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A look back at one of the more curious fads in American professional sports, the sudden rise and precipitous fall of the North American Soccer League, spanning its existence 1968-1984, as seen through the experience of its most famous club, the New York Cosmos. The NASL made very little impact in the US, where soccer had virtually no following, until in 1975 the New York Cosmos succeeded in signing the most famous player in the world, Pele. Attendence for Cosmos games exploded, outdrawing even the New York Giants and New York Jets of the NFL, to where exhibition games in Seattle were drawing huge crowds, and when Pele announced his retirement in 1977 his final game drew the biggest crowd to ever see a soccer game in the US. His retirement from the game began a slow but steady decline for the NASL as money issues for the league and the spending practices of the Cosmos became a running controversy. Written by
Mildly interesting--particularly if you lived back then...
The North American Soccer League (NASL) an abortive attempt to create a huge sports organization on par with other major league sports such as the NFL and MLB. Their premier team clearly was the New York Cosmos--a very, very high-priced collection of stars from around the globe. What's surprising to me is not that they won a lot of games but that they didn't win even more considering their bankroll. This film chronicles the history of this club as well as gives insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the Cosmos.
When the film begins, the Cosmos are more like a semi-pro club at best. No one attends their games, they have no stars and there just isn't any interest. The same could be said for the rest of this rag-tag league. However, with the coming of big money from Warner Brothers came new life to the team and the rest of the league. With the coming of Pelé and other top world stars came a sudden interest by the public. In fact, there was so much interest that the league even eventually got their own network contract...and soon the league just fizzled.
I found the film pretty interesting when it came to personalities. While the team had HUGE stars, it also had some huge egos. And, it was rather funny how decades later, folks associated with the team STILL hate the team's most productive star, Giorgio Chinaglia--who didn't do a lot in this documentary to get the viewers to like him! Overall, the film is worth seeing--particularly if you lived through the era. It's also a great show to watch to learn how NOT to run a league--as you'll see if you watch the film. Interesting.
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