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NASL & New York Cosmos Should Wait Until 2014 to “Get This Right the First Time”

2012 December 3

I’m not one to shy away from voicing my opinion, particularly when it comes to matters of soccer. But for some reason, my voice in colloquy is much different than it is in writing. I tend to shy away from op/ed pieces here at IMS and instead would rather report the information and let you form your own opinion. There is that occasional topic that will draw me out, suck me in and motivate me to go outside my comfort zone. The Cosmos announcement that they will only play a half season in 2013 is one of those moments.

Of course what I am referring to is a conversation that New York Cosmos’ newly appointed COO, Erik Stover, had with supporters of the club on Saturday in a Q & A with the Borough Boys. I could say supporters of the “team” but the reality is, the Cosmos have no team and therein lies the problem. Stover is stating the organization cannot possibly get a team together in time for the 2013 spring season but will instead play only the second half of the new NASL Split season format and will forgo the 2013 US Open Cup.

“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.”

Stover is just plain wrong. The Cosmos certainly could field a team in that time if they wanted to. Is it the ideal situation? Of course not and it’s not necessarily fair to put the hammer down on Stover, who everyone tells me is a pretty good guy. But he took the job to lead the high-profile Cosmos and with that comes the responsibility that should really lie on Seamus O’Brien who leads the new Cosmos ownership group along with Sela Sport.

Yes, Stover is under pressure as is coach Giovanni Savarese who was just appointed to his position on November 19, but it’s not impossible pressure and it’s been done before. One only needs to look back at recent history within the NASL to see how it was done.

The NSC Minnesota Stars fielded a team in 2010 after announcing they would do in mid December of 2009. That Stars were a start-from-scratch organization after the Thunder folded late that same year. 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 hiatus from Division 2 professional play. Yes, they had the structure in place with a NPSL team and their own stadium. But they went out, found a coach, assistants, and put together a team in time for the season. Albeit not a good squad, but they did entertain their fans for most of their home games, keeping scores close and drawing an average of 2,866 in the process.

The Carolina RailHawks owner Selby Wellman suddenly liquified his team early in 2010 putting the NASL in danger of not being sanctioned. Traffic Sports entered the picture and funded the organization so the NASL could have 8 teams – a USSF requirement for a league. They did retain coach Martin Rennie but the team had to be assembled again 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 in place, they actually won the Regular Season NASL Championship with a 17-8-3 record.

Of course this inability to field a team in time begs the question, why did O’Brien and company wait until November to appoint his leading staff? I have no idea and this alone should also raise some red flags. After all, the team was announced by the NASL with great fanfare on July 12 of this year. Why the delay if the organization was serious about playing in 2013, and where was the pressure from the league to get things moving? Perhaps there was pressure or perhaps it was the league itself who pressured the Cosmos to announce early? There are many theories circulating, from pressure by the NASL to announce early to negotiation tactics the Cosmos were using to leverage bigger and better things. Perhaps it was the owners themselves, desperately trying to get rid of the burden of paying for Minnesota – then a league-owned team – off their backs. We will probably never know. What we do know is it took the Cosmos organization nearly 4 months to make their first major appointment.

Whatever the case, the Cosmos announcement that seemed to bring the league so much pride is now biting them squarely in the ass and it’s a legacy issue now left in the hands of new NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson. According to Peterson, he will be in New York this week to visit with the team about this and many other issues. Soccer supporters in the US will be looking to see how he handles this first major issue thrust upon him. But it’s possible Peterson will not get involved at all. He hinted toward that in a statement he made to me last Tuesday at the press conference to announce his appointment as league commissioner.

“I think that’s really a team issue and if there is an issue, and I’m not saying there is, I think after I go up there and get a better feel for where they are in their plans and what their plans actually are, they [Cosmos] will be in a better position to address that,” said Peterson.

To Stover’s credit, rather than making the announcement in a press release, he faced the fire and did so in front of his biggest critics that are most affected by the action of the club, the Cosmos fans. But nonetheless, the announcement is just one of a long string of disappointments for fans of the Cosmos name, says Nick Laveglia, president of the Borough Boys, the Cosmos biggest supporters group. Like it or not, the current ownership group of the Cosmos has to live with the sins of the former ownership group headed up by Paul Kemsley.

“Honestly, I think our fans were upset,” said Laveglia. “It deflated everybody right off the bat. There were definitely some positive things coming from the Cosmos in that meeting and the turnout for the event was great. But I think the fans feel let down again that they [Cosmos] are not going to be ready for spring. Personally, I understand their reasoning. You want to make sure they are putting a good team together on the field. I can understand that and appreciate that as a fan. But given all the letdowns of the old [ownership] group, it seems the fans are sort of going: OK, with that news we are just going to wait and see. 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.”

