After a nearly 30-year absence, the New York Cosmos are back.
The Cosmos joined the North American Soccer League (NASL) last summer and are a little more than a week away from their opening match set for Saturday, Aug. 3 at 7 p.m. against the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers at Hofstra University’s Shuart Stadium.
“We want to be a dynamic team that is very aggressive going forward,” Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese said. “We’ll try to play pretty, but if circumstances change and the game becomes difficult, we also have a strong team to confront anything that we’re going to find.”
The Cosmos and Strikers last met on May 8, 1983. Six years earlier, the two teams participated in one of the most memorable soccer games of all-time held on U.S. soil. On Aug. 14, 1977, fans packed Giants Stadium for a playoff matchup, setting the then-U.S. attendance record of 77,691. The pair also contested Soccer Bowl ‘80 with the Cosmos prevailing 3-0.
“It’s fitting that we’re opening against the Strikers,” Savarese said.
Legendary players Pelé, Carlos Alberto and Giorgio Chinaglia will be honored before the opener. Pelé and Alberto will be joined by family members of the late Chinaglia, who played alongside the Brazilian stars during the franchise’s heyday in the 1970s and ‘80s. “We can never forget the great memories of playing for the Cosmos,” said Pelé, who will also participate in an Aug. 1 lighting ceremony at the Empire State Building, when it will be transformed into the hues of Cosmos green.
The Cosmos began play in 1971, spending 14 seasons in the NASL, winning five Soccer Bowl trophies and bringing some of the biggest names in world soccer to the USA. Throughout its absence, the club maintained a loyal and dedicated fan following.