Lively Tales About Dead Teams

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1971-1985 New York Cosmos

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New York Cosmos YearbookNorth American Soccer League (1971-1984)
Major Indoor Soccer League (1984-1985)

Born: December 10, 1970 – NASL expansion franchise.
Folded: Summer 1985.

Stadiums:

Arenas:

Team Colors:

  • 1974: Green, Yellow & Blue
  • 1977: Green & White

Owners:

  • 1971-1984: Warner Communications (Steve Ross, et al.)
  • 1984-1985: Giorgio Chinaglia, et al.

Soccer Bowl Champions: 1977, 1978, 1980 & 1982

 

Text coming soon…

 

 

New York Cosmos Memorabilia

 

 

New York Cosmos Video

Trailer for Once In A Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos

 

 

In Memoriam

Former Cosmos head coach Hennes Weisweiler, who managed the club from 1980-1982, passed away on July 5, 1983.  He was 63.

Cosmos founder/owner & Warner Communications CEO Steve Ross passed away on December 20, 1992 from prostate cancer at 65.

Julio Mazzei, who helped bring Pele to America in 1975 and later coached the Cosmos in the 1980’s, died on May 10, 2009 at age 78.

Ex-Cosmos player/owner Giorgio Chinaglia, the NASL’s all-time leading scorer, died on April 1, 2012 at age 65.

 

 

==Downloads==

1973 New York Cosmos Season Ticket Brochure

June 1978 New York Cosmos Travel Itinerary – Minnesota

March 25, 1979 Cosmos vs. Estudiantes Tecos Game Program

June 11, 1979 – Cosmos Sign Dutch Star Johan Neeskens Press Release

August 31, 1980 – Pele to Don #10 Again in Beckenbauer Farewell Press Release

1982 New York Cosmos Soccer Bowl Press Kit

November 20, 1983 Cosmos Sign Dan Canter Press Release

 

Links

North American Soccer League Media Guides

North American Soccer League Programs

Major Indoor Soccer League Media Guides

Major Indoor Soccer League Programs

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April 17, 1971 – St. Louis Stars vs. New York Cosmos

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St. Louis Stars vs. New York Cosmos
April 17, 1971
Busch Stadium
Attendance: 3,701

North American Soccer League Programs
8 pages

 

This was a remarkable find earlier this month – a creased, somewhat frail paper program from the first match in the history of the famed New York Cosmos.  I inadvertently picked this up from a Missouri man cleaning out his closet of old St. Louis Stars (1967-1977) programs for $5 a piece.  A few hours after it arrived in my post office box earlier this week, a Cosmos collector from New Jersey plucked it away for $100.

The now historic contest was played at St. Louis’ Busch Stadium in peaceful anonymity in April 1971.  The Stars, owned by the stalwart Robert Hermann (for whom the NCAA’s Hermann Trophy is named), were one of the North American Soccer League’s more stable operations.  Nevertheless, fewer than 4,000 fans showed up to watch the Stars’ 5th season home debut.

The Cosmos earned a 2-1 road victory on this day.  Cosmos legend Randy Horton scored the first goal in team history while the game winner came from Ghanaian forward Wilberforce Mfum, a player who wasn’t even listed on the New York roster in the match program.  Inaccurate as it may have been, below is the Cosmos roster for the franchise’s first game, at least according to the Stars’ PR department.  You can grab the entire program in .PDF format in the Downloads section below.

No. Player Position
1 Conrad Kornek GK
2 Barry Mahay FB
3 Charles McCully HB
4 John Young CHB
5 Theodore Hasekidas CHB
6 Horst Meyer HB
7 Jaime Delgado OR
8 Ceyhan Yazar OR
9 Andy Mate CF
11 Jorge Siega OL
12 Radi Mitrovic CF
15 Siggy Stritzl HB
16 Randy Horton CF
19 Kilrakos Fitilas HB
20 Jan Steadman FB
21 Emanuel Kofie GK
24 Rudolph Pearce FB
Coach Gordon Bradley

 

One footnote for New York fans – that’s Dragan “Don” Popovic, player and assistant coach of the St. Louis Stars pictured on the cover and profiled inside.  Popovic later became a terrific indoor coach and led the New York Arrows to the first four championships of the Major Indoor Soccer League.

 

==Downloads==

April 17, 1971 St. Louis Stars vs. New York Cosmos Match Program

 

==Links==

New York Cosmos Home Page

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Written by AC

April 20th, 2014 at 4:33 pm

March 25, 1979 – New York Cosmos vs. Estudiantes Tecos

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New York Cosmos vs. Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara
March 25, 1979
Kezar Stadium
Attendance: 9,000 (estimated)

North American Soccer League Programs
4 pages

 

Over the past six months or so I’ve pumped an absurd amount of money that should have gone into retirement savings or my baby girl’s college fund into acquiring large chunks of the remarkable estate collection of the late Newark Star-Ledger sportswriter Ike Kuhns.  Kuhns covered all sorts of events, but I’ve been focusing on his meticulous New York Cosmos soccer archives, which probably should have been sent to the National Soccer Hall of Fame, except that the Hall is currently out of business and its collection is currently gathering dust in a storage facility somewhere in North Carolina.