I have another issue with Stover saying he wants the time to put a quality team on the field. What quality players are going to be available for the team in the second half of the NASL season that starts in August? Most stalwart lower division players and those who were former MLS players and were released by teams in the offseason will already be with established teams in either the NASL or perhaps USL PRO. Teams are already in the process of re-signing players and offering new contracts to new players. Is a player going to sit around and wait to be signed by the Cosmos for a 3-month contract when they can play all season with an established team and be on a 7-month contract? I for one would like to know where all these quality players will come from.

Aside from the Cosmos’ inability or lack of desire to field a team this spring, there are many other issues that permeate this decision to allow a professional sports team to play only a half season while their competition plays an entire season. Yes, I understand that this was approved by the NASL Board of Governors, and I have heard unanimously at that. The team owners might have gotten a bit starry-eyed, feeling the Cosmos brand identity was worth the risk. While there is no doubt the brand name has already brought the league attention, at what price and why was there such a rush to push them into a half season of play? Didn’t the league and team owners sacrifice an awful lot of past good by making such a decision and not waiting until 2014?

Another question that has been playing out in my mind and I am now seeing pop up on message boards and comments is, should the Cosmos be allowed to participate in the championship should they win the fall season? An NASL spokesperson has verified they would be eligible. While I don’t believe that a team coming into play in the second half of a season is likely to win the fall championship, it is possible. And if they did, it seems it would compound the league’s embarrassment as the Cosmos will be playing with an unfair advantage for having fresher players competing in the championship final while others battled through the grind of the entire NASL season.

With this decision the league will now pay the price in terms of credibility both with fans and the media. The NASL already has issues getting the media’s attention with only 8 teams (8.5 in 2013) playing in a league that’s a tier down from MLS. This Cosmos playing a half season will certainly not help this. Two full time soccer journalists, well known to the US soccer public, contacted me within the last week to ask if the league was serious about allowing a team to play a half season. You can imagine their response when I told them I believed that it was true. The league couldn’t afford this sort of mistake and in fact the whole split season will now be questioned as it probably should be.

“Our Scheduling Sub-Committee arrived at this recommendation after an exhaustive review of a number of alternatives and the new format takes into consideration a variety of factors including fan and player comfort in our many warm-weather cities,” said former NASL Commissioner David Downs on September 5, when the league announced the new format. “But the bottom line is that we believe this new competitive format will bring more excitement and meaning to each of our regular season matches for all of our teams throughout the year.”

I’ve heard enough talk from officials throughout the league that I believe the team owners honestly wanted to try this format change. But now some of the league’s supporters and followers will question if the whole idea was contrived to allow the Cosmos a late entry. My point is, the NASL has done an awful lot of good work over the last two years. They have run a league with solid teams who have not folded and the competition has been good. They hired a commissioner who was a soccer guy and a known entity and worked to make sure there was fairness throughout the league. The play on the field has improved and the quality of coaches is good too. League attendance is growing and there are now several savvy new owners in San Antonio and Minnesota. Special events like the league playoffs and finals have been conducted very professionally and even the NASL website continues to get better with more information and live streaming of all its matches.

So why? Why would you jeopardize that image to allow a team in halfway through the season? I’m sure there will be others that know of some obscure and most likely minor league where this had been done before. But I’m guessing the majority of US soccer fans have never heard of such a thing and will feel this sets a very unhealthy precedent.

“What Seamus (O’Brien) has always promised is when we do something, we do it right,” Stover told the Borough Boys on Saturday afternoon. “We will have substance before style. I know the Cosmos of a couple years ago, it may have been the other way around but there really wasn’t a team to support. We want to make sure we get this right the first time.”

Note to the New York Cosmos Erik Stover, Seamus O’Brien and the NASL’s Aaron Davidson as well as the rest of the NASL: If you want to “get this right the first time,” then look no further that Loudoun County and Ottawa. They are waiting until 2014 to enter the league.

 

59 Responses
  1. teucer permalink
    December 3, 2012

    The concept that it is “impossible to form a team” in a short amount of time strikes me as odd, when you’re talking about a league with the Minnesota Stars in it.

  2. bullsear permalink
    December 3, 2012

    Great piece, BQ. Glad you took the time to give public voice to your thoughts.

  3. evan permalink
    December 3, 2012

    i agree this is disappointing and troubling, and makes the league look bad.
    and why can’t they put a team together in time for spring? it seems they are planning with the summer transfer window in mind, but if that’s the case then why couldn’t they field a start-from scratch team in spring and then sign new players in the summer? seems like the same difference to me…

  4. ButlerBob permalink
    December 3, 2012

    Agree, if they wanted to take the “want to do it right approach”, they should have just waited till 2014.

    You don’t need a ticket servicing company to start taking ticket deposits. Heck you could even come up with your prices and have people indicate their preference on sections. All of this on an automated form. And then when you have a ticket servicer, in say Jan or Feb. You have them pay and select their seats.

