
    December 2, 2012

    I’m just wondering what the Cosmos mean by they want to field a team that fans could be proud of?

  9. Mike permalink
    December 2, 2012

    “We should all be ever so shocked that a team called the Cosmos is pulling a stunt like this.”

    Precisely. The first word that came to my mind when I read about this was grandstanding. Can’t come into the league with two other teams, or let that new women’s league possibly steal some of their thunder. After this and the Beckham rumor, who knows what they’ll come up with next.

    I can’t wait to see the explanation from the league to try and justify this.

  10. Jspech permalink
    December 2, 2012

    Most people seems to forget in some way the Cosmos being in the league amount to publicity. Didn’t see anyone gong crazy when team & most people at large knows the intention for this group is MLS, which they made very clear at te NASL presser. Most stories I saw talked about MLS, which I thought was way more deterimental to the NASL. No one was up in arms.

    Next thing detrimental to the NASL & Cosmos brand, & soccer even, is a team that has been branded as the ultimate rep. for team soccer in the US to re-enter the scene in NYC. in a 13,000 Stadium with only 800 or so fans. Cause no one here in NYC is going out to Hempstead, LI in the cold spring. The visual will be lasting. (See how not to brand)
    It will re-energized the anti- soccer skeptics.
    Like it or not the Cosmos are about being an event, a brand.
    I would be more upset, as a fan of NASL that the Cosmos are using the league as a conduit, but most probably r not because we like te publicity.

    NASL & Cosmos formed a mutually beneficial relationship. Publicity for NASL, while Cosmos get more time to look legit
    So why not maximumize it. To me that’s what the second half start is about.

    Just before the start of the second half, is Cosmos Copa: NYC’ World Cup. NYC is very diverse, every nationalies has a team, ItalianNYC, JamacicanNYC, PolishNYC, etc. a very grassroots. Cosmos acquired tourment a few yrs back. Gets
    Lots of pub. In summer lot of NYC’ers head to Long Island, for Wkend & day-trip. Baseball only competition in summer, Spring is the worst time for a re-intro in NYC. We are still talk D2 soccer & a business.
    This is not the NFL nor MLB nor r we in Europe. MLS is still a teenager. Let the game mature here before we start barking about legacy.

  11. jnutt permalink
    December 2, 2012


    You might have missed it but there was plenty of speculation and negative reaction regarding the Cosmos MLS aspirations when they joined NASL. This situation is different entirely because it calls into the question the legitimacy of next year’s entire season and maybe even angers the US soccer federation. And that is something you want to avoid as lower division league in America.

  12. Bart permalink
    December 2, 2012

    Hahahahahahahah! More Davidson/NASL spin on the non-reality of class and ego. What next, Pele is going to start in the first 9 games along with Beckenbauer?

    You live with a lie you die with a lie. This is a major smack in the face for NASL, and all the BS that Traffic/Davidson/NASL has perpetuated to this point is now starting to stink and smell, much like that dead diaper in the corner that should have been thrown out in the trash last Wednesday.

    Thank God Traffic has pulled some bling from SUM. They will need it to convince USSF that life is good with D2 soccer here in the good ole USofA.


  13. CoconutMonkey permalink
    December 2, 2012

    No bueno. Better late than never I guess. But I gotta say this Cosmos operation impresses me less and less. Makes it hard to believe they’re actually in the running for an MLS franchise.

  14. WSW permalink
    December 2, 2012

    This is America is all about business. If a businnes isn’t making money tear it down.

    That’s why soccer will never grow at lower for what? you have a fanbase the owner decides it’s not making money…tear it down.

    self-relegation doesn’t work….relocation is the new way of making fanbases. and it’s a BIG FU to all the fans that supported that team.

    Welcome to the United States of Franchises….

  15. Fotbalist permalink
    December 2, 2012

    The Cosmos need to show up or pack it up and close shop. This sad but I don’t think it’s going to destroy everything the NASL has built up this far.

  16. WSW permalink
    December 2, 2012

    Every NASL team will go bankrupt and fold, that’s the nature of the beast.

    You have new ownerships popping saying they will build this and that and say the magic word: MLS.

    what’s the point?

    you have leagues all over the world that start amateur teams with 100 fanbase and they have hope…pro/rel.

    It will never happen here and I don’t care. In America you start at the top at work your way down.

    In other countries you start at the bottom work your way up…

  17. Darren permalink
    December 2, 2012

    It’s not going to help. Stars will still wreck Cosmos.

