Mysterious Soccer Chimp's Identity Revealed
By Leslie Albrecht
UPPER WEST SIDE — Sounds like New Yorkers need to brush up on their local sports history.
Pedestrians at Amsterdam Avenue and West 65th Street have been puzzled recently by side-by-side posters showing a monkey holding a soccer ball and soccer legend Pele.
It turns out the ball-wielding chimp is Harold, a 1970s-era mascot for the New York Cosmos soccer team. The team stopped playing in the 1980s, but recently relaunched under new management.
The Cosmos organization pasted the posters around the city to generate buzz about the team's rebirth, said Cosmos spokeswoman Theresa Tran.
Though some locals were confused to see a monkey next to the greatest soccer player of all time, the images made perfect sense to soccer buffs like Nick Laveglia.
Laveglia is president of Borough Boys Supporters Club, a three-year-old organization that's working to bring a professional soccer team to New York City.
When he spotted Harold's picture on DNAinfo, he wrote a blog post explaining the image's origin. "(Harold) would come to the field before the game, juggle the ball and get the crowd entertained," Laveglia told DNAinfo.
While the monkey had impressive ball control, he was lacking in bladder control, Laveglia said.
Harold urinated on Cosmos midfielder Stanley Startzell during a press conference, according to "Once in a Lifetime: The Incredible Story of the New York Cosmos," by Gavin Newsham.