Sources: New York Cosmos to Call MCU Park home in 2017

MCU Park

by JAKE NUTTING

The New York Cosmos are coming back to the Five Boroughs.

Following months of speculation, EoS has confirmed through sources that the Cosmos will call MCU Park in Coney Island, Brooklyn home for the upcoming 2017 North American Soccer League Season. It will be the first season the storied Cosmos have played inside the Five Boroughs since 1976 when Yankee Stadium hosted them.

An official announcement on the move from the Cosmos is expected Wednesday or Thursday of this week. Cosmos COO Erik Stover informed fans in an email Tuesday that the new venue will provide an improved matchday experience.

New Cosmos Owner Rocco B. Commisso told media members in a conference call earlier in the month that he was considering several options for a stadium in his first season in charge, but that talks had only been held for two other venues. Columbia University was reportedly be the other location up for discussion, although those talks never advanced past the preliminary stage.

The team’s previous majority owners were in the final stages of a deal to bring the Cosmos to MCU Park in 2017, but those discussions stalled in the final months of last year as mounting debt led to front office layoffs and most of the roster being released.

With a new lease on life under Commisso, the Cosmos are ready for a fresh start in Brooklyn following four seasons of lackluster returns at the gate at Hofstra University’s James M. Shuart Stadium. Last year saw the team post numerous records on the field and capture its third championship title, but average attendance also dipped below 4,000 for the first time.

For Hofstra’s part, the university wasn’t interested in hosting the Cosmos for a fifth season even if the team wanted to come back. Ongoing frustrations between the school’s security team and Cosmos supporters soured relations between the school and the Cosmos front office. The ill-will became apparent this past year when the school refused to allow the Cosmos to host any of their U.S. Open Cup games at Shuart Stadium after security issues during the 2015 Open Cup matchup with MLS’ New York City FC.

Compared to Shuart Stadium, MCU Park will offer far easier transit options for Cosmos supporters in the city as Coney Island is the last stop on several subway lines. The move might be more of a hike for the core contingent of supporters the team has built up, though.

The NASL season schedule is expected to be released sometime this week. Eight teams are scheduled to compete in a 32-game season, with each team hosting 16 matches.