Following the United States Soccer Federation’s decision last night to grant provisional Division II status to the NASL for the 2017 season, the New York Cosmos have announced their to return for the 2017 season.
The Cosmos broke their long silence today with a short statement of their intentions on social media.
Official Club Statement Following USSF Provisional Sanctioning pic.twitter.com/SwDDrErDvh
— New York Cosmos (@NYCosmos) January 7, 2017
Cosmos Chairman Seamus O’Brien made comments in The Guardian regarding his belief the club could not play in a “seven-team league” or the then-Division III USL.
“For us as the Cosmos, playing in a seven-team league potentially, you need to make decisions now,” O’Brien told The Guardian. “You can’t wait until February, March to see if you are kicking a ball in April. It’s a business decision you have to take now. That’s not an option for us.”
However, the sanctioning of the NASL as a Division II league and confirmation of eight teams in the next league season (with the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers and Rayo OKC sitting out) seems to have been enough to have the club prepare for a 2017 season after all.
The NASL released a statement of its own last night after both it and the USL received approval from the USSF to operate as a Division II league for the 2017 season.
“The NASL Board of Governors and I support U.S. Soccer’s decision to grant the league provisional Division II status,” said North Carolina FC owner Steve Malik. “We’re excited about beginning play in April, and we look forward to the continued growth of our league and soccer in the U.S.”
Neither league met full compliance, according to the USSF, but the federation will work with them towards meeting all the requirements, along with some additional criteria. The USSF will determine what the additional criteria are, as well as what the timeline will be for the leagues to achieve them.
“After an exhaustive process working with both leagues, in the best interest of the sport the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors has decided to grant provisional Division II status to the NASL and USL,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “U.S. Soccer will create an internal working group that will work with each league to set a pathway to meet the full requirements for Division II and allow for the larger goal of creating a sustainable future. We look forward to another productive year for professional soccer in this country.”
Empire of Soccer recently released a report indicating that the club was set to take the field at MCU Park under a new majority owner, Rocco Commisso.
There will be much work ahead for the team who have terminated or released most of their staff and all their players. The EoS report also states the Cosmos would make good on the money owed to all staff and players affected, something that TICC can also confirm to have been told.
There will be changes next season. New owner aside, many players won’t return as Danny Szetela, Lucky Mkosana, Adam Moffat, Juan Arango, Yohandry Orozco, Yasmani Duk and Jairo Arrieta have all moved on to new clubs. Assistant Coach Carlos Llamosa is also gone. Some staffers have moved on and will not return.
Still, it is believed that a core of last season’s players will wear the green and white this year.
The Cosmos will have to deal with the image of the club that they painted over this offseason, one that shuttered their doors and sent people away without the money owed them. One where the very stability of the club was put into question. However, it appears an important first step has been taken today and it will be on the team to correct its issues, move forward, and open a new dialogue with its fanbase.