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NY Cosmos consider trip to Bermuda

The legendary New York Cosmos are considering Bermuda as a possible destination for their pre-season training camp in February, the New York Times reported yesterday.

Cosmos have risen from the ashes of the star-studded 1970s side, which boasted the likes of Pele, Carlos Alberto and Franz Beckenbauer in the previous North American Soccer League.

That rebirth was masterminded in 2010 by chairman Seamus O'Brien, who has strong ties with the Island through West Ham legend Clyde Best and former Cosmos striker Randy Horton.

Best, who starred for American teams Tampa Bay Rowdies and Portland Timbers, believes it would be a major coup having a team with such a storied history visit Bermuda.

“If Cosmos do decide to come here, that would be an added bonus for everyone involved in Bermudian football,” said Best, who scored Rowdies' winner in the 1975 Soccer Bowl.

“I know Seamus, he's been around the Cosmos for a very long time and to have him think about coming here is pleasing, not only to myself but also Randy (Horton) who played for the club.”

Best pointed out that the Island used to be a popular pre-season destination for Major League Soccer sides such as New England Revolution and Colorado Rapids.

Revolution recruited former national team skipper Khano Smith during their trip to the Island in 2005, and Best believes Cosmos' tentatively planned tour could offer similar opportunities for Bermuda's most talented youngsters.

“The local clubs could play some quality opposition and maybe a few of our players could potentially be scouted,” he said.

“Bermuda used to be a hub for professional teams to visit many years ago and that's how we were able to develop our game. Since those tours stopped the standard of the local game play has really dropped.

“Whenever players get a chance to play against better teams it raises their game. I think it would be great if Cosmos decide to come here.”

Cosmos, who joined the new NASL at the start of the season, look set to advance to next month's Soccer Bowl where they will meet Atlanta Silverbacks.

Founded in 1970, the original Cosmos competed in the previous NASL until 1984 and were the strongest franchise, both competitively and financially.

Bermuda's Horton played for Cosmos from 1971 to 1974 and was named the NASL's MVP after his second season at the club.

Several Bermudians played in the previous NASL, including Sam Nusum (New York Cosmos), Gary Darrell (Washington Diplomats) Ralph Bean (Philadelphia Atoms) and Pepe Dill (Dallas Tornado).

Flashback: Randy Horton (left) was one of the NASL's brightest stars back in the early 1970s when he played for New York Cosmos. The reborn Cosmos could visit Bermuda for a pre-season tour next year. .

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Published October 22, 2013 at 10:38 pm (Updated October 24, 2013 at 3:26 pm)

NY Cosmos consider trip to Bermuda

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