  18. December 2, 2012

    If the Cosmos want to recoup some integrity after this, they should voluntarily forfeit their right to play in the championship game, should they win the Fall season(an unlikely scenario considering how iffy these reborn Cosmos have been so far).

    Even better would be to man up and get to friggin’ work, and put together a team and front office before March. Teams have been thrown together at this level on many occasions in less than two months. Sometimes less than one. NY doesn’t need to find a stadium, and they don’t need to develop and build a brand(like San Antonio did). Sign some players, get some staff and get going. Absolutely no reason logistically why they can’t play in the Spring.

  19. December 2, 2012

    @Bart, what bling with SUM? I’m forgetting. Are you talking about exhibitions/friendlies? sorry, can’t remember what the bling is.

  20. December 2, 2012

    ok, never mind @Bart. I see the rights to the CONCACAF tourney story now. thanks. sorry for the confusion.

  21. Dave permalink
    December 3, 2012

    Was anyone really shocked by this? The Cosmos have always been a joke and all hot air. They could easily field a very good D2 team with the ex-MLS players out there. That is what the Scorpions did. But unlike the real deal Scorpions, the Cosmos really are a scam.

    The NASL made a deal with the devil with the Cosmos. The NASL badly wanted to attach their name to the Cosmos to act like big shots(that last thing they should do) and get some publicity. Even though most of the publicity around the Cosmos is only about if they become a MLS team.

    And the Cosmos, who apparently don’t have money or organization to become a MLS franchise anytime soon, just wanted to use the NASL as a holding place til they found a money mark that could get them into MLS. And now both the Cosmos and the NASL will pay the price. Both of their brands will be damaged. Hopefully the NASL will at least have the dignity to ban the Cosmos from being eligible for the Soccer Bowl. That is if they even take the field in 2013.

    I can’t wait for Brian’s take. I expect it will not be flattering to the Cosmos and the NASL.

  22. bullsear permalink
    December 3, 2012

    Seriously, WSW, no one wants to engage you on that issue. It is not the issue we are dealing with and you have derailed too many comments threads already.


    I guess I shouldn’t be as shocked as I have been by this. I mean, we know almost nothing about this ownership group, and they haven’t exactly gone out of their way to make themselves known to US fans. It’s clear that they’re in it for what they perceive to be a pay day.

    But I do think, despite this crappy news, that fans actually would have gotten out to Long Island in the spring to watch this team, if only out of curiosity. Just another missed opportunity we can chalk up to poor planning, mismanagement, and too little knowledge of the sport in the lower divisions.

  23. December 3, 2012

    bullsear, I believe the term “CONCACAF Competition” refers specifically to the CONCACAF Champions League and any other competitions CONCACAF itself may create. The requirement, “U.S.-based teams must participate in all representative CONCACAF competitions for which they are eligible” just means if they qualify, they have to play. Leagues themselves aren’t actually CONCACAF constructs.

    As to the general topic: Yeah, it kind of puts paid to the idea of the Cosmos brand being all-powerful and able to transform American soccer.

    And WSW is just lashing out because he’s hurt that the NASL has a bit of egg on its face. As per usual, nothing he says has merit.

  24. snack permalink
    December 3, 2012

    LAME. Hopefully they don’t win the Soccer Bowl. That would be a joke.

  25. Etch permalink
    December 3, 2012

    It seems to me that any news about the Cosmos is also NASL news. Any publicity is a plus.
    In this case, bad news can be good news. Many stories about players and teams in other sports involve some sort of controversy and in fact draw lots of readers and viewers.
    Controversy can help soccer survive in the ASLM world.

    (ASLM=Anti Soccer and Lacrosse Media)

  26. NatureGuy permalink
    December 3, 2012

    “We’ve said from the beginning that when we returned to the field, we would do it in the right way,” said Stover …. REALLY, Mr. Stover?? Ah…but, you didn’t REALLY mean that, did you. I agree with everybody else….the COSMOS ought NOT to be permitted to begin play until 2014. The COSMOS are making a mockery of and de-legitimizing the entire NASL.

  27. bullsear permalink
    December 3, 2012

    @KT,you may be correct about what constitutes a CONCACAF Competition, but I’m still not convinced that’s the final word. My reason is that it would make little sense to refer to “CONCACAF Competitions” when CONCACAF only runs one competition for which clubs are eligible. So why not say, “Clubs which qualify for regional CONCACAF Competitions (or the CCL) must play in it”?

