As AmericanizeSoccer.com predicted, the Cosmos will resurrect in the Minor Leagues.
The NASL accomplished many feats signing up the New York Cosmos for entrance into their league beginning with the 2013 season.
The signing stabilized the league, re-asserted them as the Division 2 professional Soccer brand, and probably saved them from going under.
They did all these things in one swoop because that’s what the Cosmos bring.
They are the big fish. Any other team signing would be positive news and would stabilize the NASL by some degree, but would not bring the same quality assurance.
The Cosmos will heighten the NASL profile nationally, too. There will be more news, press releases, and overall media coverage every time the Cosmos take the field and each season there will be constant swirl over when they will make their move to MLS.
Also, as a visiting team, the Cosmos will sell more tickets at home venues like San Antonio, Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa.
If the Cosmos look to be building towards MLS, this bodes well for other NASL old-timers, like the Strikers from Fort Lauderdale and the Rowdies of Tampa Bay.
Much has been made of the Cosmos becoming part of MLS by commissioner Don Garber. If they become that stepping-stone team built at the Division 2 NASL level, then as MLS makes other spots available, surely the other NASL teams will be thinking similarly.
There is a pretty big trail now of teams jumping to MLS from the minor leagues.
Most recently, the Montreal Impact made their way to MLS from Division 2 NASL, but plans had been in the works for a period of time prior to NASL being sanctioned and recognized as Division 2.
Before Montreal, MLS teams from Toronto, Seattle, Vancouver and Portland all built themselves in the lower divisions.
NASL is in a position now to remain viable and steady at least for a few years.
Other cities will want teams now at this level just to compete where the Cosmos are. Before the Cosmos, there didn’t seem to be any other teams lining up to gain entry into NASL. The league’s survival (currently with only 8 teams, some really struggling at the gate) was in question because without any new suitors, eventually there is no ball.
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Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com