NEW YORK CITY - Goaaaaaal.
The long-defunct New York Cosmos soccer team — whose squad once included arguably the world's most famous player, Pele, among its ranks — is holding open tryouts and plans to pick at least one player from each of the five boroughs.
The club, which is about to embark on its second incarnation in the North American Soccer League, will be holding open tryouts starting April 13 in Brooklyn.
“If you’re asking people to come, you have to show that you’re committed to go to them as well,” Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese told DNAinfo.com New York.
“We wanted to make sure we go to every borough in New York. That way they know they’re part of us. We’re willing to go the extra mile to find those players.”
At least one player from each tryout will be selected to join the Cosmos in pre-season training. Players 16 and older are asked to register at www.nycosmos.com/tryouts. The first 80 applicants for each tryout will be contacted individually to confirm their invitation.
“If they’re good and they’re from New York, they’ll stay in New York playing for us,” Savarese said. “We’re looking for players willing to bring a positive attitude to the club, that are hungry and want to make it, to be a winner.
"We want good soccer players who are comfortable with the ball and that have an understanding of what it is to play on the highest level."
Savarese said the players trying out have a legitimate chance to make the Cosmos. He speaks from experience, attending tryouts for the North Jersey Imperials and the Long Island Rough Riders at the beginning of his professional career.
The native of Venezuela joined the Rough Riders and was a two-year standout before scoring 41 goals in three years with the MetroStars in Major League Soccer.
“It was a great experience to go through there and become an important part of the Rough Riders,” said Savarese, who was named head coach in November. “Through these tryouts you never know you might find the story of a player who comes through there and makes it."
The Cosmos were originally founded in 1971 and, with international superstars like Pele, Franz Beckenbauer and Giorgio Chinaglia, drew sellout crowds at Giants Stadium in the late 1970s. The original North American Soccer League folded in 1984.
The current Cosmos team, which has aspirations of eventually competing in MLS, will kick off its first season in the second-tier NASL Aug. 3 against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at Shuart Stadium on the campus of Hofstra University.
The Cosmos, which joined the league again last July, are hoping to build a 25,000-fan stadium at Belmont Park in Elmont, Long Island. The plan also includes a 175-room hotel, retail space and a new public park.
The schedule for all five tryouts is as follows:
Saturday, April 13, 4-6 p.m. – Verrazano Sports Complex, Brooklyn
Saturday, April 20, 1-3 p.m. – Flushing Meadows Corona Park Field 1, Queens
Saturday, April 21, 12-2 p.m. – Macombs Dam Park, Bronx
Saturday, April 27, 2-4 p.m. – Corporal Thompson Park, Staten Island
Saturday, May 4, 8-10 p.m. – Pier 40, Manhattan