Anyway.  If you’ve been annoyed with the heavy soccer coverage on Fun While It Lasted during the past year – especially the Cosmos – you can blame it almost solely on Ike and his awesome, once-in-a-lifetime collection.  Or you can blame me.  It makes no difference to either of us at this point.

This is one of the cooler finds from Kuhns’ files.  A four-age tabloid newspaper style match program for a March 1979 pre-season exhibition between the Cosmos and Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara (colloquially known as “Tecos”) at San Franscisco’s Kezar Stadium.  I can’t imagine many of these broadsheets survived the walk home from Golden Gate Park that day, let alone 35 years moldering away in somebody’s attic.  Maybe this is the only one – you can download the whole thing at the bottom of the page.

Tecos traces its history back to 1935, but the club only became fully professional in 1971.  Nevertheless, by 1979 they were a competitive team in the Mexican First Division and worthy of facing the Cosmos in this 1979 pre-season tune-up, played before 9,000 or so mostly Mexican-American fans in San Francisco.  And the Tecos held their own on this day, drawing the Cosmos 2-2.  Giorgio Chinaglia scored two in the first half to give the New Yorkers a 2-0 advantage at intermission.  But the Tecos clawed their way back in the second half to earn the tie courtesy of goals by Eladio Vera and David Salas.

In fairness, Cosmos manager Eddie Firmani was without two of his best players – Carlos Alberto and Dennis Tueart – and he started Trinidadian Earl “Spiderman” Carter in goal.  Carter had an awesome nickname but he was also a 9th stringer who literally never played in a North American Soccer League regular season game when it counted.

One last (ultra geeky) curiosity about this match.  The NASL had two Bay Area franchises in 1978.  The San Jose Earthquakes played at Spartan Stadium and the Oakland Stompers lasted just a single season at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.  A month prior to this match the Stompers were sold to Canadian interests and moved to Edmonton, Alberta.  So I was surprised to see the Tecos Game Notes (download them below) printed on Stompers letterhead.  Either the Stompers were due to be the organizational “hosts” of this exhibition before their abrupt move to the Great White North, or else some lone Stompers PR flack was left behind with a few leftover piles of Stompers stationary and he offered to help out with the event promotion.

 

==Downloads==

March 25, 1979 New York Cosmos vs. Tecos Game Program

March 25, 1979 New York Cosmos Game Notes

March 25, 1979 Tecos Roster & Game Notes

March 25, 1979 New York Cosmos vs. Tecos Official Scorer’s Sheet

 

==Links==

More NASL International Friendlies

New York Cosmos Home Page

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Written by AC

October 13th, 2013 at 4:10 am

June 24, 1979 – New York Cosmos vs. New England Tea Men

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Shep Messing Rochester LancersNew York Cosmos vs. New England Tea Men
June 24, 1979
Giants Stadium
Attendance: 41,428

North American Soccer League Programs
130 pages

 

This June 1979 match marked the North American Soccer League debut of Dutch national team midfielder Johan Neeskens.  Neeskens, a key member of Holland’s World Cup final teams in 1974 and 1978, was arguably the last truly impactful European star signed by the New York Cosmos (1971-1985), a club that became world famous for importing foreign stars to America.  (Neeskens would also hang on longer than the others and was the last big name left when the Cosmos played their final season in 1984).

The Cosmos’ opponent on this Sunday afternoon were the New England Tea Men, and a national TV audience on ABC joined the 41,428 on hand at Giants Stadium.  The Tea Men were struggling through a wretched sophomore jinx season, but they always played the Cosmos tough.  During New England’s expansion season in 1978, the Tea Men were the only NASL club to beat the eventual champion Cosmos twice.  On July 12th, 1978 New England beat the Cosmos 3-1 in New Jersey, ending the Cosmos two-year, 23-match unbeaten streak at home.  Coming into this game 11 months later, the Cosmos had built up a new 12-game home winning streak.

Johan NeeskensJohan Neeskens was the story going into the match, and he was strong in midfield, nearly scoring on a volley just over the New England crossbar in the 55th minute.  But the story of the day – surprisingly – was a pair of young American stars who’d dropped out of college the previous year to play for the Cosmos.

