Brooklyn Borough president Eric L. Adams: “There’s an international appeal in the borough of Brooklyn; 47 percent of Brooklynites speak a language other than English at home. No other sport personifies this diversity and energy more than soccer.” Adams, second from the left is pictured with Raul, Carlos Mendes and Alecko Eskandarian. (Michael Lewis/FrontRowSoccer Photo)
With Eric Adams poised to become the mayor of New York City, I thought it would be appropriate to repost this story about him as Brooklyn borough president that I wrote on April 28, 2015. That year the Cosmos played some games at MCU Field in Brooklyn.
By Michael Lewis
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — If he had his way, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams would add the Cosmos to his borough’s burgeoning staple of professional sports teams.
“We want them here,” he said with a smile Tuesday.
The Barclay Center already has the basketball Nets and will add hockey’s Islanders, who had played at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y. for more than four decades.
With the Cosmos’ project of building a $400 million, 25,000-seat soccer specific stadium at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. in limbo, with New York State supposedly dragging its collective feet for more than two years — other options have been mentioned by team officials. That includes possible stadium sites in Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island and even New Jersey.
The Cosmos will play their first game in Brooklyn at MCU Field in Coney Island against the Ottawa Fury at 7 p.m. Saturday, as part of a soccer doubleheader. In the second match, the Cosmos B team will meet the Brooklyn Italians immediately afterwards.
Whether or not the Cosmos get their Belmont proposal approved by the Empire State Development Corp. or get an opportunity to seek a new home elsewhere, it remains to be seen.
Adams put his, ahem, best foot forward in his attempt to entice the Cosmos making Brooklyn their permanent home.
“This is great for Brooklyn – to use MCU Park to play the game of soccer for the first time,” he said during a press conference at Pier 5 of Brooklyn Bridge Park Tuesday. “Soccer has grown so much in Brooklyn. On any given Saturday you can go to any neighborhood park and see our young people engaging in the sport. There’s an international appeal in the borough of Brooklyn; 47 percent of Brooklynites speak a language other than English at home. No other sport personifies this diversity and energy more than soccer.”
Joe Barone, whose Brooklyn Italians will meet the Cosmos B team in the second game of Saturday’s twin bill at MCU Park in Coney Island on Saturday night, talked about the need for more playing facilities for youth and amateur teams in the borough. He also hoped that the Cosmos would move to Brooklyn.
“I would hope, and I would pray that the New York Cosmos could eventually play fulltime here in Brooklyn,” he said. “I would welcome our borough president to make that happen and hopefully on the other side of the river for our mayor to make that come to life. I’m very excited. I am happy this game is being played at MCU Park.”
Of course, given local and state politics, that is much easier said than done.
When asked whether the team consider looking to Brooklyn for a stadium, head coach Giovanni Savarese replied, “We’re committed to be able to build a stadium. The borough that makes it happen is the one we’re going to decide to be. Brooklyn. … We have to wait for the right procedure. You are all aware of what we have done so far. We first have to be able to understand that part. The team is ready to be able to have a stadium. As a coach, I can say just this: the office, the general manager, has a lot more to say about the question that you asked.”
Cosmos Chief Operating Officer Erik Stover, who mentioned the other possible venues in December, was out of the country and was unavailable for comment Tuesday.