It’s been an emotional day in Cosmos Country as the New York Cosmos have been reported dead, alive, and in limbo in the space of a few hours. Rumors and reports on the club’s future are bouncing around and we’ll try to sort out some of it here.
At 10:54am, Strikers beat reporter Pedro Heizer provided news of a grim nature to fans of the club, initially read as its second demise.
Breaking: Cosmos have notified the league they will cease operations.
— Pedro Heizer (@pedroheizer) November 29, 2016
Within 20 minutes, TICC and other outlets were reporting that highly placed sources within the organization were denying this and that no decision had been made. Reportedly, the organization was waiting for decisions pertaining to the NASL to be made at the Board of Governors meeting before any within the club would be made.
An official statement from the Cosmos was shared by Brian Strauss from Sports Illustrated shortly after.
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
Heizer also went on to say that staff and players had been paid, players had been released and the NASL might shut down with teams looking to enter USL for 2017.
TICC recently spoke with a player who assured us they had been paid, but were in the dark about the future of the club. There is conflicting information on this as Big Apple Soccer reports that some, if not all players have been paid.
TICC can also confirm that members of the staff have indeed been furloughed and Cosmos chairman Seamus O’Brien confirmed as much in a quote to Big Apple Soccer, also sharing that some players had been released.
Ruben Bover posted an Instagram story on Tuesday indicating a “mudanza” or a move back to Mallorca after four years. The story also featured a multitude of suitcases being packed.
In a series of previous reports, TICC tracked down interviews with players Juan Arango, Ayoze, and Yohandry Orozco, indicating the trio might be looking at options outside the club. Ayoze has a year remaining on his contract, but may still be departing.
No word yet on the status of Giovanni Savarese, who was in consideration for the job of Head Coach for Minnesota United’s inaugural year in MLS. TICC did find out earlier this year that his contract also runs through next season, but if Ayoze’s position is any indicator, it means the coach’s stay at the Cosmos is not guaranteed.
Rumblings also came from the offices of One World Sports that similar events might be taking place with their employees. Awful Announcing reported that employees were posting on social media about furloughs also being underway at the broadcaster’s offices.
Considering the common ownership that the team and the broadcaster share, it wouldn’t be a serious leap of faith to believe this news.
Heizer later clarified his initial tweet, indicating that it was not an overall cessation of activities for the Cosmos, but a cessation within the NASL.
— Pedro Heizer (@pedroheizer) November 29, 2016
It’s uncertain what form the team takes for 2017. The notion of playing exhibition games for 2017 may sound far-fetched, but it is a recurring possibility that TICC has heard from a number of sources.
In fact, Globo Esporte reported at the beginning of the month that the Cosmos were looking to play a friendly against Santos FC of Brazil in Miami this January and TICC was able to get a comment from them about the likelihood of the match.
The question is then raised as to why the Cosmos might take a season off to jump to another league, especially if it’s USL. There have been reports of animosity from the USL towards the club, but it’d be surprising to think that a year would be required to get the situation resolved. It’s similarly hard to imagine the club taking a year off to join what potentially will be another Division Two league.
The latest rumors regarding the Cosmos? Jeff Carlisle at ESPN FC says that the Cosmos may be in the hunt for new ownership. This report comes around the same time as a tweet from Michael Wheeler, the founder and president from MAE Agency, that has since been deleted indicating a possible option for that new ownership.
— Matt @ UnusedSubsPod (@UnSub_Matt) November 29, 2016
As for the NASL? The Board of Governors’ meetings continue in Atlanta.
Bob Williams at the Telegraph wrote that, per a source, four investment groups were present at the meeting representing potential teams interested in joining the league.
WRAL Sports Fan’s Neil Morris shared that the CEO of USL was also in town in talk with club owners.
Alec Papadakis of #USL is in Atlanta meeting separately with several NASL owners present for league's BOG meeting, per multiple sources.
— Neil Morris (@ByNeilMorris) November 30, 2016
Big Apple Soccer indicated that Papadakis, USL President Jake Edwards, and USSF President Sunil Gulati were also present in the meetings themselves which according to the site “became heated as tensions rose.”
One can only wonder what tomorrow brings.