    On the players / team part front I would think your going to have an eaven harder time to get players available for only half the season, which in turn means they make half as much then if they played for a team that played the full season. Heck you could probably start signing some players right from players that just got waived by the MLS, NASL or USL Pro teams.

    The whole thing just seems odd.

  5. leper permalink
    December 3, 2012

    “But now some of the leagues supporters and followers will question if the whole idea was contrived to allow the Cosmos a late entry”

    Yep. The whole split season seemed odd, and none of the reasons the league gave for doing it (eg saving money on playoff travel) made any sense. But this makes sense. It’s stupid, but it makes sense.

  6. GaelForce permalink
    December 3, 2012

    I thought the split season seemed strange because with expansion to at least 11 in 2012, you’re already on to 40 games a season if you play home and away in each split! Of course one way around it is to play half the teams at home in one split and the other half in the next which would bring you down to 30 but not if a team joins halfway through! That throws everything off kilter. This could set a precedent. Indianapolis could think “why wait? We’ll join with the Cosmos.”

  7. December 3, 2012

    Fantastic editorial, I really enjoyed that! If it’s true that one of the league’s leading reasons for the split-season format was to allow Cosmos late entry… that’s a very narrow line of reasoning indeed.

    That said, what’s the primary objection to _allowing_ them entry for the second half, or even participation in the Championship if they win that second half-season?

    The way I understand the model, the two playing segments are totally self-contained– “mini seasons”, if you will. If that perception is true, then I can understand why the owners would say that it’s ok for a team to leap in to one of the “mini seasons” without having played in the previous one– what difference does it make?

    I think there is some fairness counter-argument that I’m missing.

  8. jnutt permalink
    December 3, 2012

    Nice piece BQ.
    I was at the Cosmos Q&A and Stover did say that the teams plans on singing “12-13″ players in the coming months and then loaning those players out during the Spring. He also indicated the majority of the roster would be made up of college and academy guys with possibly a few out of contract MLS players.

  9. OleGunnar20 permalink
    December 3, 2012

    Brian you hit on my major issue with this … putting a team together in NA’s mid-season (June) is going to be HARDER than putting a team together (albeit on short notice) in NA’s off-season when everybody (D2/D3 players and recently released MLS players) are out of contract?

    As you pointed out it has been done before, and it is their own fault for going from summer til now without putting the proper staff together to start forming a team.

    New ownership, same F.Cosmos.

    It looks more and more like they are just keeping the Cosmos brand on life support waiting to sell it to whoever wins the bidding for MLS NYC2.

  10. bullsear permalink
    December 3, 2012

    @Gael Force – The Indy has been associated with Peter Wilt, who is a consummate professional. I wouldn’t expect Wilt or anyone he’s aligned with to anything half this stupid. The Cosmos issue does raise a dangerous precedent for lower league soccer, but there’s an easy way around it, and I think most of us called it months ago–2013 will likely be the ONLY year this split season format is around for.

    @Michael R Ponicki – BQ brings up the primary objection in the piece above–it’s not fair for a team to start with fresh legs halfway through a season. The teams they’re competing against will have half a season of fatigue and injury to carry along with them down the home stretch. This could theoretically give them an easier route to the Soccer Bowl.

    I think it’s also worth considering the Cosmos’ prospective home field advantage. They’ll have the benefit of out-of-the-gate crowds at a time when other teams will be struggling to keep their fan bases energized.

  11. Bart permalink
    December 3, 2012

    The Silverbacks did not have a USL PDL team in 2011. They may have had a W-League team from USL.

  12. Silly permalink
    December 3, 2012

    Nice work. I think the league should really rethink letting them into the second season. I would make them show that they are fully capable of competing an entire season. What happens in the future if a team has “trouble” signing players? Will they be able to opt out of the spring season based on this precedent they are setting for the Cosmos?

    On a completely off topic side note I saw this while snooping around. USL announced Sacramento as a 2014 expansion team. I hope this does not hijack the thread and take away from this piece.

    Link: http://sacprosoccer.com/press-release/

  13. Strikers Return permalink
    December 3, 2012

    I very much enjoyed reading this piece BQ. Often I find myself wanting you to make a stronger statement of your opinion on things, because I think we all value your knowledge and insight greatly, and feel, hey, if BQ says it, we can pretty much bank on it. Often you operate as a moderator of our discussions, clarifying facts, reminding others of their tone or approach. But it is nice to see an article that is 100% about your feelings on a matter that affects all of us as fans of the NASL.