    The more I think about it, you’re probably right, though.

  28. Silly permalink
    December 3, 2012

    This makes the NASL look like a Mickey Mouse league. This whole Cosmos thing reeks of an old “USL” type of move. They rushed to get and announce the franchise before the franchise is anywhere close to being stable or ready. Now they are going to let a team compete in the league while playing only half a season.

    As for the Cosmos, How could they not be ready to compete? With all of the “Money” they have that they intend to compete with MLS payroll, they should be able to sign any player they want in a two week period that would blow any existing NASL off of the pitch.

  29. Bart permalink
    December 3, 2012

    I wonder how much of an “entry fee” the Cosmos paid NASL to become a new member? I would bet not a blessed nickel. This was done for nothing more than smoke and mirrors, a classic Davidson play. Unfortunately for him, that Hurricane named Sandy blew all the smoke away and crushed those mirrors, exposing the King in all his shining glory.

    Is Marcos the new NASL Commissioner? Is NASL now the new A-League?

    Very disappointing, but not at all unexpected.

  30. Strikers Return permalink
    December 3, 2012

    @Bart – You have nothing to prove that ridiculous theory of the Cosmos not paying anything to enter the NASL. What leverage did the Cosmos have to force the league into that position? They are trying to establish themselves as an actual operating entity (not doing so well with this so far….) in order to better position themselves for the chance at NY2 in MLS. You really think they had another option? Bad enough the return of the Cosmos brand is in D2, but at least they could spin it by calling it a return to the current version of the league they started in in preparation for taking it to the next level. No way did they get out of paying an expansion fee. Everyone knows how this deal had to have gone down behind closed doors. O’Brien gets as good as he can get right now to field his team and try to make the brand indispensibly attached to the NY2 bid, and the league gets a $1 million expansion fee (to distribute to its members that have been footing the bill for the Stars the last two years) and the publicity of the Cosmos name being in their league for 2 – 3 years. That’s it.

    As for the story….ugh. The stupid arse schedule strikes again. Yet another reason t o hate it. Anyone want to hazard a guess that this ignorant format lasts only long enough for it to allow the Cosmos to start up in August this year rather than March, and that after this season it will be gone for reasons, officially stated, that are entirely unrelated? I STILL haven’t gotten ANYONE to tell me a solid, logical, intelligent reason for this assinine schedule format of two half seasons, other than Traffic not wanting to pay fringe players a full season contract if they can release them at the halfway mark and try someone new. So maybe they like the break, and can still find a way to sign some players to half year deals next year, but they’ll drop the incredibly stupid to “half” seasons and just play it a full season, single table instead……..

  31. Mac permalink
    December 3, 2012

    @ Silly, good question, is the money really there (or accessible)? “Saudi owners” are no guarantee of cash flow. Over at Malaga FC their owner, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani, told his people running the club to pay down their debts in a professional manner, not like they have a sugar-daddy. Even if it hurts. The money is probably there, but what is ownerships short and long game?
    Garber has been making sounds about suitors, in the plural, for the 20th spot at the Flushing Meadows location. What is the Cosmos game if MLS gives #20 to another group, without having made any peep about a 3rd NYC metro squad. There’s a lengthening list of other cities looking to buy into MLS.
    Are these guys trying to set up MLS guarantee for ’16, and playing it cheap in the interim in case they don’t win the franchise?

  32. December 3, 2012

    does this Cosmos move on playing one half of the season mean other teams may try the same thing in the future. are they setting a precedent for other clubs to follow?

  33. Silly permalink
    December 3, 2012

    When they make tweets like this you would think they could sign who ever they wanted very quickly.

    #nycosmos event… Cosmos willing to compete with #MLS wages for certain players while in #NASL.

    More unproven hype like Beckham was coming. Who’s next? Donovan, Rooney, Dempsey.

    Don’t believe anything the Cosmos or NASL say until they actually kickoff in a league sanctioned game.

  34. Mac permalink
    December 3, 2012

    Wonder how the money guys in Indy feel about this?

  35. December 3, 2012

    “This makes the NASL look like a Mickey Mouse league. ”
    10 words. One sentence.

    You stole the words straight from my brain. That is exactly what I thought when Brian made me aware of this news on Saturday night.

    Minus the profanity that was reverberating in my cranium.

