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Why I’m a Fan of the New York Cosmos

In honor of Twice A Cosmo’s refresh, Site Manager Mike Chiara shares the story of his fandom

Yep, that’s me next to the Cosmos’ trophies
Michael Chiara

Welcome to the refreshed Twice A Cosmo! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card . We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!

Like most American children, I grew up playing soccer. However, also like many American children, I didn’t truly get into the beautiful game until my father brought home FIFA 10 for my Xbox 360. I still have fond memories of my virtual pro competing against the (former) Seattle Sounders Striker Fredy Montero for the MLS golden boot. The combination of the FIFA 10 and the United States’ 2010 World Cup run are what truly enamored me with the beautiful game. As a pretty shy kid entering high school, I remember making lots of my closest friends over soccer. Whether it be playing Ultimate Team after school on Xbox Live, scouring Twitter for transfer rumors, looking for pickup games, or going to preseason matches every summer, soccer became a huge part of my identity.

After spending Saturday after Saturday watching Premier League matches as a true neutral, I finally decided to make Arsenal my Premier League team. Simply put they were the team whose storyline I was most invested in. Arsene Wenger is one of the league’s greatest protagonist, and over the year the London club has had as many highs and lows as a soap opera not to mention some of the league's’ most fun soccer.

As much as I love Arsenal, I wanted something more from the game. I wanted a hometown team that I could get behind. I tried to get into the Red Bulls, but I simply couldn’t connect with a New York Soccer team from Jersey. As a Gooner, the Manchester City connection caused a conflict of interest preventing me from supporting NYCFC. I remember hearing that a team called the New York Cosmos were considering building a soccer-specific stadium near Belmont (practically walking distance from my Floral Park home). I began to take interest what I thought would become my new local team. Of course, I was also drawn in by their history, having once been the home of legends such as Pele and Beckenbauer. I began following the Cosmos heavily when they signed Real Madrid legend Raul in the 2015 season. The night I truly fell in love the team however was June 17th, 2015, when they played New York City FC in the U.S. Open Cup.

I remember getting to a sold-out Shuart Stadium late because Hofstra simply couldn’t handle the sheer amount of people coming midweek for a soccer game. We missed Poku’s first goal, but much to my chagrin we arrived just in time for his second. One of my best friends, a NYCFC “fan” at the time, continually rubbed it into my face how the second division Cosmos sucked. He kept this up until the 90th minute when the Cosmos equalized off a Lucky Mkosana goal to force extra time. I’ve never screamed louder in my life than when Jimmy Maurer stepped up in the shootout to give the Cosmos the win in the David and Goliath matchup. My other friend, a true neutral who only really wanted so see David Villa, told me that derby was one of the best matches he had ever seen. I’ll never forget him turning to me and saying “That Jimmy Maurer guy is pretty good!”

Jason Kreis played himself by not playing Villa against the Cosmos

From that night on I became devoted to the Cosmos watching them win back to back NASL Championships in the last two years. A little over a year after that US Open Cup match, I made the decision to enquire about an open writing position at Twice A Cosmo, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Now I am the site manager of TAC and although it can be sometimes overwhelming managing running the blog with my college course load, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

The Cosmos have something unmatched by the other New York teams, or any other team for that matter, an unmatched grit. I saw it that night at Hofstra and every night since. The refused to go away when seemingly outclassed by one of their biggest rivals, and once again refused to go away when the club faced extinction after the 2016 season. It’s hard to see what the endgame is for the New York Originals, but I dream of the day we’ll see a sold out stadium of diehard Cosmos supporters watching their club play first division soccer. Hopefully, we’ll see that dream come true.

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