Despite reports of stadium issues and financial uncertainty, the New York Cosmos are downplaying talk of ceasing operations.
The status of the Cosmos has been closely scrutinized. After spending the last four NASL seasons at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium, the Cosmos are on the search for a new home in 2017, as their partnership with the university has ended. There were signs of difficulties with the team’s arrangement at Hofstra–the stadium was not made available during the Cosmos’ recent trip to the NASL finals–but the Cosmos had previously anticipated moving into a new soccer-specific stadium at Belmont Park. That plan has run into roadblocks, however, and there is no firm answer on where the team will spend 2017.
Meanwhile, some outlets, including Empire of Soccer, have reported that the team is strapped with financial difficulties, prompting furloughs and other cost-cutting measures. These developments come as the NASL holds league meetings today and tomorrow.
That has prompted some doubt about whether the Cosmos will continue operations in 2017. However, some team sources are indicating the team is merely in a phase of transition, and will not fold. More from CBS New York:
However, a Cosmos source told WFAN.com on Monday that the rumors of the team’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.
“Are they going to close up shop and go away?” the source with knowledge of the situation told me. “I think that is highly, highly unlikely. That’s not going to happen. This is not the death of the Cosmos after all. It’s not a case of the Cosmos disappearing and going away. It’s a case of what’s the next move. It’s not another 30-year hiatus. That’s not happening.”
Here’s what we do know. After the league meetings conclude, the NASL could look a lot different in 2017. In fact, the league could be on the verge of losing Division II status in the United States. With Minnesota moving to MLS and Tampa Bay and Ottawa jumping to the United Soccer League, the NASL now stands at 11 teams, including the expansion San Francisco Deltas that are scheduled to begin play next season.
The team also issued a statement regarding the issue:
Statement from New York Cosmos. NASL meeting in Atlanta today, prob tomorrow, to address future. pic.twitter.com/AwEVugdMjh
— Brian Straus (@BrianStraus) November 29, 2016
If they do return next year, the Cosmos will look to improve upon their 2016 attendance numbers, as they averaged just a little more than 3,400 fans per game and finished ninth in the 12-team NASL. Several outlets, including CBS, have suggest that Brooklyn’s MCU Park–home of Minor League Baseball’s Brooklyn Cyclones–could be used as the team’s home facility in 2017.
Image courtesy New York Cosmos.