Skip to content

Three Good Questions for: Cosmos CEO Seamus O’Brien

Feb 3, 2013, 8:00 AM EDT

Cosmos logo

For a brand in 30-year hibernation, the Cosmos name still resonates impressively.

The Cosmos once ruled domestic soccer, peerless in image, appeal and high finance, far ahead of its time and wildly out of balance with the game’s larger public regard.

The brand is up and running again, albeit at a measurably smaller scale.

When the new day Cosmos take the field later this year, the matches at Hofstra University will look nothing like the packed-house affairs of the 70s, when Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia and other global stars led the fabulous Cosmos into Giants Stadium.

The new Cosmos will play in the North American Soccer League, domestic professional soccer’s second tier. The club’s larger ambition is anything but second tier. Not long after the club announced plans for a 25,000-seat facility, we talked to Cosmos CEO Seamus O’Brien.

For building awareness of what the Cosmos are now about, what’s the most important thing the organization can do in your first season?

I’m a believer that you earn credibility and respect through your actions. We will build awareness by just doing what we said we were going to do, which is put a very credible, competitive team on the field, building a business off the field that builds credibility and respect within the industry as one that is professional and of a high quality standard. And obviously, being competitive in a business sense and then winning on the pitch.

I’m of the school that I’m not interested in making big, grandiose statements. I’ll let our action do the talking.”

It seems that managing the public’s expectations might be a challenge. Obviously you cannot be the Cosmos of old, so how do you approach that?

I am very conscious of the history of the club, and it is in some ways a burden because it does create expectations, with people dreaming of the past. But I have made it clear that history doesn’t build a future and it doesn’t build a business. You’ve got to build your own history. I hope that everything we do will be respectful of the history, conscious of the history, and I’m sure it will blend through our messaging and our branding of the club. But ultimately we’ve got to build a new history and build a position based on how we perform today. Because the nostalgia of the past will only last so long. This is a tough sports town. New York expects winners. If we don’t perform on and off the field, the history will count for nothing.”

What is your relationship with MLS, because sometimes it is difficult to say if you guys are more ally or adversary?

A lot is being made of this. For us it’s simple: we are starting again from the beginning. As we’ve said, 30 years ago is a long time. We are building a business that has a very strong foundation. If it takes us 10 years to get back to the heights where we were before, I will be delighted. One thing I’ve said, when we get there this time, we won’t be going away. So we don’t want to make any false starts, doing things too quickly. Nothing could be more foolish. The thought that we could step out in our first season at MLS level and be a winner on and off the field, would be absurd. So we made the decision that [the North American Soccer League] is the right place for us to start again.

So we haven’t ruled out MLS, but we haven’t ‘ruled it in,’ if that’s the word. We’re going to look at it. Right now, we had other priorities for our capital as to what we wanted to do in building the club, and that’s what we’re going to do. As for MLS and what they want to do, I can’t really speak to that.”

Latest Posts
  1. WATCH: 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final highlights

    Sep 17, 2014, 11:50 AM EDT

    2014 U.S. Open Cup - Final Getty Images

    Check out full match highlights from Seattle’s 3-1 extra-time win over Philadelphia in the U.S. Open Cup Final.

  2. Men In Blazers podcast: A happy PL return, while Spencer Lanning talks ‘football’

    Sep 17, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT

    meninblazers

    In this new edition of the Men In Blazers podcast, Rog and Davo explore Johnny Football’s favorite football team.

  3. UEFA Champions League Preview: Chelsea vs. Schalke

    Sep 17, 2014, 10:50 AM EDT

    Chelsea v Swansea City - Premier League Getty Images

    Chelsea will look to open up their Champions League campaign with three points at Stamford Bridge.

  4. “The Men in Blazers Show” set for kick off on NBCSN

    Sep 17, 2014, 10:05 AM EDT

    Men In Blazers

    Full details of MiB’s new show, which debuts on Monday, September 22, can be found right here.

  5. Big changes coming to Merseyside stadiums

    Sep 17, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    A Memorial Is Held For The 24th Anniversary Of The Hillsborough Tragedy Getty Images

    Liverpool is planning to expand at Anfield while Everton looks to build from the ground up.

