On Dec. 6, the New York Cosmos, the most prolific soccer team in the United States, announced that the club is going under. Again.
The club released an official statement on Tuesday announcing that the team will not play in 2017, and it looks like they will never play again.
It was reported that the Cosmos’ players received termination letters on Monday, with players such as goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer and and Ruben Bover going to Twitter to confirm the news.
Players will be payed for the month of November and have been promised to be paid their bonuses for the rest of the year.
Unfortunately for the players, they will not be paid for the month of December or for the remainder of their contracts, regardless of the length of their current deals.
So what went wrong for the club? In order to understand why the club went under for a second time, we have to look back at their glory years and the first time the club was disbanded.
The club was first established on Dec. 10, 1970 and played in the North American Soccer League (NASL), which was the first division of American soccer at the time.
The team was the strongest and largest franchise in the league at the time, with legends like Brazilian soccer icon Pelé, West German defender Franz Beckenbauer and Italian striker Giorgio Chinaglia.
When Pelé retired in 1977, the club along with the league started to decline. The league’s attendance fell, and it lost the TV deals along with it. The team then folded in 1984, and the NASL was disbanded only a year later.
But in August of 2010, the New York Cosmos were revived after a 26 year absence.
The club relaunched as the newly-branded Cosmos, with help from many big names, including Pelé himself. Paul Kemsley, former vice-chairman of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, bought the rights to the club, while former Liverpool Football Club executive Rick Parry and Terry Byrne (David Beckham’s former personal manager) assisted with the revival of this club.
The Cosmos’ play in the NASL, which is now the second division of American Soccer behind the Major League Soccer (MLS).
The club had big ambitions, with the main goal being to reach the MLS and be the second franchise from New York in it.
They showed how hungry for success they were by even hiring French and Manchester United legend Eric Cantona as the club’s sporting director. Unfortunately, they were beaten to that goal when New York City Football Club became the 20th team and franchise to enter the MLS and the second team from New York in the MLS.
The Cosmos had a lot of success since they were revived back in 2010, winning three NASL championships in the past four years and attracting players like Raul, Marcos Senna and Niko Kranjcar to play for them.
However, the club suffered a great deal through financial troubles and inconsistent business practices.
The proposed stadium upgrade never was fulfilled because of bad planning.
It’s also reported that the Cosmos lost $8-10 million this year. It’s also reported that Eric Cantona is suing the club over unpaid wages.
The Cosmos hope to attract a new owner to revive the club for a third time, but as of right now the chances look very slim. It’s unfortunate for such a historic club to go through this, but it goes to show that running a club is not just a team, it’s also a business too.
Luke Stergiou can be contacted at Lstergiou@kscequinox.com