Next stop, Brooklyn!
It was an official homecoming of sorts for Coney Island’s newest sports franchise, North American Soccer League’s (NASL) New York Cosmos, which has left Hofstra where they played most of their home games to make Coney’s MCU Park their new home.
The franchise was welcomed by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Alliance for Coney Island, elected officials, members of the community and more at Gargiulo’s Restaurant, 2911 West 15th Street, at a dinner celebrating their move to the borough. Those crowding into the packed venue were excited to welcome players, coaches and owners to the team’s new digs. For the occasion, the Parachute Jump had the words “Cosmos” written across it.
“When I was debating where to bring the Cosmos, given my intent of wanting to bring the team to the five boroughs, MCU Park was absolutely perfect,” said new Cosmos Chairperson Rocco Commisso. “It’s an absolutely beautiful place and I’m so proud to bring the Cosmos here.”
The team’s Head Coach and Sporting Director Giovanni Savarese also discussed his excitement about the move. “It is amazing the energy already that we can feel tonight in this room,” he said. “We are a team with so much history. I’m a lucky man to be coach of this club and my pitch when I took over was to make sure I made the past be proud but create a new future. There are so many ethnicities on this team, which is exactly what Brooklyn is about.”
“Nothing could be more fitting to welcome a team to Brooklyn than to be here at Gargiulo’s having a big Italian meal,” said Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Andrew Hoan during the welcome dinner. “If this is any indication of what Brooklyn can do for the Cosmos and the Cosmos can do for Brooklyn, I know we are off to a great start.”
Executive Director of the Alliance for Coney Island Alexandra Silversmith agreed. “We are excited to have the New York Cosmos joining us in Coney Island and adding to the slate of exciting activities and events in Coney Island,” she added. “Days after the first Cosmos game in Coney Island, the amusements will officially open for the 2017 season on April 9.”
The history of the Cosmos — which have won eight national championships since 1971 — was also brought up throughout the night. “New York City is the birthplace of American soccer and the Cosmos kick started the soccer revolution in our country,” said Commisso. “It started in the ’70s and today we can gladly say there are 23 million kids and grownups that have been exposed to the game. The Cosmos have a worldwide reputation and unique brand with New York soccer.”
After the speaking portion and video presentation, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Alliance for Coney Island and elected officials presented Commisso with a Brooklyn Cosmos jersey.
The Cosmos’ first home game is on Saturday, April 1 at 7 p.m.