USL News Release
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
TAMPA, Fla. – United Soccer Leagues announced today that New York Cosmos U23 will field a team in the Premier Development League (PDL), and will become a full member for the 2012 season. New York Cosmos U23 will play a limited exhibition schedule against PDL competition during the 2011 season, and will not be eligible for the playoffs or the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The PDL franchise will be led by longtime USL player/coach Giovanni Savarese, who is also a member of the 2007 USL Hall of Fame. A coaching announcement, along with the full roster and schedule will be posted by mid-May on www.uslsoccer.com and www.newyorkcosmos.com.
After a 25-year absence, The New York Cosmos were relaunched in August 2010 with Pelé named Honorary President. One of the most recognizable soccer clubs in the world. The New York Cosmos took America, and subsequently the world, by storm in the 1970s and 1980s by bringing in top stars such as Pelé, Franz Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto and Giorgio Chinaglia to play an entertaining brand of soccer that captivated fans.
Currently, the club’s international ambassadors include Chinaglia and Alberto. Former France and Manchester United forward Eric Cantona serves as director of soccer and former United States international Cobi Jones is associate director of soccer and ambassador.
“We are excited to have one of the top names in world soccer joining the Premier Development League,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said. “New York Cosmos U23 is led by experienced and ambitious management who know how to run a first-class operation, and their participation will only strengthen the thriving PDL presence in the greater New York area. This relationship is a natural progression based on their strong relationship with Umbro, USL’s most important and longest standing partner.”
The New York Cosmos operate Cosmos Academy East (based out of Queens, N.Y.) and Cosmos Academy West (based out of Pomona, Calif.), with both participating in the United States Soccer Development Academy program. This emphasis on youth development fits perfectly with the PDL model, which focuses on continuing the development of elite players beyond the youth level.
“We are excited to be a part of the USL family and are putting forth the dedication and resources necessary at every level within our organization to rebuild The New York Cosmos in the right away,” said Paul Kemsley, Chairman, The New York Cosmos. “Our New York Cosmos U23 team is a natural extension to our Cosmos Academy and further reinforces our commitment to developing young, talented players. Our academy players will have a chance to play amongst some experienced and competitive PDL teams and we look forward to a full season in 2012 and beyond.”
The premier U23 men’s league in North America, the USL Premier Development League features 64 teams within four conferences across the United States and Canada in 2011. The PDL provides elite collegiate players the opportunity to taste a higher level of competition while maintaining their eligibility.
Upon officially joining the PDL for 2012, New York Cosmos U23 will enhance the already strong PDL presence in the greater New York area and have a wealth of natural rivals. Among the current PDL clubs based nearby are the Brooklyn Knights, Long Island Rough Riders and Westchester Flames.
The top supplier of talent for professional soccer in North America, the PDL saw another large group of its alumni make the move into professional soccer recently with 37 of the 54 players selected in the 2011 Major League Soccer SuperDraft having previously played in the PDL. A remarkable eight of the first 10 selections in the draft had PDL experience.