    There is way too much about this situation that is not making sense. Ironically enough I now have what seems to be the first legitimate possible explanation for the last thing the league did that made zero sense – the stupid new schedule format. The Cosmos come to the table with Davidson and say, “Ok, we’re in. However, we see the benefit SA got from waiting a year to start up, so we want to wait until 2014.” Now, remember, this is back when the Stars being dropped by the league was absolutely on the table. If the Cosmos were balking at 2013, they would have HAD to continue funding the Stars, something that we can all kind of see now that the other owners wanted no part of. SO what do you do? You make a deal Monte……

    …..Davidson to Cosmos, “Ok, how about this. We come up for a way for you to get into the league in 2013, but…on a delay…so to speak. We’ve been looking at schedule format changes, and there is one, although insanely assinine to try and roll out to American fans, will fit our needs perfectly here. We play two “half” seasons in one year. We’ll hold you out of the first half season giving you more time to ramp up, and we’ll be able to beg the USSF to not pull our sanction because we’ll still have 8 teams participating AT SOME POINT for the league title. If necessary we’ll even fund them for the first “half” season, then you can have Manny for your coach and first pick of their players for the second “half” season. Then in 2014 when we have more teams coming in, we’ll just say, oh, too many teams for this format now, let’s switch it again.”

    Fun speculation. One thing is certain though – this hurts the league’s credibility for sure. Only bad things can come from this. I also feel badly for the fans in NY who are now told they must continue waiting for a chance to come out to a stadium and watch THEIR team. We were all hoping that 2013 would be a big step forward for the league, with good things happening to build on the positives BQ mentioned in his article from the last couple of years. Now we just have to hope things don’t turn the other way because of some dumb decisions…..

  14. Samuel permalink
    December 3, 2012

    What’s a matter Cosmos? Afraid to play the Silverbacks and get ape-slapped? We’re waiting…

  15. Jspech permalink
    December 3, 2012

    This is just the side of business we don’t like.
    Reality, NASL needs the Cosmos , way more than Cosmos need NASL
    Money losing D2 soccer. This was just a move done cause no one knew what was to become of the Stars
    This uproar is as silly as saying Traffic shouldn’t own more than 1 team, or this town deserve a team. If there is no one w/$$ u take what u get. D2 soccer. Don’t see big deal. Just happy someone is throwing away $$ cause they believe in sonething. NASL will not fall apart cUse they are coming in in the fall. NASL might have collapse without them coming in

  16. December 3, 2012

    @Bart, you are correct as you are so often. It was an NPSL team. Last PDL team was in 2008 the last year they fielded a USL-1 team.

  17. December 3, 2012

    bullsear- I missed that, thanks! I think that fatigue thing is a very valid argument.

  18. Tom permalink
    December 3, 2012

    To follow up on the comments by Jspech, does anyone know other than here and BigSoccer, how many news outlets have touched on this story? In the San Antonio, Charlotte, Tampa Bay, etc… newspapers? ESPN, FSC, maybe ESPN8 – the Ocho? Don’t get me wrong as I agree with the sentiments in the article, but a little perspective might be in order. Doesn’t make it right, but 98+% of soccer fans I doubt are losing any sleep over this.

  19. jnutt permalink
    December 3, 2012

    @Tom, just because news outlets do not pick up on a story does not mean that fans don’t care about the story. Especially in the case of soccer, websites like this and other forums exist specifically because major news outlets don’t cover all the stories that fans care about. You might have a case for saying that the casual fan who takes heir family to an NASL game doesn’t care but the league & Cosmos should be wary of alienating the hardcore fans who seek out stories like this one. Also, any issue dealing with the legitimacy of a lower division league is potentially big because the U.S. Soccer Federation has shown how quickly they can revoke sanctioning if you do not have your act together.

  20. teucer permalink
    December 3, 2012

    @MRP: well, for one thing it means some teams will have a schedule that is both easier and more profitable than others, since it will contain one extra home game while the other teams have one extra road game.

  21. Minnesota Nice FC permalink
    December 3, 2012

    I am MinnesotaNiceFC and I hereby agree with BQ. This is a terrible move by the NASL. In no way would they have agreed to such a bizarre move for any other team. More importantly, get your sh*t together Cosmos. You’re an embarrassment.

  22. Soccer Boy permalink
    December 3, 2012

    Letting a team play only half a season is pathetic. Shame on the NASL and shame on the Long Island Cosmos. They supposedly were the real deal. Not sure what they have been up to since July.

  23. December 3, 2012

    “It is nearly impossible to deliver on our primary objective – which is to be a proper soccer club – in three months.”

    And that’s with a supposed can’t-miss, world-famous brand like the Cosmos.

    Yet, some people believe a lower-division team could make the leap to MLS in one off-season if there were promotion and relegation. Even though the last several MLS expansion teams have had nearly two years to do it and most have struggled on the field initially.

    “What quality players are going to be available for the team in the second half of the NASL season that starts in August?”

    Ronaldinho, if you believe WSW.

    You mean all that summer transfer window talent isn’t going to be itching to play for soccer’s Greatest Brand Ever?

