The New York Cosmos will be racking up their frequent flyer miles this spring and summer as the team has set exhibition matches in Saudi Arabia and Saskatchewan.
The defending NASL champions have accepted an invitation from the General Entertainment Authority of Saudi Arabia to play an international exhibition game against the nation’s most decorated professional club, Al-Hilal FC. The match will take place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia at Al-Hilal’s home ground, Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium, on Saturday, May 20, 2017.
Saudi Arabia will be the 48th nation visited by the Cosmos, underscoring the club’s long-standing reputation as America’s greatest global soccer ambassador. This friendly exhibition will be the Cosmos’ 128th contest played on foreign soil and the 187th international match, including those played in the United States.
“By participating in this momentous event, we continue our club’s tradition of traveling across the globe to promote soccer, unity and friendship,” said Rocco B. Commisso, chairman, New York Cosmos. “This is more than simply a game. It’s a significant opportunity for the New York Cosmos to once again make history.”
Two years ago, shortly after the United States restored diplomatic relations with Cuba, the Cosmos were the first U.S. sports team to visit Havana in 16 years when they played the Cuban National Team in June 2015.
Formed in 1957, Al-Hilal FC is the reigning champion of the Saudi Professional League and the most successful team in league history with a total of 14 titles. The organization holds six trophies in various Asian cups and eight Arab championships. In 2009, the International Federation of Football History & Statistics ranked Al-Hilal FC as the Asian Club of the 20th Century.
“Our club has had the good fortune to represent the United States during many memorable international matches,” said Giovanni Savarese, Cosmos Head Coach and Sporting Director. “It is our hope that this historic visit to Saudi Arabia will unite people through the beautiful game of soccer.”
Due to accepting the exhibition match in Saudi Arabia, the Cosmos have rescheduled their home game on May 21 with FC Edmonton to Wednesday, June 7, at 7:30 p.m. at MCU Park in Brooklyn. The Cosmos also announced their June 9 home game against North Carolina FC will now take place Saturday, June 10, at 4 p.m. at MCU Park.
In July, New York will travel to Regina, Saskatchewan, in Canada to play Regina’s first-ever international soccer exhibition match at New Mosaic Stadium against six-time La Liga winner, Valencia CF. The match is set for Saturday, July 22, as part of the Spanish team’s North American Tour.
The match will be played during the NASL Season break, one week before the Cosmos open their 2017 Fall Season by hosting Miami FC at MCU Park.
“It’s a great privilege to play in the first soccer match in beautiful new Mosaic Stadium,” said Erik Stover, Cosmos Chief Operating Officer. “It’s a world-class venue and we’re looking forward to the challenge of playing a world-class club like Valencia CF.”
Having won six La Liga titles, seven Copa del Rey trophies, three UEFA Europa Leagues and two UEFA Super Cups, among other titles, Valencia CF is one of the most rewarded clubs in Spanish and European soccer.
Valencia’s 2017 roster includes the likes of Portuguese international and UEFA Euro 2016 winner, Nani, expert penalty stopper, Diego Alves, and former Manchester City and France National Team defender, Eliaquim Mangala.
Regina has a growing community of soccer fans, and the popularity of the sport continues to rise. The teams will play in the new 33,000 seat stadium, home of the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League (CFL).