In the most significant step to date toward their ultimate goal of joining the U.S. top flight, the revived New York Cosmos franchise announced on Thursday that they will join the North American Soccer League for the 2013 season.
The NASL, which adopted its name from the league the original Cosmos played in from 1971 to ’85, is the current home of second-division soccer in the U.S. The league consists of eight teams, including reborn versions of old NASL sides, and Cosmos rivals, the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Ft. Lauderdale Strikers. The Cosmos, who have no players at the moment, will be the NASL’s ninth team.
The team will reportedly begin play at Long Island’s Hofstra University, where the original Cosmos played in 1972 and ’73.
“We are delighted to return to our historic home with the NASL and bring the New York Cosmos back to the playing field,” said Cosmos chairman Seamus O’Brien. “We are committed to running the franchise with the highest possible standards on and off the field, and look forward to putting together a competitive and entertaining team our fans can be proud of.”
The nascent franchise sees the move as a first step to rebuilding the Cosmos brand and reaching its goal “to play ultimately at the highest level and be the No. 1 side in North America,” according to O’Brien.
Major League Soccer recently undertook an examination of Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens as a possible site for a stadium that would house the league’s 20th franchise.
The Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers, and Vancouver Whitecaps have all recently made the jump from U.S. second-division soccer to MLS.