5 Points Press: Issue # 2

Page 1


A Journal of New York Soccer


- Review: Q & A w/ The New York Cosmos - Stadium Land Sites - History of the Borough Boys Supporters Club - Soccer and Queens + more

5 Points Press

Een Draght Mackt Maght MMXI Vol. 1 - Iss. 2

“don’t call it a comeback, we’ve been here for years”

If You Build It, Where Would It Be?

A look at the sites the New York Cosmos could build a stadium By Nick Laveglia P. 2

Questions & Answers

A review of the Q&A with the New York Cosmos By Cesar Diaz P.4

Know Your History

A look at the origins of the Borough Boys By Chris Dobens P.7

Also in this issue: Diversity and Soccer In Queens - by Leo Glickman P.9 MLS vs Cosmos - by Brandon Sonnier P.10 Scenes from the Boroughs P.11

5 Points Press is a Journal of News and Opinion on the New York Soccer Scene All Rights Reserved : 5 Points Media 2011 5 Points Press: Editors: Nick Laveglia, Brandon Sonnier Writers: Nick Laveglia, Leo Glickman, Cesar Diaz, Chris Dobens, JD MacKinnon, Brandon Sonnier Design & Layout: Brandon Sonnier


If You Build It, Where would It Be? by Nick Laveglia Outside of the question of who would finance a stadium and how long it will take to build, one of the big questions is “where in New York City can you build?” At our Q and A in March, the Cosmos mentioned sites in the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens. While they did not specify where in the Bronx, they did get into more specifics in Manhattan and Queens. First we look at Randall’s Island. Mentioned at the Q & A session, this island lies between three boroughs (Manhattan to the West, Queens to the East and The Bronx to the North). For those who say there is no room to build in Manhattan, this is as close as they might get considering it is technically part of the borough.

The positives of this location is that it would be very nostalgic as this is where Pele played his first game as a New York Cosmo and it also offers a fantastic view of the New York City skyline. A unique feature of this location would be the possibility of taking a boat over to the match. An MLS first in it’s own right, one would also technically be able to take a boat from a stadium on Randalls Island to the stadium in Harrison for Derby matches. How is that for the Hudson River Derby? However, traffic is a main concern. With the Triboro bridge (yes we still call it that) being the only way to access via automobile, if the Cosmos want to build an MLS sized stadium, even with water taxis, it would be difficult managing the crowd. Traffic could be a nightmare and turn the nostalgic atmosphere in to one the fans want to avoid. Now we will look at one of the most ideal spots in the city. The Sunnyside rail yards in Queens. While this site was not mentioned by the Cosmos, it really could make for a fantastic location. Around since 1910 this 192 acre site sits just about 2 and half miles from Grand Central Station in the heart of midtown. It is accessible by car as well as many local trains including E, G, M, N, Q, R, 7, the LIRR


and many local buses. This is another location that could give a fantastic backdrop of the NYC skyline as well. However, the issue with this location is cost. Not only would a stadium built in NYC be an expensive venture to begin with, but in order to build here, someone would have to eat the cost of the platform that would need to be built on top of the rail yards. Given the size of the area, this platform could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars and maybe even a billion to cover all the rail yards. That’s a nice chunk of change. Another downfall would be time, as to build the platform and stadium it

would put in jeopardy any potential 2013 start date. Heck, building this platform might take this team into 2015 before it could start in its own stadium. The most popular location which is the Flushing Meadow Park/Citi Field area. Rumors in 2008 had this as the location for a soccer stadium for a team owned by Mets owner Fred Wilpon but those plans fell apart with the Bernie Madoff scandal. However, there has been some hope that this location would still be on as at the Q and A the Cosmos have said there have been meetings with the Wilpons and if they want to join for the ride, they would welcome it. The Mets, whom are actually borrowing money from baseball to survive due to the Madoff lawsuits, do not seem to be the most financially stable. So that should wipe this plan off the board - right? Wrong! The City of New York actually owns the land in Flushing Meadow Park and that includes the land that Citi Field is built upon. That leaves open the door for an agreement with the City, Cosmos and Mets to get something done on this location that might actually give the Mets some much needed money. The main issue with this location is parking. Building a stadium in the Citi Field parking lot would eat up much needed parking spaces and the cost of a new parking structure in that area would be quite high as the ground beneath the surface, is, well, literally garbage and one would have to dig deep to get stability. The parking lot in City Field was probably the location most fans were thinking. However, during the Q and A there was actually mention of a 15 acre site that has been spoken about for years.

