With the NASL season on the horizon, the league’s reigning champions New York Cosmos returned to practice on Tuesday at the field named for its new owner.
The practice, held at Rocco B. Commisso Soccer Stadium at Columbia University was the first opportunity for Commisso to see his new team since taking ownership. Several returning a new players were on hand including Carlos Mendes, Andres Flores, Danny Szetela, and Jimmy Maurer.
Following the practice, Commisso and Giovanni Savarese, the team’s head coach and sporting director, spoke about the Cosmos’ move to Brooklyn from Long Island and what to expect under the new leadership this upcoming season. In addition, they unveiled the signing of former Juventus, Palermo, and Fiorentina striker, Amauri to the 2017 roster.
“I’m honored to greet our team on the same grounds where I first kicked the ball for Columbia University 50 years ago,” said Commisso. And I welcome Amauri to our historic club. The entire Cosmos organization is hard at work rebooting our franchise and focused on building a winning team to defend our 2016 Championship Trophy, which this year will be shared with all New Yorkers at our new home in Brooklyn.”
The founder, chairman and CEO of Mediacom Communications, the 5th largest cable television company in the United States, Commisso became the majority owner of the Cosmos in January. Today’s event brought him back to his home turf where he starred for the Columbia University men’s soccer team from 1967–1970. Commisso served as Co-Captain of the 1970 Lions, Columbia’s first team to ever qualify for the NCAA men’s soccer tournament.
“We are glad to be back,” said Savarese. “Rocco has given the club a new breath of air and we are thrilled to have him leading the organization going forward. The team has been preparing well during the preseason and will continue to work hard to reach our best possible level by our first game on March 25th.”
The Cosmos announced earlier this month that MCU Park in Brooklyn will be team’s new home after playing the past four seasons at Hofstra University. Located just steps from Coney Island’s famed boardwalk, the stadium sits under the Parachute Jump, and is surrounded by public beaches, amusement park attractions, restaurants and bars.
The team will host a total of 16 regular season NASL matches at MCU Park this year, beginning with the home opener on Saturday, April 1, at 7 p.m. against Miami FC.