Photo Credit: New York Cosmos
When Rocco Commisso purchased the New York Cosmos in late 2016, no one knew much about him, or what would happen with the club.
Fast forward to March 2017, I attended New York Cosmos media day in Brooklyn, New York. The club were introducing the new home and away jerseys for the upcoming season. Rocco discussed how much they have accomplished since he bought the club from selling season tickets, signing players, marketing and so much more. A new era for the New York Cosmos was signalled that day.
Throughout the Cosmos final season in the North American Soccer League, Rocco maintained a very active, high-visibility presence. He would walk downstairs and greet the supporters. Occasionally Rocco was interviewed on MSG Networks during the halftime break. As the USSF decision to de-sanction the NASL was made clear, there was a stark message from an area of the sport not always known for clarity in communication. "Shame on them, shame on anyone who is trying to shut us down".
Throughout Seamus O' Brien's time with the Cosmos, we never heard from him. As an owner he decided on a low personal profile and engagement that I don't think served the supporter community well. Consistent radio silence grows uncertainty. It sends a message to the supporters that you don't care, or don't know what to say.
Rocco is different. Here is a man so passionate about the game that he made it a personal commitment to align his resources with his will to stick up for his club and go up against the people and organizations that are trying to ruin the Cosmos.
Without Rocco purchasing the club, I don't know where the club would be today. With Rocco in charge, I don't worry about the long-term future of the club because it's in earnest hands. The future seems bright with the announcement that the New York Cosmos will participate in the 2019 National Premier Soccer League Founders Cup and intends to participate in a full professional season in 2020.
On Saturday November 3, 2018 at the 41st annual Induction and Awards Gala, Rocco Commisso was inducted in the National Italian Hall Of Fame in Chicago. The class of 2018 inductees were Gina Carano, Rocco B. Commisso, Joe Girardi and Gene Pingatore. We have a very successful man leading our club into the most important era of the modern day New York Cosmos.
Let's hope the Cosmos can find a place to call home so the club can grow over the next couple of years. In the NASL, the Cosmos were never able to lay a foundation for the future. Hopefully that will change in a new league and with a very passionate owner in Rocco Commisso.