By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
August 23, 2013-With Pelé, Franz Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto and Giorgio Chinaglia wearing Cosmos uniforms, the team was the talk of American soccer and kids in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) attended their games and dreamed of playing for them one day. But the Cosmos and the North American Soccer League (NASL) folded in 1984, leaving a gaping hole in the American soccer landscape. Other than some rare sightings of the Cosmos Alumni team during the past three decades, the Cosmos were simply a happy memory. They have now gone back to the future with the reboot of the New York Cosmos playing in the new NASL and their first home game at James M. Shuart Stadium on the campus of Hofstra University on August 3 attracted over 11,000 fans.
So it makes perfect sense that a professional team with an illustrious history named the Cosmos would enter a partnership with the most historic youth soccer league in the United States, the Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League (CJSL), celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2013. The CJSL, with teams throughout the five boroughs of New York City, has established the CJSL Select Player Development Program as a Cosmos Satellite School.
"We are very excited to begin this new program with the Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League," Cosmos Director of Youth Development Fabian Banchiero said. "Personally, I have very fond memories as a player within CJSL and it is a great opportunity to now be able to help other young players further grow and have a future in soccer. The CJSL Select Program will allow the New York Cosmos to observe players in the different regions under CJSL through our training and development programs."
The CJSL Select Program becomes an official member of the Cosmos Development Program by creating select teams for Boys-Under-11 through Boys-Under-14 age groups playing in the CJSL. They will receive coaching from the staff of the Cosmos Development Program plus will take part in various national, international and Cosmos-hosted competitions. The Development Program is the second tier of the Cosmos Training and Development Program and is primarily focused on training, camps and clinics for more advanced players and highly competitive travel programs.
"The program will provide the Cosmos a method to evaluate and identify emerging talent while allowing the young players a way to improve their skills," the new CJSL President, Dimitrie Draguca, stated. "The partnership with the New York Cosmos in developing our Select Program will only enhance our clubs’ already proven history of developing quality individuals both on and off the field. We are proud as a league to offer our clubs and its players this opportunity to work with a professional organization like the Cosmos who understand the importance of proper player development within these key developmental years of 11 to 14 years old. We owe it to our young players to provide them a Select Program that is geared to prepare them for the next level of soccer."
With 123,843 youth soccer players––68,587 boys and 55,256 girls––and more than 25,000 volunteers, the non-profit Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) stretches from Montauk Point, Long Island to the Canadian border. Members are affiliated with 12 leagues throughout the association, which covers the entire state of New York east of Route 81. Eastern New York exists to promote and enhance the game of soccer for children and teenagers between the ages of 5 and 19 years old, and to encourage the healthy development of youth players, coaches, referees and administrators. All levels of soccer are offered––from intramural, travel team and premier players as well as Special Children. No child who wants to play soccer is turned away. Eastern New York is a proud member of the United States Soccer Federation and United States Youth Soccer Association. For more information, please log on to http://www.enysoccer.com/, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.