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Introducing Twice a Cosmo’s Newest Contributor

Ben Bryden joins the writing staff at Twice a Cosmo

Pele Knows Best Photo by Getty Images

Twice a Cosmo’s newest contributor discusses the enduring mystique of the Cosmos and tenuous parallels with the Scottish Championship

I first became aware of the Cosmos as an eight-year-old soccer fanatic growing up in southwest Scotland. An avid fan of my home town team, Queen of the South, my footballing world revolved around an old club that paid it’s players a weekly wage amounting to tens of pounds and who played in a stadium where the mens bathrooms consisted of a brick wall inside a shed. (Rest assured, a new stand and modern bathrooms have since been installed...)

I remember spending evenings poring over books of soccer stats, reading about the greatest players of all time and the iconic teams for which they played. And of course the best players always seemed to play for the best teams. Cruyff and Maradona at Barcelona, Di Stefano and Puskas at Real, George Best at Man Utd.

Then there was Pele.

“Pele played in New York?” I remember thinking to myself. “But they don’t even have any teams...” Of course this was the mid 90s, the dark days between the fall of the first NASL and birth of the MLS. The idea that the greatest player of his time plied his trade in a country that didn’t even have a league was as intriguing as it was perplexing.

And so started a fascination with the Cosmos - this mysterious, mythical club from the world’s most exciting and glamorous city. A dream team that ruled the world only to fade into history before I’d even been born.

By 2013 I was living in New York, playing amateur soccer and lamenting the lack of a local team to support. Growing up supporting a team who (at the time) hadn’t won a championship since 1951 I never could get behind an MLS side with no history to speak of. So when I heard that the Cosmos were back in business I knew they would be my team. I started going to games at Shuart stadium, despite the long commute from Harlem. And I revelled in taking my girlfriend, a proud Hoosier from Indianapolis’ east side to see yet another draw with Indy Eleven. With the atmosphere in the crowd, the passionate support from 5 Points and the Cross Island Crew, it reminded me so much of going to games in Scotland, only this time with better bathrooms.

Rest assured the bathrooms have been upgraded since 1995
Queen of the South’s Palmerston Park in Dumfries, Scotland during a recent Scottish Championship game
Ben Bryden

I thought I’d missed my chance to be a contributor here at Twice a Cosmo as it looked likely the green giant was about to go back into hibernation. But I’m delighted to have gotten a second chance as the team embraces it’s third. In what will be an interesting but hopefully exciting time for the club, I’m very much looking forward to sharing my thoughts with all of you in Cosmos Country!