Sit back and take a trip down memory lane. Do you remember when the Olympic bid was in Cont. on P6


Borough Boys SC Host Successful Q&A With the Front Office by Cesar Diaz

In an event hosted by the Borough Boys SC at Legends Bar NYC, press, fans, and Borough Boys members were treated to a Q&A session with the New York Cosmos front office. Borough Boys president Nick Laveglia introduced to the audience Joe Fraga and Dan Cherry III, who along with Cosmos Academy East Director Giovanni Savarese, who were ready to answer any questions about the New York Cosmos. While everything from the stadium plans, the Cosmos Academies, their deal with Umbro, the “Beckham” rumor, the Cosmos Copa, and potential sites were all addressed, last night was more about questions and answers. Last night was about both sides declaring to each other, “We love the Cosmos and we want them back!” As corny and cheesy this may sound, that’s what it was all about. Now I understand some of you want a more professional assessment, so in layman business talk, “Last night, a synergy was developed amongst the New York Cosmos front office and the Borough Boys.” On one side, you have the New York Cosmos, who are working diligently in becoming the 20th team for Major League Soccer. Despite the misconception some may have of the New York Cosmos not being the New York Cosmos, the majority of their staff are soccer fans and New Yorkers who have their own personal history with the New York Cosmos. As a result, they understand what New Yorkers want and expect from their soccer club. Nothing was more honest than seeing Joe Fraga and Dan Cherry explain to the audience that they’ve met with the Wilpons as well as other parties. In addition, they have looked into the Bronx, Manhattan, and Randall’s Island as potential sites other than Queens. Most in the audience appeared relieved to hear that David Beckham will not be involved with the New York Cosmos because his contract stipulates that if he wants to be part of franchise, it can’t be in New York or California. In addition, the audience clearly heard Joe Fraga insist that the New York Cosmos is a well-funded organization and their money is in-house. While the audience, for obvious reasons, wasn’t provided the actual plans, they have a better


idea of the challenges the New York Cosmos are currently facing and will have to eventually address. Variables such as zoning, the Community Boards, meetings with the politicians and Major League Soccer are things the New York Cosmos are dealing with. The best part about last night was when Savarese passionately spoke about the 600 children the New York Cosmos are educating in their Academies.It appeared the audience was temporarily enchanted when Giovanni informed them that the players are playing the 4-3-3; the same type of offense they’re expecting from the future MLS team. He also stressed the importance of developing not only good players, but good citizens that when they’re off the pitch, their players will make the right decisions in their lives. He also pointed out the reality that most of the players will not achieve the professional level, but they will be good enough to obtain a college scholarship for their education. On the other side, you have the Borough Boys SC. Their members consist of all cultures, genders, and ages. Some have seen the Cosmos play, while others have heard tales or watched them on YouTube clips. Despite the generational difference, everyone is committed to doing their part in assisting the New York Cosmos in any way they possible. Personally, I wish I had the time to interview them all, because I believe their stories are just as important as the team’s history. Not only do I find their stories stimulating, but they have serious talented members that once they find their flow, they’re going to be one of the most electrifying supporters club to follow. After the Q&A was over, I was asked by a couple of audience members (who read my articles) for my opinion of last night’s event. If this was a play titled, “The Eventual Return of the New York Cosmos,” I would say the first act has concluded. While the Cosmos have yet to be declared the 20th MLS team, one important thing that was obvious from last night’s Q&A is that they all love the New York Cosmos and want them to return.

En Español En un acto organizado por los Borough Boys en el Legends Barra de Nueva York, prensa, aficionados y miembros del condado de Los niños fueron invitados a una sesión Q & A con la oficina de los Comsos de Nueva York. El presidente de los Borough Boys Nick Laveglia presentó a la audiencia Joe Fraga y Dan Cherry III, que junto con el Cosmos Academia Este director Giovanni Savarese, que estaban dispuestos a contestar cualquier pregunta sobre los Cosmos de Nueva York. Mientras que todo, desde los planes del estadio, las Academias Cosmos, su acuerdo con Umbro, el “Beckham” rumor, la Copa Cosmos, y los sitios potenciales se abordaron todos, anoche fue más acerca de las preguntas y respuestas. A pesar de la idea errónea de que algunos pueden tener de los Cosmos de Nueva York no son los Cosmos de Nueva York, la mayoría de su personal son fanáticos del fútbol y los neoyorquinos que


tienen su propia historia personal con el Cosmos de Nueva York.

Nada era más honesto que ver Joe Fraga y Cherry Dan explicar a la audiencia que he cono-

cido con los Wilpons así como de otras partes.

Además, han buscado en el Bronx, Manhattan, y Randall’s Island como posibles sitios distintos

de Queens.

La mayoría de la audiencia parecía aliviado al saber que David Beckham no estará involucrado

con el Cosmos de Nueva York debido a que su contrato estipula que si él quiere ser parte de la franquicia, no puede estar en Nueva York o California.

Además, el público escucha claramente Joe Fraga insisten en que el Cosmos de Nueva York es

una organización bien financiada y su dinero está en casa.

La audiencia, por razones obvias, no se proporcionó los planes actuales, que tienen una mejor

idea de los desafíos que los Cosmos de Nueva York se enfrentan actualmente y tendrá que resolver con el tiempo.

Mientras que los Cosmos no se han declarado el equipo de la MLS 20, una cosa importante

que era obvio de esta noche fue que a todo la gente presente le gustan los Cosmos de Nueva York y quiere que regresen.

If You Build It... continued from p3

place and it all depended on the West Side Stadium? Well, after that was shut down, the city quickly (and I mean in days) put together a back up plan for a stadium in Flushing Meadows Park for the Olympic Stadium and the Jets. There was also a lot of talk of including a Major League Soccer team for that venue. The New York Jets wanted no part of it and instead built in the meadowlands.

Where does all of that leave us? It leaves us with a 15 acre site with stadium drawings, surveys,

studies, which, at least at one time, had the approval of City and local officials. If you don’t know that site, it would replace the Fountain of Planets seen as the secret alien spaceship in 1997 Will Smith film “Men in Black”. The Jets wanted no part of that plan but has the city always thought of redeveloping that section of the park? With the local community being soccer enthusiasts, could this be a great area for a soccer stadium and soccer academy called “COSMOS COUNTRY”

So those are just some potential locations that can be built on. Can they be built by 2013? That

is a completely different story for another time.


A Brief History of the Borough Boys by Chris Dobens

Most people come to New York City to pursue their dreams. For two native New Yorkers, Nick

Laveglia and Paul Morabito, their dream was to bring others to the Big Apple – specifically a Major League Soccer team located within the five boroughs of New York City.

Nick and Paul met on BigSoccer.com, the online message board that – for better or worse –

functions as a hub for a good portion of the American soccer community. The two shared a mutual interest in seeing a professional soccer team that truly represented New York City.

But what distinguishes them from most people on online forums is that they actually did some-

thing about it. They formed an advocacy group to generate interest from both Major League Soccer and the various political gatekeepers throughout the city in bringing an MLS franchise – and its stadium – to one of the five boroughs.

This was the genesis of the Borough Boys, a supporters group for a New York City-based MLS

team. It was officially founded on November 17, 2007, at a time when there were rumors that the Wilpons, owners of the New York Mets, were interested in building a soccer-specific stadium for an MLS team in Queens. To help drive this effort, and interest in the game throughout the city, the Borough Boys created a Web site, BoroughBoysNYC.com, along with a blog and social media profiles.

The Borough Boys met with the Wilpons as well as with City Hall and the Borough of Brooklyn

to discuss an MLS franchise in the city. They have also been busy building support for such a franchise throughout New York’s diverse soccer community.

The idea of a New York City professional soccer team makes perfect sense. With New York’s

multicultural mix, the city boasts a higher concentration of soccer fans than any other in the country. Plus, it has a long tradition fielding and supporting soccer teams.

New York’s most famous soccer team was the New York Cosmos, which gained global popu-

larity when it brought in stars like Pele and Beckenbauer as part of the NASL in the 70s. And, as fate would have it, the New York Cosmos are once again the most famous soccer team in New York City.


A new ownership group is rebuilding the New York Cosmos from the ground up, beginning with

a strong youth academy. Naturally, the Borough Boys have developed a close relationship with the new Cosmos, as the team seems destined to secure the 20th MLS franchise for New York City in 2013.

The Borough Boys have met regularly with the New York Cosmos, providing feedback from a

fan’s perspective as well as helping them grow a strong local fan base. Last year, the Borough Boys converted their generic NYC soccer blog to ThisIsCosmosCountry.com, establishing themselves as a New York Cosmos supporters group.

Today, the Borough Boys represent the city’s broad spectrum of soccer fans. They have more

than 1,000 official members, but their online reach touches all corners of the New York soccer scene. Their ranks range from young MLS fans to those who watched the original Cosmos some 35 years ago, including soccer purists as well as hardcore New York sports fans – the type who religiously read every column of the New York Post’s sports pages. And that diversity explains much of the passion that fuels the group, which is as much about the love of the game as it is about the desire to see it played – and played well – here in the city that never sleeps.

“We want to create a true soccer culture, both in and out of the stadium,” explained Borough

Boys president Nick Laveglia. “We want to make our New York City stadium a fortress – the true 12th man – the toughest place to come and play in the league.”

As the organization continues its advocacy work for an MLS franchise in New York City, it will

evolve into a more traditional supporters club, eventually charging dues, hosting events, and supporting charitable causes. That’s not to say it hasn’t already done so, hosting events with the Cosmos as well as participating in city-wide soccer events. Its 2010 MLS Cup party was a huge success, and plans are already underway for this year’s event. The Borough Boys are also looking to align themselves with a local soccer charity, though it’s rumored that the New York Cosmos will soon announce their own foundation.

Moving forward, the Borough Boys welcome all volunteers – especially writers and Web devel-

opers as well as those with legal expertise. The organization hopes to establish itself as a non-profit and has already begun to roll out a number of initiatives – such as this digital magazine – which is part of its publishing arm, Five Points Media.

Clearly the Borough Boys already have an interesting history. But, like the New York Cosmos,

their focus is on the future. As the Cosmos ramp-up towards what is expected to be a 2013 entry into MLS, the Borough Boys will be right there alongside them, paving the way, laying the groundwork, and creating space for them to shine. We invite you to be a part of it.


If It Can’t Make it Here, It Can’t Make It Anywhere by Leo Glickman We all look forward to the day when the average native born American is following the beautiful game with the same interest he or she follows baseball’s 162 game season or the other three major sports. The day will come, but let’s face it, even the most optimistic of us see it at least as the medium term project. In this writer’s opinion, that day will come when the attendance levels at Major League Soccer stadiums make it impossible for the mainstream sports media to ignore. So how do we fill up the seats today? The low hanging fruits for great MLS attendance are immigrants. They come here seeking a better life, while often holding on to many of the cultural traditions from the homeland such as food, music and sport – and for most, the sport of choice is soccer.

What does any of this have to do with Soccer in Queens? The answer should be obvious. Of Queens’ 2.23 million people, astoundingly half, a full half, are foreign born, and half of the foreign borns are from Latin America. That’s more than 550,000 people. Who are these Latin Americans? Well since Puerto Rico is a commonwealth, Puerto Ricans don’t count as foreign born. The full data isn’t in, but we know that as of 2000, there were 187,000 Mexicans, 138,000 Ecuadorians, and 105,000 Colombians living in Queens. Likely, these numbers are higher today. In fact, New York City is the third largest Ecuadorian city in the world, and that includes Ecuador! A quick survey of the shops and restaurants on Roosevelt Avenue clearly proves that there are tens of thousands of Hondurans, Guatamalans, Salvadorans, Peruvians, Argentinians too. As we are all aware, in some cases as US national team supporters, painfully aware, these are soccer loving nations. We would be remiss, however, if we excluded the other immigrant populations from consideration. We certainly would not want to alienate, for example, the Irish just a little further west along Roosevelt Avenue. Over 120,000 residents of Queens identify as Irish, and over 11,000 of them were actually born in the old country. And judging from the accents, or lack thereof, at the televised Celtic matches, the football tradition has been passed down in Irish families to the second generation living


here. 180,000 identify as Italian, with over 27,000 born in Italy and almost 50,000 speaking Italian at home. Have you found a Greek owned restaurant or shop yet in Astoria that doesn’t have a poster of the 2004 Euro Champions yet? And with large influxes of Polish, Romanians and Russians, it would seem that European communities would be fertile ground for an MLS team in Queens. To the South of Flushing Meadows Corona Park are huge West Indian communities. Based on 2000 census figures, Haitians are at 35,000, Jamaicans at 55,000 and Trinidadians at 20,000. These are by and large soccer mad people, and one suspects they would take a short bus or car ride to the stadium to see a decent product at an affordable price. Oh, and right across Flushing Creek live most of Queens’ 70,000 Koreans, who I heard made a pretty good showing at the 2002 World Cup. None of this is to denigrate the native born black or white American soccer fan. Yours truly is one of them. But it does seem that the borough of Queens provides a large built in market within a three mile radius of a well place soccer specific stadium. If it can’t make it here, it can’t make it anywhere! ❺

MLS vs Cosmos by Brandon Sonnier

We’ve had quite a busy month for news on the Expansion Front. We’ve heard from the Cosmos in their efforts when they attended the Borough Boy’s Q&A event; giving us (vague) details about their stadium plans and relationship with Don Garber and MLS. Garber himself has come out with seemingly many different opinions on how far or close the Cosmos are to actually becoming the 20th MLS team. He’s gone from “within the year”, to nowhere close to being finalized. Just recently in Montreal “The Don” spoke: “Unlike the success we had here with working with the municipality on expansion of Saputo Stadium, we’re at ground zero as it relates to that soccer stadium for a team in New York. But we’re working on it. Hopefully within the next year we’ll be able to get something finalized.” But tracking back to last October we get this: “12 months”, then only 10 days later we get “6-8 months.” Now it looks like currently we slide back to “hopefully within the year.” The only constant with Garber is his utter refusal to put the Cosmos as the leader in the ownership race for the New York Team. Donnie is always quick to add that they are “one of many” ownership groups seeking expansion; ( it’s no secret he has a huge man-crush on Fred Wilpon.)


So where does this leave the Cosmos as of now? If we listen to the Cosmos’ front office, we can take that they are in fact the front-runners in this race. According to the Cosmos, they meet with MLS on a weekly basis and are currently in talks with the City about the stadium process. They have the money, they have the plans, they have their foot in the door. No other ownership group can touch what the Cosmos have carefully planted here in New York. To me, this public show is like a boxing match. MLS comes out strong and won’t back down, showing everyone who runs the show, with the Cosmos in the other corner, coming out with moves no one can match. The story is not who wins this match-up; the story is what round MLS goes down, and what it cost the Cosmos for MLS to take a dive. ❺

Scenes From The Boroughs:

A monthly pictorial of soccer in New York City

All Photos by Chris Dobens