For months, the long-promised revival of the New York Cosmos, once the crown jewel of the North American Soccer League, has been the elephant in the room of MLS expansion, if everyone in the room mentioned the elephant in every other sentence. What bothered me, though, was that it came off looking more like a marketing ploy than the basis for a soccer team. Terry Byrne, formerly of Davey Goes To Hollywood fame, had done a fantastic job of slapping a slick new logo on just about every product in the Umbro online store, but there was no real soccer brain involved with the project. Rick Parry, who oversaw the biggest decline in Liverpool since the end of the shipping industry, was hardly going to be an expert in the American market. Pele stuck his face on some ads for the Cosmos, but Pele will stick his face on anything if you put enough money in front of it.

What they were missing was some bona fide American soccer cred. Someone who not only knew American soccer and MLS, but had been a winner at MLS and USMNT levels. Someone who could signal to the masses that the Cosmos were not just a shirt deal and some re-branded youth teams, but a genuine contender for an MLS side.

So they hired Cobi Jones as "Associate Director of Soccer." You know, to go with their other director of soccer. All they need need now is some soccer to direct.

Now, everyone knows who Cobi Jones is, so I'll just list some of his most impressive accomplishments to provide an overview:
  • All-time leader in USMNT appearances (164)
  • All-time leader in league appearances for the LA Galaxy (305)
  • Second all-time in LA Galaxy goals (70)
  • Played in 3 different World Cups (1994, 1998, 2002)
  • Winner of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, CONCACAF Champions Cup, 2 MLS Cups, 2 US Open Cups, and 2 Supporters' Shields
  • Was assistant coach for the Galaxy's 2010 Supporters' Shield triumph
It's an impressive resume, and one that gives credence to the Cosmolution movement. While I'm sure he's being given a nice big raise, I doubt that he was on chump change at Los Angeles, and as a fierce competitor, and a player who played until the age of 37, doesn't strike me as someone who likes to sit on the sidelines and watch. Jones will want to be involved, and that in itself is a reason to think that there will be something to be involved with.

MLS commish Don Garber has made it no secret that he'd like to have a team in New York, and the Cosmos fulfill his strict criterion of "having lots and lots of money." While nothing has been decided yet, this hiring is a major signal that the Cosmos want to be involved in the near future.

I don't buy all the hype yet, but it seems to me that there's more than just hype now. There's substance.

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