By Michael Lewis
The New York Cosmos, who have hopes of competing in a new league in 2020, have taken an important step toward reaching that goal.
They have submitted an application to join the National Independent Soccer Association for the 2020 season, national soccer sources said Thursday afternoon. As it’s names states, NISA is an independent soccer league not associated, for example, with the USL’s, multi-tier structure of lower-division soccer.
The league’s application deadline for U.S. Soccer is Nov. 1. It was not known when the Cosmos applied to enter the league, but it appeared to be days prior to the deadline.
It also was not known how long the approval process would take.
The Cosmos did not have a comment about their application.
NISA commissioner John Prutch would not comment on it as well, saying that he doesn’t talk about applicants or future applicants to the league.
The Cosmos were forced to seek a new league after the National Premier Soccer League announced new rules would be implemented for next season restricting the use of professional players. They did not have many viable options at the professional level, although NISA looked promising particularly because several other former NPSL clubs will compete there next spring, including NPSL Members Cup champion Detroit City FC, NPSL champ Miami FC, Chattanooga FC and Michigan Stars FC, among other clubs.
NISA has been sanctioned provisionally as Division III league by U.S. Soccer, the country’s soccer governing body.
Besides the NISA board of governors approving new teams, they also need to be vetted by U.S. Soccer as well, Prutch said in that Oct. 14 interview.
“The process is fairly complex,” he said in that interview. “There are a lot of requirements from U.S. Soccer that we have to go through. It is somewhat time consuming. Once that’s done, then we go down a parallel path with U.S. Soccer as they are approving the new clubs. We are as well with the league. We approve them before U.S. Soccer does.”
The approval process includes an application review by the board of governors, the team’s owners, a presentation by the prospective club and a vote.
The North American Soccer League, led by Cosmos owner Rocco B. Commisso, has filed an anti-trust lawsuit against U.S. Soccer. Whether that legal action will affect aby members of the board of governors’ decision remains to be seen. The Cosmos competed in the NASL from 2013-17.
In 2019, the Cosmos participated in two leagues, finishing as runners-up in both. They dropped a 3-1 home decision to Miami FC in the NPSL final Aug. 3 and took second place behind Detroit City FC in the Members Cup with a 7-1-2 record.