21-year old David Brcic, who left soccer power St. Louis University in 1978 to sign with New York, got his first start of the season, after spending the first sixteen matches deep on the bench behind both Jack Brand and Erol Yasin.  Brcic was outstanding, making 10 saves and recording a clean sheet against the Tea Men.  It was a rare moment of outdoor glory for Brcic.  Though he stayed with the team until it’s demise in 1985, he never won the outdoor starting job, seeing most of his action during the Cosmos’ winter indoor seasons of the 1980’s, which the club never seemed to take especially seriously.

The other young standout was 20-year old midfielder Rick Davis, considered by many to be the finest American player in the game.  Playing in his 30th pro match, Davis had earned a reputation as a reliable distributor, earning 7 assists through the first 16 matches of the 1979 season.  But he had never scored a goal, until the 50th minute of this game, when he put a knuckling shot past Tea Men goalkeeper Kevin “Cat” Keelan.  Davis was too surprised to celebrate and walked calmly back to midfield while his teammates leaped and yelled around him.  It was the only goal of the match in the Cosmos 1-0 victory.

Prior to the 2:30 PM kickoff, there was a preliminary match between the New York Freedoms, champions of the amateur Cosmopolitan Soccer League’s Major Division, and a team of Cosmopolitan League All-Stars.  Over the years, more than a dozen Cosmopolitan League alumni made it up to the NASL and other American pro leagues.  You can check out the press notes and rosters from this match in the Downloads section below.  The All-Stars head coach was Dr. Gerry Klivecka, brother of Cosmos’ manager Ray Klivecka.

Former Cosmos star goalkeeper Shep Messing is pictured on the cover of the day’s KICK Magazine program, but by this time he was upstate New York, playing his final season of outdoor soccer with the anything-but-glamorous Rochester Lancers.

 

==Downloads==

June 11, 1979 – Dutch Star Johan Neeskens Signs With Cosmos Press Release

June 24, 1979 New England Tea Men Game Notes 

June 24, 1979 New York Cosmos Game Notes

June 24, 1979 New York Freedoms vs. Cosmopolitan All-Stars Game Notes

 

==Links==

New England Tea Men Home Page

New York Cosmos Home Page

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April 9, 1980 – Fort Lauderdale Strikers vs. New York Cosmos

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Fort Lauderdale Strikers vs. New York Cosmos
April 9, 1980
Lockhart Stadium
Attendance: 18,572

North American Soccer League Programs
112 pages

 

One of the all-time great matches in Fort Lauderdale Strikers history.  The Strikers hosted the mighty New York Cosmos at Lockhart Stadium in front of a near-sellout crowd in their third match of the 1980 North American Soccer League season.

The Strikers leaped out to a sudden 2-0 advantage, thanks to a pair of quick goals from Peruvian World Cup star Teofilo Cubillas in the 6th and 7th minutes. Francisco Marinho, who played for the Cosmos in 1979, set up both of Cubillas’ first half goals.  In the 2nd half, it was Cubillas and Marinho again, with Cubillas getting his third of the night for a hat trick in the 51st minute and Marinho adding the coup de grace in 87th en route to a resounding 4-1 victory.

On the other end of the field, Strikers defender Ken Fogarty frustrated New York’s star striker Giorgio Chinaglia for most of the night, holding the NASL’s all-time leading scorer off the scoring sheet until it no longer mattered. Chinaglia got his first goal of the 1980 season in the 80th minute when it no longer mattered, but it kept the Cosmos from suffering a shutout.

What was otherwise a great night for soccer in Fort Lauderdale was marred late in the final minute of the match when a fan leapt over a field barrier and assaulted Iranian-born Cosmos defender Andranik Eskandarian.  The U.S. was in the thick of the Iranian hostage crisis at the time.  Chinaglia got a few kicks in at the attacker before he was lead away by police.  Eskandarian was dazed but unhurt.

After the match, Cosmos players and coaches spoke highly of the Strikers effort.

“If they play with the guts they played with tonight, they’ll be in the Soccer Bowl,” Cosmos technical director Julio Mazzei told Hal Habib of The Miami Herald.

Franz Beckenbauer agreed.  “If they always play like tonight, they’ll have a good chance to win the championship.”

Mazzei and Beckenbauer were right.  This match turned out to be a preview of the Soccer Bowl ’80 championship match, played five months later before 50,000 fans in Washington D.C.   But the Cosmos would flip the script in the Soccer Bowl, taking apart the Strikers with a decisive 3-0 victory.

Bob Lenarduzzi of the Vancouver Whitecaps was pictured on the cover of the evening’s KICK Magazine match program.

 

==Downloads==

April 9, 1980 Fort Lauderdale Strikers Game Notes

April 9, 1980 New York Cosmos Game  Notes

 

==Additional Sources==

“Cosmos Expect To Get Better”, Hal Habib, The Miami Herald, April 10, 1980

“Cosmos Lost It, Fan Attacks Player”, Ike Kuhns, The Newark-Star Ledger, April 10, 1980

 

==Links==

New York Cosmos Home Page

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