  24. December 4, 2012

    “Reality, NASL needs the Cosmos , way more than Cosmos need NASL…

    NASL will not fall apart cUse they are coming in in the fall. NASL might have collapse without them coming in.”

    @JS: No, the NASL will not fall apart. Agreed. I don’t even know if they would have folded or not. You could be right about that one. I’ll differ to you on that.

    What I do know is that the NASL LOOKS PATHETIC AS HELL with this move. Those are my words (alone); That’s my take.

    I don’t wanna hear jack**** about how they are any better than the USL from anyone who works at the league headquarters or anyone who works in a league front office (that’s not based in Puerto Rico). Or from anyone else claiming that the NASL is superior to USLPRO.

    THIS IS AN ABSOF***ING DISGRACE!!!

    JS, if NASL was so desperate as to take this deal from a club who was so limp, so gimpy as to field a team based on a nucleus of “college and academy players”, then it must have been closer to giving up the ghost than I thought.

    “The NASL needs the Cosmos more than the Cosmos needs the NASL?!?!”
    What the hell–where was Nostalgia FC gonna go? The NPSL? PDL? USLPRO?

    When it was rumored months ago, I refused to accept it as being a real, possible option for the NASL-not because I doubted the quality of the intel; It was because I didn’t think the league would really stand for it’s gains in the area of credibility to be eroded.

    I was clearly self-delusional…

  25. December 4, 2012

    Yanki has spoken, and when Yanki speaks, people listen.

  26. Bart permalink
    December 4, 2012

    @yankiboy

    You need to keep the rose colored (and scented) glasses that Davidson and Downs gave you on. Much like those 3D glasses you get when you go to the theater, it makes NASL look so much festive and vibrant, and if you take a big whiff of the perfume scent, it make the continuous stench that emits from the bowels down in Miami less offensive.

    “…NASL is good. NASL is strong. NASL will never go away. NASL is the newly annointed King of soccer in the US…”

    If you take off those glasses and stop smelling that sweet scent of the rose perfume, much like the child’s fable entitled “The Emperor’s Clothes”, you strip away all of the opium that was fed to the population at large, and underneath the skirts of the “owners”, it does not look pretty.

    The outhouse has long needed a cleaning, and this house was not built upon a firm foundation. It will take far less than a hurricane to blow it down.

    The one I feel sorry for is Hartman. He seems to be the real deal in this soap opera world.

  27. Silly permalink
    December 4, 2012

    Is this the reason Downs cut and run?

  28. rafijoepr permalink
    December 4, 2012

    Welcome to the reality of professional soccer in this continent. The sad truth is that management in our sport is still light years from where it could and should be. I think we all know and could cite many moves by all top three soccer leagues that reek of that mickey mouse league smell…

    We all rant and rave but at the end of the day we take it all hide it in our “its is what is; it’s our sport and leagues”stash and keep on living and supporting them.

    :/

  29. Chris A. permalink
    December 4, 2012

    Would it be too much to expect the NASL to officially articulate why it would allow the Halfmos to make a mockery of the league? How about atleast a half-a** explanation? @BQ – thanks for weighing in on this.

  30. Max permalink
    December 4, 2012

    I am very conflicted. Do the Cosmos make that much of a difference? It is ironic that the Cosmos, which in some ways I think harmed the original North American Soccer League because they played by different rules, is doing the same in this iteration. I’m not even sure I want to buy season tickets now. How is this being received / viewed by other owners and front offices around the league? It seems to me this not only puts them at a competitive disadvantage but also damages THEIR credibility and ability to sell the NASL as credible professional soccer.

  31. Etch permalink
    December 4, 2012

    Nice article Brian.
    I hope it gets picked up by other media outlets. It would be great for our sport. The more discussions the better even if they could be considered negative.

  32. Fotbalist permalink
    December 4, 2012

    I think the decision of the Cosmos to only play in the Fall Championship is disgraceful; and the NASL accepting that proposition is equally disgraceful. However, I recommend that we refrain from over-reacting. Let’s not forget that the NASL has made some very strong moves forward in its short reincarnation. Let’s review some points now.

    1) They came out of the battle with the exodus from the USL and the one-year experiment with the USSF D2 situation and they hit the ground fairly well even though they only had a handful of teams.

    2) San Antonio experienced a great deal of mocking before they took to the pitch. We now speak of the Scorpions as an exemplary success.

    3) Minnesota was in the news more for the fact that they might die then the fact that our coach and players fielded championship teams both seasons. At this point the Stars have a solid owner with great business acumen and financial resources to take our team to the a new chapter in history.

    3) Ottawa will enter league play in 2014 and with a fabulous Stadium, which is no small feat.

    4) Loudoun County is coming in also in 2014; and playing the cards right they also have great potential of success.

