New York Cosmos to join third-tier league NISA

Former New York Cosmos striker Raul (Credit: Getty Images)

New York Cosmos will play in the third-tier National Independent Soccer Association in 2020, the famed soccer club announced.

The team most recently played in the semi-pro National Premier Soccer League and the NPSL Members Cup. Prior to that, the Cosmos played in the second-tier North American Soccer League, which collapsed in early 2018.

The move means the Cosmos will remain a professional club after the NPSL announced that it would not accept professional teams in its league in 2020.

“We are encouraged by the potential of the league,” says Cosmos acting chief operating officer Erik Stover. “The independent, club-based philosophy is something we agree with and we’re optimistic that the league will grow.”

The Cosmos are owned by Italian-American billionaire Rocco Commisso, who is the chairman of cable provider Mediacom and the owner of Serie A side ACF Fiorentina.

Following the demise of the NASL, Commisso has funded a federal antitrust lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation, accusing the governing body of anti-competitive practices designed to favor Major League Soccer. 

Commisso says his purchase of Fiorentina will not derail his efforts on this issue. “I promised that I would continue this fight and I have, with lots of money behind it with no clear idea where it will end up. I will fight and fight hard,” he told SportBusiness.

The New York area will also gain a second-tier side in 2021 with the arrival of USL Championship club Queensboro FC. Among the owners is Spanish former World Cup winner and New York City FC captain David Villa.