New York Cosmos cancel player contracts, as the historic team looks set to fold for a second time

In their current guise, the Cosmos only last for four seasons

New York Cosmos cancel player contracts, as the historic team looks set to fold for a second time

Picture by John Walton EMPICS Sport

New York Cosmos remain one of the most fascinating brands in World football.

In their original incarnation, the Cosmos were one of the most famous teams in the World. Global stars such as Pele, Franz Beckenbauer and Giorgio Chinaglia all wore the famous Cosmos colours in the club's first spell between 1970 and 1985.

The team won the North American Soccer League five times, as they became the giants of football in America. At the team's peak they averaged more than 40,000 fans to each game.

In 2010, the team were reincarnated, with the hope of becoming an MLS team. With Pele as honorary president, and Eric Cantona as director of soccer, the team seemed to have the right ingredients to succeed.

As the Manchester City-funded New York City earned the second New York-based MLS team, the Cosmos found themselves in the NASL, one tier below MLS, with no prospects of promotion.

Spanish legend Raul, along with Euro 2008 winner Marcos Senna, were the biggest names the club signed in its newest form, but after four seasons in the league, the club may be about to fold once more.

The Cosmos were successful in the league despite poor attendances, winning the Soccer Bowl in three of the last four years. The team won the trophy as recently as November 13th, but that could be their last game in their current guise.

According to New York-based football website Empire of Soccer, the team have cancelled the contract of all the playing staff.

"Players will be paid through the month of November and have been promised to be paid their bonus money for the year. However, no player will be paid for December or for the remainder of their contract  — no matter the length of their current deals."

News of the team's future could be confirmed as quickly as Tuesday afternoon, in New York.

Despite the NASL's success, it looks like New York is simply not big enough for three teams, despite the history of the Cosmos and what they represented to football in America.