    5) Lastly, (and I know this won’t be to everyone’s liking) Traffic just landed some more contracts. The better Traffic does, the better it is for the NASL. I consider that a positive.

    In conclusion, while I’m disappointed with the Cosmos decisions, I’m still feeling that D2 soccer is moving forward.

  33. Chris A. permalink
    December 4, 2012

    @Fotbalist – I think it is precisely because of the progress and development of the NASL that this Halfmos issue is troubling to so many people, you included. It has the potential to undo the credibility and progress that has been made. A real bad decision can wipe out a bunch of good decisions.

  34. Silly permalink
    December 4, 2012

    While I agree they made some good strides, They didn’t make it through 2 calendar years before making very stupid and destructive decisions. Easy to see why everyone is raising the red flags.

  35. Chris Nelson permalink
    December 4, 2012

    Great article, BQ. Absolutely agree.

  36. speedcake permalink
    December 4, 2012

    thank you for this op ed. Some of these things needed to be said. I hope all is well that ends well, but there are far too many questions being asked right now and not nearly enough answers forthcoming.

  37. NatureGuy permalink
    December 4, 2012

    Things have been buzzing on our fan pages about this entire subject since it first came out. I strongly feel the the integrity of the NASL has been, at the very least, given a black eye by allowing the mid-year entry of the Cosmos into play. Most of what I’ve read by fellow local fans agrees pretty-much with what’s been written here before me. The NASL, for the sake of the league and for the fans, ought to reverse its position and NOT permit the Cosmos to play until 2014–period.

  38. RutgerATL permalink
    December 4, 2012

    I just love their reasons. No way we can find a team in this amount of time. Been done before many times. No ticket system. Sell season tickets through your website. Same with single game tickets. Sell single game tickets at a walk up window. Make all seats General Admission, done. Get your butts on the pitch in March or don’t come at all.

  39. jspech permalink
    December 4, 2012

    i still don’t get it. how many true NASL fans have returned their scarves or season tickets because of this? I venture to say none. Prove me wrong on that. Come summer Cosmos will start up. Come spring 2014, NASL & some new teams will be on board & you all will be here post, like me about this league. So let’s hold the mustard folks.

  40. WSW permalink
    December 4, 2012

    Minnesota will use 2 venues, because of split-season format.

  41. Jim permalink
    December 4, 2012

    ^Derail.

  42. Jim permalink
    December 4, 2012

    Read somewhere (maybe IMS) that they would loan out signed players during the spring season.
    How does that help their cause?

    Do the right thing, wait until 2014!

  43. speedcake permalink
    December 4, 2012

    Ya what teams will take loaned Cosmos players knowing they’ll definitely be recalled in July? And what players will the Cosmos sign now that will be such a better option talent wise than what NASL clubs can sign for themselves?

    Another shady statement from this Cosmos group.

  44. WSW permalink
    December 4, 2012

    They will be at a disadvantage since the other teams will have fluidity of play for half a season.

  45. jspech permalink
    December 5, 2012

    another thing, Playah, I can’t stop laughing. disrespect league, Intergrity. Word stuck in my head.

    Why would NASL permit this?

    Well I don’t rightly know, but I will venture a guess. Could it be that the most press NASL received since it’s rebirth are
    1. Cosmos coming into the league
    2. The possibility that it’s potentially back to back Champion (The Stars) could fold.

    Not soccer press but main stream press.

    Now look# at #2, had The Stars folded, what would have been the implications for the league?
    Sanctioning??????
    Folding????
    or continuing to foot the bill for the Stars

    Solution get a potential replacement. Cosmos maybe?

    How funny most of you outraged posters, were concerned that the league D2 status could go bye, bye. Then fold w/ teams maybe crawling back to USLPro (A Happy Bart’s Christmas??)

    Then Cosmos were announce, euphoria rein, hppy days are here again.

    Then only The Stars(Mns. resident) were left in fear, but alast The Stars found an ower.

    Question
    Had Stars found an owner at the beginning of the year, would Cosmos announce?

    Had Stars folded & would Cosmos still be allowed to begin in second half & how that had affected their D2 status?

    The Cosmos was announced aa an option against the Stars folding. Take your memory for a ride, playahs. You were biting your nail then.

    I visit this blog alot. One think I’ve learned D2 D3 soccer, are dough ($$) eaters.

    The Cosmos should have & needed to just paid more attention to it’s PDL team until it had an opportunity to Bids on MLSNYC2. No need to waste that dough, Hmmm!
    Here’s an honest fact D2 soccer will not succeed in NYC, regardless of where it is located. I’ve read a few places where Cosmos might give it a go in NASL if it’s bid for MLS fail. Laughable! Nyc’er would wait for visiting teams to get the fix, while the Red Bull continue to get shafted by soccer fans in NYC.

