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AMERICAN DREAM

I was catching Paul Scholes’s testimonial game on TV where he donned the Red Devils’ jersey for the last time against New York Cosmos at Old Trafford weeks ago. My attention quickly re-adjusted and auto

I was catching Paul Scholes’s testimonial game on TV where he donned the Red Devils’ jersey for the last time against New York Cosmos at Old Trafford weeks ago. My attention quickly re-adjusted and auto focused on the American team in white and green.

Before the game, I was thinking why would Manchester Utd accepted or probably invited the newly reborn team with almost non-recognized names for such an occasion. And when I looked at the Cosmos’ players carefully, I realized that it was an invitational team that featured players like former Reds’ players, Gary Neville, Nicky Butt, Dwight Yorke, and current stars Robbie Keane, Sol Campbell, Patrick Vieira, Michel Salgado and even former Italy’s captain, Fabio Cannavaro! But of course, Cosmos had also given their own players, 8 players from their current U-23 team, an opportunity to play at the Theatre of Dream. Eventually, the English won the game 6-0.

New York Cosmos, so what do I know about this American team? I was on my way down from Edinburgh to London last September, I bought a copy of Four-Four-Two magazine from a kiosk and that’s my entertainment for the next few hours journey. On the main cover was the legendary striker, Pele, in a funny-looking green jacket bearing the name of New York Cosmos. I know New York Yankees and I know a few verses of Empire of States by Alice Keys but I just know no Cosmos. I read on, gradually I understand and realized how ignorance I am!

In short, New York Cosmos was a big hit team back in the 70s where players such as Pele and Frank Beckenbauer used to turn out for. Low attendance and TV rate caused the then Americans’ futbol league to fold in 1984. 25yrs later, 3 British by the name of Terry Byrne, Paul Kemsley and Carl Johnson, brought Cosmos back alive. Together with the rebirth of Cosmos, Pele came on board as Cosmos President and Eric Cantona and Cobi Jones as the Director and Associate Director of Soccer respectively. Aiming to participate in the Major League by 2013, their preparation commenced as early as last year by touring globally to promote the Reborn of Cosmos!

And just before I am able to digest what this Cosmos is all about, they were here in Singapore early this March as Singapore was one of their stops for the Asia promotion tour! I have to say, I am one of the luckiest people around to actually experienced their whole marketing campaign and indirectly assisted them for 2 days due to the nature of my work.

In that short 2 days duration, their management team had shown how serious they were in order to relive the glory days of Cosmos’. All their props, merchandizes and presentations, had greatly influenced those who were not following the American soccer – I was one of them.

I personally witnessed their marketing presentation and I was impressed. If you think about it, this is a project which might not even materialized few years down the road but this group of people here were showing how much passion they had in order to make all these effort worthwhile in the next coming 3yrs. Result will only be seen not this year, not next year, but the year after next! And they were traveling globally doing promotion as early as year 2010! Can you believe that? The amount of work, the amount of financial support and etc? They believe they could do it and that was why they were here! Unbelievable, I mean.

I spoke to their Chef Marketing Officer, Dan Cherry III, about their current progress and everything seems to be on schedule. Currently they do not have a senior team but only with an U-23 team competing in one of their local leagues. In another 3yrs’ time, this group of U-23 players will be the stars to put on the ever-famous white and green jersey in the Major League. So once again, the developing of players through the club’s youth system has proven essential and important. New York Cosmos does run their own soccer academy – one in the East America and another in the West America. However recently they have just ceased operation for the West’s.

After knowing so much about New York Cosmos, I have the sudden urge wanted to know more about the American soccer now, especially New York Cosmos. Previously, we only know about LA Galaxy because of David Beckham. Now all of us should have another reason to follow the American soccer. Bring it on, Cosmos… the world is waiting for your return!

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christian@node8.net

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