Cosmos Country Drops Coverage of Team

cosmos-saudi-arabia

By JACK BELL

Cosmos logoCiting a “series of events last week,” one of the founders of This is Cosmos Country said on Twitter and in a statement on the group’s website that it would no longer continue producing a podcast about the Cosmos or cover the two-time defending champions of the North American Soccer League.

“Last Friday night after the EoS article came out I got a phone call from Joe Barone,” Luis Hernandez, one of the founders, told EoS on Thursday afternoon. “Among other things he said he got call at 3 a.m. Saudi time [8 p.m. Friday night in New York] from Rocco [majority owner Rocco Commissio] who was with the club in Saudi Arabia. There was a lot of anger. Part of what he said was something like if you want to talk about this on the podcast you’ll see what happens.

“His words put me off. I’m not sure I felt threatened. I will say I was surprised. We’ve invested time, money and put in a lot of effort, and we don’t get paid. It’s purely a labor of love. We do this because we love this team and there’s a gap in coverage out there.”

Hernandez added: “We feel we just have to walk away. They’re trying to bully us. We love the team. We’re fans. We support the on-field product. We’re behind Gio [Coach Giovanni Savarese], his players and staff. It’s an unfortunate situation. None of us want to be part of this anymore.”

He clarified one point: The Cosmos have not pulled his media credential and Hernandez said he might attend Saturday’s match at MCU Park as a fan.

The full text of the statement, written and signed by Hernandez, entitled “So long from the TICC crew,” is below:

You may or may not have noticed how quiet we’ve been over the last few days, not posting anything after the Open Cup loss in Reading, including anything regarding the friendly match in Saudi Arabia.

That’s because we’ve decided to take a step back.

Following a series of events last week, the TICC team discussed a few matters and we decided that, as an entity, TICC will not continue coverage of the club.

We’re still fans of the on-field product: an amazing technical staff in Giovanni Savarese, Alberto Gallego, Luke Sassano, Jack Gaeta. And some of us have gotten to know the players on a personal level and we treasure those interactions.

The time, effort and investment we’ve spent have not come close to breaking even with the loss of sleep and sanity we’ve experienced since we started this project. But, we’ve been rewarded with fantastic interviews with figures from the soccer world and we’ve built some pretty incredible friendships with you all across the country.

Some have felt our coverage is too negative. Maybe they’re right. But, we’ve always tried to paint a fair picture of the club. However, watching three ownership groups and a near fatality of the team gives you a certain perspective. And we definitely stand by it.

Some of us will continue to work on our own endeavors.

By now, you are all familiar with the amazing work done by our photographers Eytan Calderon (@eytcal on Twitter) and Steve Hamlin (@stevehamlin19). Steve has also been a big part of the writing staff alongside Jordan Jacobsen (@USA_SC_Fan) and Rich Gallagher (@Gallagher_Rich). Of course, I must mention Mike Schemmel (@VivaLaShem), whose graphics helped our site take a step up.

And what can I say about Nick? He’s been a tireless part of this podcast since we started it, dabbled in writing, and has had his own unique relationship with the club. His strong opinions, strong accent and weak pronunciation skills will be missed by all. On our last show, he’d stated his plan to leave at the end of the season, so this is just an accelerated timeline for him, which he was open to. His career has taken priority over his time for extra curricular projects.

I also can’t let the efforts of others go unnoticed. Thank you Ant, Leo, and Prez.

I thank every single one of these people for all they gave. With a team this strong, every episode and every write-up was a final.

And lastly, but most importantly, thank you to the readers, listeners and supporters of this project. Without you, there was no reason to go as far as we did. Keep the faith and keep supporting the green and white.

WE LOVE YOU ALL!

– Luis H. (@deltareaper)

Last week, Hernandez spoke to EoS after the club’s loss to Reading United, an amateur team that plays in the Premier Development League, in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. He also addressed the team’s hastily arranged trip to Saudi Arabia for an exhibition match in the middle of the NASL’s Spring Season.

There is probably more to the decision and the story, exactly what is not yet clear. But since new ownership assumed control of the Cosmos, representatives of the club have been aggressive in responding to any criticism or perceived slights.

EoS sent an email to the club’s director of media relations seeking comment. The club, through its spokesman Mauricio Villarreal, declined.