    Final scenerio:
    NASL finally went with split season, because the Stars might fold, & the quickest replacement came come on board in 2014. BUt wait, after podding the Cosmos, the NASL was told by the Cosmos if we were to do something maybe 2014.

    No NO we can’t hold this thing together, until 2014. We need you now.
    Listen, we have to protect the Cosmos brand, we need to do this right, but if you guy adapt this split season thing we can come in in the fall.

    No no we can’t do that, why we will a laughing stocking.

    Okay have your league champ fold not from a lack of fans support, but no ownership interest, then all of you fold. You’ll be a laugh-stock.

    Take my offer. Split the season, we’ll come in, in the second half. Worst case, The Stars fold, USSF take away your D2 status, you take a retooling break ( or play unsanctioned friendlies) until the Fall we come in positioned they way we want our brand, you regain your D2 status, then, in the spring 2014 2-3 teams come in & awaay we go.

    What do you say Commish?
    I will find a buyer for The Stars before 2013. I garauntee it. Forget this split season thing, that ain’t American. Cosmos come in in 2014 with our other expansion teams. That would really show how strong we are.

    Commish when r u going to start earning your keeps. You just got a raise. And all we’ve been hearing is, “I will find a buyer for the Star. Well the only thing your are going to have is your resignation on our desk by 4pm. And that’s a copy for each and everyone of our desks, except the Stars, their copy is our copy. Copy?

    Cosmos, we’ll take that deal, worst case, we lose D2 status for half of the year, save some dough, play some friendlies, make some dough, come back w/ u guys as the story for 15 wks, then we come back strong in ’14 w/ some new teams.

    Would you guys have this much contempt for the Cosmos hd the Stars folded.

    Tawlk to me, Playah!

  46. jnutt permalink
    December 5, 2012

    I mentioned the loan issue earlier on the thread, though I’m sure other blogs picked up on it. I’m with you guys, signing players just loan them out for half a season makes zero sense. Right NOW is when American teams are making their movies and players are available and looking for new teams, not in the Summer.
    Stover said at the Q&A that the “brand” is not his main concern but he’s worried starting in the Spring will lead to a mostly empty Hofstra and players who can’t cut it. That sounds like someone concerned with the “brand.” Enough excuses. Just get it done.

  47. Bart permalink
    December 5, 2012

    @jspech

    Contrary to popular belief, I would like NASL to succeed, but to succeed properly under the terms of the USSF standards. The standards are designed to ensure longevity and no losses of teams during a season through the financial feasibility of the owners. As long as Traffic is the Big Daddy, this is not the case, in fact it is a sham organization.

    Frankly, with the exception of the Cosmos debacle, NASL has done well with Hartman in SA and the new ownership with the Stars.

    One can argue season format how one likes, but that is a league decision and all of you will be going to the games and watching, no matter how it is designed. It is the soccer geek in you….. :)

  48. Silly permalink
    December 5, 2012

    The Cosmos are going to go down in a ball of flames.

  49. December 5, 2012

    @JS: Even if we disagree on some points, I gotta give you your propers. You came strong; no denying that one.

    This Cosmos thing has been a serious reality check for me when it comes to the state if the NASL. Decisions aren’t made in a vacuum (at least not by people who know what the hell they are doing). A lot of what you broke down makes sense.

    Maximum respect, Playah!

  50. jspech permalink
    December 5, 2012

    Yanki always respect to you , BQ & ll off the posters on here. never personal, just elbow grease. Glad I found this site.

  51. Edward permalink
    December 6, 2012

    @Silly.
    You seem to be confused. The Cosmos will be an NASL team. USL’s the one that uses the flaming ball in their logo.

  52. Silly permalink
    December 6, 2012

    Not confused. I will believe in the Cosmos when they actually Kick off in a game. My comment had nothing to do with USL but while were at it, The recent dumb format decisions and now allowing a team to join halfway through. Sounds a lot like the front office making decisions to rush a team that is not ready into competition just to pump up the number of teams in the league. Sounds a lot like the old USL that these teams broke away from.

  53. Dave permalink
    December 6, 2012

    The only thing the Cosmos provide is great comedy. Just listen to them talk. Funniest stuff ever!

    If they ever take the to the pitch, they will implode. The local supporters groups turned cold on them when they admitted they don’t have the cash for MLS. While MLS is getting closer to a new stadium in Queens and another ownership group for #NYC20. The Cosmos are done and they know it.

  54. Foot76 permalink
    December 6, 2012

    How is this bad for the cosmos ownership? No matter what they have the right to the name and isn’t that what the real money maker is? I can’t see MLS putting a Club in NYC and using some generic name. As much money as MLS is putting into this stadium Cosmos will be the next club with or without the current ownership. Kudos to who ever said that the Cosmos are not really interested in the NASL it is only layover and if you can’t see that then you need to get your eye checked they are waiting for the payday either way it goes.

