An ownership change could help keep the New York Cosmos afloat, but their status is still very much connected to that of the NASL.
Throughout the last several weeks, the statuses of the Cosmos and the NASL have been in question. While the Cosmos have made numerous cuts to their organization and are in doubt for 2017, the NASL has lost several teams since end of the 2016 season–including Minnesota to the MLS, and Tampa Bay and Ottawa to the USL, which comes on top of well-documented issues with organizations such as Fort Lauderdale and OKC.
For the Cosmos, there could be a key change in ownership, as Rocco Commisso–the founder, chairman, and CEO of Mediacom Communications–is expected to take over as majority owner. This has the potential to reestablish the organization’s operations, but with a move to the USL unlikely–regardless of whether that league obtains second-division status–the Cosmos must still wait out the U.S. Soccer Federation‘s decision on the NASL. More from SI.com:
His purchase is contingent on one very critical variable, however. The Cosmos will play only in the NASL, and the NASL—despite its issues and the USL’s application—must maintain D2 status.
Commisso’s involvement was reported earlier Thursday by New York website Big Apple Soccer and confirmed independently to SI.com. Calls to the Cosmos’ office requesting comment weren’t returned.
If the Federation allows the NASL to maintain its D2 status, and waivers would be needed since U.S. Soccer requires a second-division league to field 12 teams in its sixth season, then key dominos will fall. Commisso will purchase the Cosmos, re-staff the front office—sporting director and head coach Giovani Savarese, COO Erik Stover and a handful of remaining employees are keeping the lights on at the moment—and restock the roster in time to take the field this spring.
As SI goes on to note in its story, the NASL will need to restock the league over a period of time if it is to retain second-tier status. While more information should be available once the U.S. Soccer Federation decides how to handle the NASL and USL for the coming season, there are already signs that the NASL is looking for more clubs, as evidenced by the recent news that the league is exploring possibilities in Southern California.
The U.S. Soccer Federation was originally slated to decide the statuses of the sport’s second and third tiers in early December, but wound up postponing that decision. Deliberations have carried over into the new year, but there could be a resolution in the very near future, as U.S. Soccer is expected to render its decision later today.
Image of Cosmos Midfielder Danny Szetela courtesy New York Cosmos.