The new 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, 60 Furman Street, hosted media day for the borough’s new soccer team, the historic New York Cosmos, which will make MCU Park in Coney Island its new home this spring.
The event, held on Tuesday, March 21, featured the front office, elected officials and the entire Cosmos roster to discuss the team’s move to Brooklyn, new uniforms and its expectations for the franchise on and off the field moving forward.
Former Cosmos goalkeeper Shep Messing was guest emcee at the event and discussed the team’s history. “I can’t think of a better fit for the Cosmos than Brooklyn, perhaps the most ethnically diverse place in the world, certainly in New York,” he said. “And the team has a history playing in the five boroughs. They played at Yankee Stadium in 1971. I played on the team at Yankee Stadium in 1976 before we went to New Jersey. To bring this team to Brooklyn is a tremendous move.”
It was a difficult transition to bring the Cosmos to Coney, according to personnel. “What a difference five months have made,” said Erik Stover, Cosmos COO. “Things looked bleak. Thanks to Rocco [Commisso] for saving this amazing club and giving us this opportunity. We are looking forward to this second chance.”
“When I took over as chairman, we had quite a few problems,” said new Cosmos owner Commisso. “We didn’t have a team, a stadium or employees. In less than 70 days, we have made great strides to be able to say we are going to have a good opening day. We have a phenomenal group of young men who can take us to defend our championship that we won in the past year.”
Commisso also discussed the growth the team has experienced in such a limited amount of time. “We started out with not one ticket sold and in 70 days, we already accomplished the impossible,” he said. “We have more season tickets sold as of today than we had last year.”
Commisso also stated that, for the first time in 30 years, the Cosmos will be on broadcast television, with the home opener airing on WPIX and a deal with MSG Network that will air most of the team’s games.
“When I took the job, my main concern was to make sure that the past was honored because this club has a legacy,” added head coach Giovanni Savarese. “Once you’re part of this club, you understand the real meaning of what the Cosmos mean worldwide. There are so many stories. A lady came up to me in Bermuda and told me she and her father used to go to the games as a child.”
As for expectations on the field, players and management are optimistic but have tempered expectations about retaining their NASL title. “Preseason has been good,” said goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. It’s going to be a process. Things have been shorter and it’s been a quick turn-around for everyone in the club. Everyone is working all day as hard as we can to get going. As players, we can’t wait to get on the field and see what we can do.”
“I think the team will be competitive,” said Commisso. “I never promise anything. It’s one step at a time. Right now, our focus is the next game. I can’t give a straight answer what constitutes as success.”
The Cosmos will kick off their regular season in Puerto Rico on Saturday, March 25 before their home opener on Saturday, April 1.