Us Cosmos fans have a tendency to run rampant with high expectations for our club. Whether these expectations are based in reality or fantasy, we can’t help but speculate about the future of the rebooted Cosmos. That’s not wrong, it’s a fun and exciting time for New York City soccer fans who have waited a long time for a team that truly represents New York. While I can write pages and pages worth of material dedicated to all these expectations (Championship or bust! MLSNY3! 15,000 average attendance!) , this post will be about player acquisition expectations.
While Villarreal legend Marcos Senna and La Liga veteran Ayoze have been great “big name” signings for an NASL side, some seem to believe a Drogba or a Ronaldinho type signing is right around the corner. The Cosmos can sign a player of that caliber eventually, but it may not be for several years. It could take a beautiful, brand new SSS to truly lure the big names. You have to learn to crawl before you can run and Cosmos COO Erik Stover has preached just that.
Speaking last week to UAE based news outlet GulfNews.com about the Cosmos’ future, Stover said,
“I think ultimately you want to have the best possible roster of players you can,” he said. “At some point for us, that will include stars. We already have Marcos Senna [the former Spain midfielder, who won the 2008 European Championship], who’s a world-renowned player, but we’re not thinking of trying to sign a recognisable player like David Beckham. I think what we’re trying to now is build the best possible club we can and grow it in a sustainable way.”
Even though that may not be exactly what Cosmos fans want to hear, it is the most realistic approach for the near future. We can reasonably expect another Senna type signing in a year or two, but not a Kaka. Beckham immediately had a problem with MLS playing surfaces, what would a similar player think of Hofstra’s lacrosse lined turf or playing at Edmonton’s Clarke Stadium?
If the Cosmos keep winning, if NASL shows to be more stable and most importantly, if we get a shiny new 25,000 seat stadium with a grass pitch, then the chances of landing a star player increase dramatically. Patience is the key virtue here.
As I write this, former Portuguese international, Nuno Gomes , prepares to depart Cosmos training camp after spending a week working out there. Cosmos head coach Gio Savarese has made it clear that Gomes being at Cosmos camp is just “training” and not a tryout for the team. However, while speaking to Dan Karell of Soccer By Ives ,Savarese did leave the door open to Gomes returning to New York, this time as a Cosmo,
“He came here only to train, to be fitter, but we always said that if he can help us, maybe we can analyze him. That’s something that we can do right now, to see if we can do anything building up for the future and keep him here.”
Gomes, 37, who has scored 29 goals in 79 appearances for Portugal and last year appeared in 18 games for Blackburn, would be a great Senna-esque acquisition for the ‘Mos next season. He still figures to have some opportunities in Europe, so I don’t know how much desire he will have to play 2nd division soccer in the U.S.
This is what a “big name” signing currently looks like for the Cosmos, we need to accept those expectations.