  55. Mike permalink
    December 6, 2012

    To follow up on Dave’s comment about comedy, here are some direct quotes from Stover:

    “It’s very important to our organization to follow the steps of our predecessors. What happened with the Cosmos in the 70′s and 80′s, a lot of folks say it will never happen again. We beg to differ. That road map has already been written for us.”

    Mocking those statements isn’t even a challenge. Wow!

    “A proper soccer club is not a brand. I don’t care about logos and how many shirts we sell. To me the only thing that matters to us, especially next year, are the results on the pitch and butts in the seats and if those butts in the seats have fun while we are there.”

    So that’s why your organization bought the naming rights to THE COSMOS? Hokey Doke!

    “I can’t promise you that we will (have a T.V. contract) but we expect to. We want to have a local broadcast partner and expect to do that. Those things like T.V. partner, jersey front partner, kit manufacturer – those are all things we are actively working on. It’s another reason why waiting until the Fall championship is so important.”

    Because the brand isn’t important, and only the results on the pitch matter to you, right? Apparently, he’s also not aware of how the rest of the league broadcasts its games?

    “If you look at expansion teams in any sport across the country, six months is not enough time to do it. We didn’t want to wait until 2014. We wanted to get out and play. We wanted to do it now. It was very fortuitous that the league switched to the two season format which allowed us to play in ’13 and allow us to meet our obligation.”

    Um..you had MORE than six months to do it (didn’t he previously state it was three?), and that first sentence has been disproved by many here. For that matter, there’s a new women’s professional league starting up next year with four expansion teams doing it in less time. And yes, the split season switch certainly was fortuitous, wasn’t it?

    “We are in active discussions with jersey front partners and if we deliver on what I think is going to happen, I think it will shake the foundation of soccer in this country. I don’t want to over promise. I am not the kind of guy that whips up excitement and over promises and don’t deliver but we are having very meaningful, high level conversations and when these things come out, I think you will be really excited.”

    Contradict yourself much?

    He also spouted drivel about there being a 9 month lead time with kit manufacturers to generate jerseys for public sale (whut?), and this gem:

    “We are ourselves getting to the top of the soccer pyramid in this country. One way we can prove it is to beat MLS teams in Open Cup.”

    He’d make a great used car salesman.

  56. Fotbalist permalink
    December 6, 2012

    @ Mike – Thank YOU, Thank YOU, Thank YOU.
    Very busy day trying to pack for long trip, and I just checked in and read your post. This was an excellent piece of work you’ve done. You need to keep doing this. hahahahahhahahaa Absolutely GREAT! Now can you print all those on a fine paper and mail to the Cosmos headquarters?

  57. Footy76 permalink
    December 7, 2012

    @ Mike
    Kind of off the topic but it sounds like you are a true diehard Cosmos fan good to hear. I am a diehard Sounder fan. I’m looking forward to our two clubs meeting someday in the Lamar Hunt Open Cup. I’m looking even more forward to a MLS Cup someday. If U.S soccer fans thinks Red bulls vs. Galaxy or Galaxy vs. Dynamo is a good MLS Cup match up wait until Sounders vs. Cosmos meet that’s where it’s at. Two story franchises with the Cosmos possible having just as many supporters just thinking about it get my soccer juices flowing.
    I will be the one in the crowd chanting who you are!! Who are you!! Who are you!!

  58. jspech permalink
    December 8, 2012

    Dave any link to that Cosmos not having MLS dough? Love how people hate the Cosmos. A team that exist on a shirt. Any doubt the importance that this dormant team means some to the game in this country? I understand the fear!! Beware COSMOS!!!

  59. Mike permalink
    December 10, 2012

    @JSpech,

    I have to admit to getting a chuckle from many of your NYC fanboy remarks. “I understand the fear!! Beware COSMOS!!!”, that’s cute. I don’t want to dampen your enthusiasm by any means, so do keep it coming.

    Yup, we’re all just a bunch of haters here. Personally, I do think very little of their organizational structure (what there is of one), and their decision to delay entry into the NASL makes both of them look bush league. The reasons the Cosmos put forward for doing so are incredibly weak, and the comments I’ve read in various articles from COO Eric Stover, several of which I posted earlier, are downright comical. As much as he contradicts himself, he shouldn’t be speaking to anyone in the media directly without having a PR person screen him.

    The fact that there has been no official statement from league officials leads me to believe this was all prearranged before the July announcement of the franchise. The new commissioner played dumb and acted like he knew nothing about it (and maybe didn’t). The whole situation just doesn’t pass the smell test, and makes both sides look deceitful. Just my humble little opinion on the subject.

    Sorry, but setting your watch back 30 years and flashing the name COSMOS doesn’t make you an instant success. Or one period. Cosmos may be a household name, but so is garbage, and it stinks when it gets old too!

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