While they may not have firm answers yet, the club knows where it wants to be.
“With respect to the geographical orientation of the Cosmos, I think we’re pretty sure that, for a number of reasons, that we’re not going to be playing at the Hofstra Stadium in April 2017,” shared Commisso. “We don’t have a formal agreement given everything that’s happened in the last couple of months. We don’t have a formal agreement with anyone right now.”
“But, we have been negotiating with one, possibly two, or talking to the two as to where we’re gonna play.”
Asked for details on what they were, the two names were of little surprise considering the Cosmos link to one from 2015 and his relationship with another.
“There’s been very preliminary discussions with Columbia,” he revealed. “We’ve had extensive discussions with MCU in Coney Island. I know there’s certain colleges that already called me to see whether we would consider them and I’ll leave it at that. That’s in the five boroughs. If we want to go beyond the five boroughs, there’s more stadiums out there.”
But it seems the Cosmos are city-bound. The team played twice at MCU Park in 2015 and it was widely believed they would play the 2017 season there. Commisso has such close links to Columbia University’s soccer program that the school’s soccer stadium is named after him.
“There’s a huge probability, a high probability that we’re going to play in the five boroughs.”
But the question remains as to who would suit up for the Cosmos with reports indicating all players had been released and confirmations arriving on the signings of multiple members of last year’s side to other clubs.
“Coach and Sporting Director Giovanni Savarese is going to have the responsibility of rebuilding the staff at the athletic level: the youth, the academy, the semi-pro,” said Commisso. “All the things associated with the playing of the game are going to be in the hands of Giovanni.”
However, there are some building blocks, however few they are.
“In regards to the players, unfortunately December was a tough month, so basically everyone was gone with the exception of three players,” stated Savarese. “Those three players were already re-signed to come back which are [David] Ochieng, [Ryan] Richter and [Eric] Calvillo and from that point on, we’ve been talking to some players to be back. We’re confident that we will be able to bring some guys back but, unfortunately with this transition, some guys had to move on in order to get to other teams and now we’re going to have to re-do the club from the beginning. So, we are at least excited to have the chance to bring the Cosmos back and it’s going to be a tough job, because we don’t have a lot of days, but we’re confident to be able to re-do a confident team.”
However, it appears much of the technical staff could potentially return.
“We tried to bring everyone back. Unfortunately, there have been some losses. Carlos Llamosa accepted an offer from New England Revolution which he started working already from December, so he will not be back with us, at least for now.
We tried to talk to all the members to be back. Luke Sassano, Jack Gaeta, they’re already on board. We’re talking to Alecko Eskandarian to be back. Luis Gutierrez, we believe, will be back. Memo Valencia is, at the moment, entertaining some offers but also thinking about coming back and we tried to refill the staff again with the same people that we had and filling in with new people in some spaces.”
Gio also shared that he and Rocco found themselves with the same ideas on how the team should be built.
“Our conversations have been always on the same page, believe in the same thing, to rebuild a team that is a reflection of New York City, that is very diverse, that has local players and international players. So, the same thing we have done so far.”
“He’s given full confidence, not only to me, but to my staff to rebuild the club and we already have started even before the deal was closed, we were already talking to players to rebuild the team again. So we’re going to try to do nothing different than what we have done before; try to do the best that we can to rebuild the club.”
“Gio has already proved himself. He doesn’t need me to tell him what to do,” said the new owner. “I got other jobs to do and so does Erik [Stover]. Gio’s got my total confidence in deciding what to do. I just give him a budget to work with and then he takes over from there, largely because I’m not the expert.”
“Over time, I might get involved. I might suggest that at my age, I may want to come back and play, so he’s gotta find a spot for me,” he added with a chuckle.
But, Savarese maintains, this project will take time as the team gets built not from scratch, but less than scratch.
“But, everybody has to understand, this was on the verge of not existing, not continuing. So, the Cosmos was DONE,” emphasized the coach. “So for this miracle that has happened, now all of us are trying to do our best to rebuild, but we have to be conscientious that we’re starting not from zero, but from minus five. But, everyone wants to put the best possible effort to be ready for when the season starts.”