New York Cosmos set for another title run

UNIONDALE, NY - OCTOBER 29:  The New York Cosmos pose with the NASL Fall Championship Trophy following a presentation at the Mitchel Field Athletic Complex on October 29, 2013 in Uniondale, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images for New York Cosmos)
Credit: Getty Images

Last season was a dream year for the New York Cosmos. They returned to New York and the North American Soccer League after a near 30-year absence. They won their first game of the year, at Hofstra University’s Shuart Stadium, 2-1 in front a capacity crowd of 11,929. And, after finishing the regular season with just one loss, the Cosmos defeated the Atlanta Silverbacks, 1-0, to win the club’s sixth title in NASL history and their first since 1982.

The Cosmos held their media day Friday and all present seemed ready to improve on the success of last season.

“It’s unbelievable that a team, after so many years, came back, started with a front office, hired a coach, got players and went on to win the championship,” said Shep Messing, the team’s broadcaster. “For me, it’s the miracle of New York. And it’s the first step.”

Giovanni Savarese is back again as head coach of the Cosmos. His second season will come with the added pressure of being a defending champion, but he seemed determined.

“We feel very confident in our team this year,” Savarese said. “We feel that we are stronger. We added some quality players and we’re going to take it the same way, game by game.”

The NASL has added two more teams this season and Savarese admits it will be quite a challenge for the Cosmos to repeat as champions.

“I think there’s no question that the league is stronger this year,” Savarese said. “You can see teams, in their signings, are going to compete. The NASL is going to be more competitive and more difficult.”

To prepare his team for a longer season than last year’s, Savarese said his team had a long preseason. He said he felt his team had more depth than last year and that it would be well prepared for the lengthier schedule.

“We’re very excited to start our season,” Savarese said. “We worked very hard and it’s been a long preseason, so we’re definitely excited to start playing competitive games.”

Another challenge for this year’s Cosmos will be the team’s first appearance in the U.S. Open Cup. This 68-team tournament features 16 teams from Major League Soccer, six from the NASL and 12 from USL PRO.

“I think it will be a good thermometer for us, to be able to play with some of those teams,” Saverese said. “I think it will be great to have the opportunity to measure ourselves with Major League Soccer.”

Measuring up to the best U.S. talent will be critical to the Cosmos’ future success. The team has plans for a 25,000-seat stadium in Belmont, N.Y., and it may take another successful season to get approval for it.

The Cosmos’ Chief Operating Officer Eric Stover spoke about the team’s stadium plans at media day.

“We’re very confident that we’ve put forth the best bid of anybody that submitted a bid,” Stover said. “We think the last thing that region needs is another strip mall.”

Stover said the Cosmos’ bid was double the size in construction, economic impact and job creation, and that it did not include any taxpayer money.

“We feel very good about it, we’re just waiting for the process to unfold,” Stover said. “Hopefully it is us as a preferred bidder, but for now we’re just staying patient.”

Though the Cosmos do not face top-tier MLS talent, Stover does not see the team as second class.

“We want to be at the top of the pyramid in the United States,” Stover said. “Any team in any sport, if they’re going to be successful, you need your own stadium. And if we do what we want to do, it will be the best stadium in the United States for soccer. And it will be a huge step forward for us putting the Cosmos back on top.”

Savarese said he thought the team was on track to do just that. He and Stover both acknowledged the difficulty in building the Cosmos, but Savarese expressed trust in his players.

“We’re not going to make a decision just to sell a shirt or because we want to bring a name,” Savarese said. “It has to be the right person.”

For now, the team will continue to play its home games at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium. The Cosmos open their season on April 13 against the Silverbacks, and the first 5,000 fans will receive a limited edition Pelé T-shirt.

“Last year was a great year for us, very successful,” Stover said “And now, heading into 2014, we’re excited to do it all over again.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…

National

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Local

VIDEO: NYPD seeks shooter in East New York…

Cops are on the lookout for an unknown shooter who aimed and missed hitting a man on a bicycle, instead nearly striking a nearby officer in East New York.

Local

NYS state forces thrift shops comply with ban…

Nine New York City thrift shops were reprimanded by the state attorney general for selling children's clothes with drawstrings around the neck and waist.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 11,…

Caleb's not a ghost. Spencer might still be an attempted murderer. And Hanna's going to die next week. In other words, we actually got some…

Movies

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

Marvel Entertainment's Stan Lee is adding outposts to his creative empire to interest a new generation of children in super heroes of all shapes and sizes.

Television

Mira Sorvino explores immortality on 'Intruders'

Mira Sorvino's new show "Intruders" centers around a secret society that achieves immortality by taking over the bodies of other people.

Television

5 things you need to know about new…

"Doctor Who" returns Saturday with a new star, Peter Capaldi. Here's some things to know about him (mainly his turn as sweary spin doctor Malcolm Tucker).

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

NFL

David Wilson returns to triple jump, sets sights…

Giants fans know David Wilson can jump. They are just more used to seeing him go for backflips, not distance.

Style

11 timeless gifts for registries or just because

Gifts to prove you're a style maven once and for all.

Parenting

How everyday moments can inspire kids' creativity

"The Artist's Way for Parents" author Julia Cameron gives advice on how parents and children can be creative together.

Tech

How to stay safe online

Stop worrying about keeping your online passwords safe, and start worrying about keeping your username a secret. Actually, worry about both. According to Shaun Murphy…

Tech

OpenTable now lets you pay your bill via…

The restaurant app OpenTable added the ability to pay your bill (and tip) with your phone, thus cutting back on a few dining annoyances.