Rocco B. Commisso: “We haven’t finalized the plans. In one way or another, we want to play next year.” (FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)
By Michael Lewis
NEW YORK — An incarnation of the Cosmos will be back in 2019, although team owner Rocco B. Commisso doesn’t know in which form.
He would love to have the Cosmos return to play in the North American Soccer League, although that appears to be unlikely. The league is in hiatus for at least a year after the U.S. Soccer Federation rescinded its Division II status.
During a halftime interview during Cosmos B’s 3-2 loss to FC Motown in the National Premier Soccer League playoffs at the Columbia University stadium that is named after him, Commisso said that the team will return in 2019 “in one way or another.”
“We haven’t finalized the plans,” he added. “In one way or another, we want to play next year.”
When asked whether it will be the A team, the Cosmos in a professional league, Commisso replied, “We don’t know if it’s the A team, the B team, the C team. We don’t know yet.”
There has been talk of the NPSL, an amateur league, forming a professional league, but all it has been is talk until now.
Still, Commisso is committed on continuing the Cosmos tradition. He purchased the team prior to the 2017 NASL season and helped keep the league running.
Earlier this year Commisso proposed to the USSF that he would invest $500 million — $250 million of his own money — if the NASL could return. It was rejected by the federation.
During a USSF board of directors meeting via telephone May 27, it was determined that the league should follow the proper sanctioning process that has been around for more than a decade.
Commisso brought up the possibility of the USSF changing its mind.
“Or maybe someone from U.S. Soccer says, ‘There’s opportunities we should do something,’ ” he said. “We just can’t carry with the way we’ve been carrying on. The litigations, lawsuits and so on. There is also a game that needs to be played and the ball’s in their court.”
Cosmos B (12-1-1) captured the regular-season and playoff titles in the North Atlantic Conference.
“We had a very, very successful season this year,” Commisso said. “Win or lose tonight, I think you can call this an outstanding performance by the sporting staff of our club, starting with Joe Barone, who put the team together, and Carlos [Mendes], in his first year of coaching the team, and he’s had an outstanding record.”
Commisso recently put in a bid to purchase financially ailing A.C. Milan in Italy’s Serie A, from Chinese businessman Yonghong Li , but negotiations have hit a roadblock. Yonghong Li missed a deadline to pay back $37.6 million, so hedge fund Elliott Management has started the process to repossess his assets.