With Eyes On a 7th NASL Championship, Cosmos Introduce #7 To The World!
By Cesar Trelles – 12/9/14
There was June 10, 1975 and then there was today.
For the second time in the New York Cosmos storied franchise, the Cosmos set their sights on an internationally known legend and brought him to United States to play soccer under the bright lights of New York City. In 1975 they aggressively pursued Pele. In 2014 they aggressively pursued former Real Madrid legend Raul Gonzalez.
Today they introduced him to the soccer world.
As they have done in the past with other major announcements, the Cosmos seized none other than the Cosmopolitan Room in the Four Seasons hotel to make the announcement. With international soccer personality Fernando Fiore serving as the day’s Master of Ceremony for the event, the stage was set for Raul to take his place amongst Cosmos legends.
Head Coach Giovanni Savarese who has lauded Raul for not just the player that he is but also for the persona that he carries, reiterated those feelings about him before presenting him to the media.
“I found he was the person for us to bring in. It took a little while, a few months, to explain the project, to make him understand what we were.” , explained Savarese. “And once he came here to New York, and we were able to meet his beautiful family –because that’s the other thing, he’s a great family man – he was convinced that everything that we said was true. It’s a true project – what we have on hand. And not only is he going to help us on the field, but he’s going to help us in the structure of building the club back to where it belongs in the future as well.”
While head coach Savarese found Raul to be ideal for the club, Raul had the following to say about why he chose to come to the Cosmos when in reality, he could have gone to any other club in the world.
“I was able to participate and train with the club, and after that I had very little doubt that this was indeed a great project, and I was ready to sign. I’m very much looking forward to starting. There’s a very important word for me which is passion – this word has been transmitted to me. ”
With their signing of Raul, the Cosmos have once again put the soccer world on notice that they are a force to be reckoned with. Never one to shy away from this topic is Cosmos Chariman, Seaumus Obrien who was on hand for the presentation.
“If you want to call it second division, when I last looked we won the league [in 2013], which in my world means we are first division.”, proclaimed Obrien. “We can only play within the structure that exists here today. We’ve chosen a path for very good reasons – there are players in this league who we believe in. We’ve chosen the business model of this league, which we believe in, because it’s the one that the rest of the world plays. We believe it’s competitive, it’s getting better every month, and let’s just see where that journey goes. We’ve shown here today, as we did with Marcos Senna, and indeed as other teams in the league have shown, we have no limits to where we think we can go. And today is just an example of that. In the years ahead there will be more. We know where we’re going.”
With North American Soccer League commissioner Bill Peterson on hand for the presentation, you can be sure that the Cosmos will likely not be the only team in the NASL to continue to make waves when it comes to signing players.
For now however, Cosmos fans will be looking towards their new striker to score goals after a season where goals where hard to come by. Those same fans will hope that #7 will bring them their 7th championship come November of 2015. This hope and expectation was displayed artistically by members of the Cross Island Crew and members of Pele Head organization via a banner that was created especially for Raul.
Raul’s signing may not only bring another championship to the club but it may also have another lasting impact by way of attendance. After the press conference at the Four Seasons, Raul joined not only Cosmos Supporters, but also Real Madrid supporters at the Times Square Buffalo Wild Wings to watch Real Madrid take on Ludogorets as part of the UEFA Champions League tournament. The event brought out about 300 fans, most of them being Real Madrid fans. Raul would please the crowd by staying for about 45 minutes to sign autographs and take pictures with all of the fans before departing following a long day. A day which will likely be the first of many more where he will have fans clamoring at his heels following even move.
Yes Cosmos fans – Raul is finally here. Is it opening day yet?
Here are some other pictures and video clips from today’s Raul press conference and his appearance at Buffalo Wild Wings.
A Video Recap Courtesy of the NY Cosmos:
Watch Raul receive a few video messages from his former teammates wishing him well with the Cosmos: