Cobi Jones Joins New Cosmos

Monday, January 10, 2011 | View Comments

-Jason Davis

I've managed to stay away from New York Cosmos-related topics for a good amount of time - I didn't make a conscience decision to do so, but I can't completely shake my discomfort with talking about an organization that doesn't actually have a team. I admire what the Cosmos are doing, in the same way a bystander might admire a pack of lions overtaking a wildebeest that wandered too far from the herd. It's not entirely pleasant, but it's impossible to look away.

Because the Cosmos have thrown themselves into a marketing/profile-building campaign the likes of which American soccer may never have seen. They're everywhere, wooing bloggers (I'm not wooed, but they are certainly being kind to me), firing up free academies, slapping their logo on attractive gear, and just generally making their presence known whenever and however possible. If you're not a fan of putting the cart before the horse, it might turn you off just a little bit.

As might their recruiting of LA Galaxy and USMNT icon Cobi Jones. Jones was just named Associate Director of Soccer for the Cosmos in a press release today, ending his tenure with the Galaxy and throwing a new wrinkle into whatever it is the Cosmos are doing. Cobi Jones is a respected name, and he doesn't seem to be the type easily snowed by some Terry Byrne-led con game. If Jones is on board, maybe there's something to the revival.

The cynical take practically writes itself. Who will Cobi be "directing"? Why does an organization without a team need an "Associate Director of Soccer"? Will Cobi be making commission on jersey sales?

I'm fairly convinced at this point that the Cosmos are pushing towards something. They're intentions are clearly stated, and while it's easy to scoff until we see groundbreaking on a stadium in New York (the biggest hurdle), there's something of note happening. It might not sit well with everyone, but that doesn't make it unworthy of our attention. If nothing else, the Cosmos are stirring the pot.

There will be at least a few people perking their ears up to hear that Cobi Jones is part of the Cosmos effort. To say it came out of the blue is underselling the surprise.

The full press release from the Cosmos on Jones' hiring:

American Soccer Legend Joins The New York Cosmos as Associate Director of

January 10, 2011 (New York, NY) ­ The New York Cosmos announced today that
Cobi Jones will be joining the world-renowned club as Associate Director of
Soccer. After 15 years with the LA Galaxy, as player and coach, Jones¹ role
with The New York Cosmos will be to advise and oversee the training and
management of any and all players involved in the club¹s soccer-specific
programs. In addition, he will serve as an Ambassador for the club,
acting as spokesperson and community liaison.

Cobi Jones, 40, joined the LA Galaxy in 1996 after playing overseas for
Coventry City of the English Premier League and Vasco de Gama of Brazil. Not
only did Jones score the Galaxy¹s first goal in club history, but he also
holds club records to this day in nearly every statistical category (70
goals and 91 assists in 306 career regular season games). Jones is the only
player to have played in each of the first 12 seasons of Major League Soccer
(MLS). Shortly after retiring as a professional player, he became Assistant
Coach for the Galaxy for three campaigns during the 2008-2010 seasons. In
addition to his distinguished MLS career, he has also played in three
consecutive World Cups (1994, 1998, 2002) and is the all-time leader in caps
(164) for the U.S. National Team.

³The New York Cosmos have a history of associating ourselves with the best,²
says Paul Kemsley, Chairman of The New York Cosmos. ³Cobi Jones fits
perfectly into the DNA of this club. We look forward to the impact that he
will have on this organization and on the players who will form the backbone
of our future.²

³I am both honored and blessed to have had such a wonderful career with the
LA Galaxy and I am thankful for everything the club, the fans and the
community has done for me and my family,² says Jones. ³I am excited to bring
my deep knowledge, passion and expertise of soccer in this country to The
New York Cosmos. They truly represent where this sport is headed on a
national and international level, and I want to make history with them.²

A native of Westlake Village, California, Jones played soccer at UCLA and
was inducted into the UCLA Hall of Fame in 2002. He is recognized as a youth
advocate and works with various soccer organizations across the country
including American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), the U.S. Soccer
Foundation, AmericaSCORES, HOLA (Heart of Los Angeles) and others.

So there you have it. A Galaxy man, at least officially, no more.

I could do without the cheesy "enters Cosmos Country" tagline.

Here's the question then, without hearing directly from Jones himself on why he joined outside of the PR-massaged statement above: does Cobi's hiring assuage any of your doubts about the Cosmos?

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