  6. Pep Guardiola on Manchester United: ‘They don’t have enough money’

    Sep 17, 2014, 9:13 AM EDT

    FC Bayern Muenchen - Training & Press Conference Getty Images

    The Bayern Munich manager claims Manchester United didn’t have enough money to lure away star players from the German giants.

  7. Newcastle fans planning to protest Alan Pardew

    Sep 17, 2014, 8:23 AM EDT

    Newcastle United v Crystal Palace - Premier League Getty Images

    The “Sack Pardew” movement has reached new heights at St. James’ Park.

  8. Eden Hazard set to sign extension at Chelsea

    Sep 17, 2014, 7:37 AM EDT

    Chelsea v Swansea City - Premier League Getty Images

    Manager Jose Mourinho believes the Belgian international will have a new deal in place at Stamford Bridge within a month.

  9. Portland, DC United both win in CONCACAF Champions League play

    Sep 16, 2014, 11:57 PM EDT

    Urruti AP

    Maxi Urruti and Fabian Espindola both snatched braces as MLS sides went atop their groups.

  10. Iran manager Carlos Queiroz agrees to contract extension, vows to win Asia Cup

    Sep 16, 2014, 10:55 PM EDT

    Queiroz Getty Images

    Despite saying in June he would step down after the World Cup, the former Real Madrid manager has made a U-turn.

  11. Captain Clint fires Seattle Sounders to US Open Cup crown in 3-1 extra time win over Philadelphia

    Sep 16, 2014, 10:13 PM EDT

    Dempsey AP

    USMNT captain Clint Dempsey was Seattle’s savior in extra time as he delivered the winner in a 3-1 win and lifted his first-ever club trophy.

  12. Michael Bradley disagrees with president’s shot at Toronto roster

    Sep 16, 2014, 9:06 PM EDT

    Bradley AP

    President of Toronto’s ownership group, Tim Leiweke had harsh words for the Toronto FC locker room. Michael Bradley disagrees.

  13. Report: FA to overhaul work permit rules to cut down on non-EU players

    Sep 16, 2014, 8:23 PM EDT

    Dyke Getty Images

    Insanely strict new rules proposed by FA chairman Greg Dyke would eliminate non-EU players from the lower leagues completely and slash the amount in the Premier League by around 50%.

  14. Newcastle winger Jonas Gutierrez reveals he has cancer

    Sep 16, 2014, 7:46 PM EDT

    Gutierrez AP

    We now know why Jonas Gutierrez has barely featured for Newcastle in the last year or so.

  15. Jack Wilshere injured yet again to compound Arsenal’s woes

    Sep 16, 2014, 7:09 PM EDT

    Wilshere AP

    The man who can’t stay on the pitch has tweaked a very problematic part of his body.

  16. VIDEO: Real Madrid make history, notch 1000th goal in European competition

    Sep 16, 2014, 6:29 PM EDT

    Karim Benzema AP

    Benzema bags Real’s fifth goal on Tuesday, which turned out to be their 1000th goal in continental competitions. Wowza.

  17. Steven Gerrard saves Liverpool’s blushes; but should fans be worried?

    Sep 16, 2014, 5:59 PM EDT

    Liverpool FC v PFC Ludogorets Razgrad - UEFA Champions League Getty Images

    Gerrard scores last-gasp winner, but Liverpool under-performed again in narrow win.

  18. Arteta: Arsenal “didn’t perform well enough” at Borussia Dortmund

    Sep 16, 2014, 5:27 PM EDT

    mikel_arteta_ciro_immobile

    Arsenal’s captain notes the danger of falling behind at BVB, while Klopp calls his teams performance “nearly perfection.”

  19. UEFA Champions League roundup: Liverpool win late; Real Madrid, Dortmund victorious

    Sep 16, 2014, 5:13 PM EDT

    Cristiano Ronaldo AP

    Contrasting fortunes for PL sides, as eight games kick off the new UCL season. Find out what happened, right here.

  20. Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Arsenal: Gunners outclassed by BVB

    Sep 16, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT

    ciro_immobile AP

    A dominant performance from the 2012-13 finalists made easy work of the visiting Gunners.

Featured video

Week 4: Saturday recap