  36. Bart permalink
    December 3, 2012

    @ Strikers Return

    @Bart – You have nothing to prove that ridiculous theory of the Cosmos not paying anything to enter the NASL.

    A ridiculous theory? Really?

    What leverage did the Cosmos have to force the league into that position?

    Wrong question, but one easily answered. Because in the mind of Sire Davidson and his roundtable allies, he needs constant attention and fluff to be better than before. What better way than to promote a name like Cosmos with the NASL?

    No way did they get out of paying an expansion fee.

    Oh yeah, big way. NASL needed the Cosmos now, not in 2014, to create the type of PR they needed for the smoke and mirrors game.

    Everyone knows how this deal had to have gone down behind closed doors. O’Brien gets as good as he can get right now to field his team and try to make the brand indispensibly attached to the NY2 bid, and the league gets a $1 million expansion fee (to distribute to its members that have been footing the bill for the Stars the last two years) and the publicity of the Cosmos name being in their league for 2 – 3 years. That’s it.

    That is not quite “it”. No one floats $1,000,000 until it is time to get a return on those funds, and Cosmos had no need to make these early announcements, but NASL felt they did, and that was worth $1,000,000 in concessions to the roundtable.

  37. Tom permalink
    December 3, 2012

    A barrister without facts, hard to believe.

  38. Silly permalink
    December 3, 2012

    I feel privileged to have had the same thought as Yanki. This is a BIG black eye for NASL. I have no doubt that the boys in “Tamper” are having a laugh at this one.

  39. Jspech permalink
    December 3, 2012

    I still do not understand why this is a black eye for the league, when on entering league team say hey ” we are here but, your league is just a layover for us”, wasn’t viewed more as a black eye. Kinda like Orlando City’s campaign for MLS should be seen as a black eye USLPRO. The priorities for of the teams r not sustain growth of NASL or USLPRO.
    Isn’t all this more detrimental to the league?
    Again why r we not more outage when teams come into lower leagues, then announce, ” Our ultimate goal is MLS”!

    But whatever, I for one wasn’t heading to Hempstead, LI until the summer. I can almost guarantee a lot of soccer fans in the 5 boroughs feel the same. Summer yes! If I am going to travel far for a game in the cod in March, I’d rather take in Red Bulls game. Red Bull Arena is way closer to 5 boroughs than Hofstra.

    Give Cosmos credit for reognizing their market. Those upset are the die-hards! Whose not got anywhere. This position team better. Please someone define this “integrity” people are talking about. We r talking about a Division (2) that wasn’t around 4 yrs ago & a league that we can not say for sure is fully 109% sanction as D2.
    “NASL INTEGRITY” is as laughable as telling me Campos is in the Scorpion record holde for single season goal.

  40. Silly permalink
    December 3, 2012

    The Black Eyes are about the league itself. It has nothing to do with their desire to go MLS. Playing at the top league should be every teams goal. We are talking about a team possibly playing for a league championship without playing in the entire league. Im sorry but that makes NASL a Mickey Mouse League.

    I would say the same thing about MLB or the NHL if the Yankees or Rangers started their season after the all-star break

  41. WSW permalink
    December 4, 2012

    No black-eye.

    Apertura/Clausura are two separate seasons.

    I’m sure it has happened before in Argentina.

  42. mick permalink
    December 5, 2012

    this is absolutely absurd. comming in half way through a season is just about the dumbest thing i can think of, especially considering how much they are trying to get into the MLS. so they may play what 2.5 seasons before going to MLS. stupid.

    this just shows that even the new ownership isnt taking things seriously (very similar to previous ownership) they have had since early july to start working on things. they already were worked into the schedule for the spring, and if the link works, have been selling tickets on their official website.

    other teams have had less time and still fielded a team to start on time. the only things Cosmos about this team is the damn logo. very disappointing. they claim to be keeping the work ethic of the old cosmos, but no one is still around in the organization from the original cosmos, so how the fuck can they claim to be keeping the old feel alive, none of them were there and have no clue what the old feel and work ethic were.

    wondering why Beckham doesnt want anything to do with this club? i personally can understand why he claims that he has never thought about it. which you know he has, his agent is one of the old owners. you know he was atleast aproached at one point and had to have considered it.

  43. snack permalink
    December 7, 2012

    @WSW – What? Have you heard of the Soccer Bowl? That game that decides who the ONE champion is of the entire 2013 season?

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