Times Square, January 2011. (New York Cosmos Facebook page)
While the new New York Cosmos continue their wait for a spot in MLS, they've decided to join the latest iteration of the North American Soccer League, currently the U.S. second division, and field a team for the 2013 season. Of course, being a second division club means they won't be able to sign the stars of the day as they did in their glory days when the likes of Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia and Carlos Alberto helped them to five NASL titles in the '70s and early '80s. So, they've had to compromise and settle for players with relations (of varying degrees) to the biggest stars in the world.
Here now, presented for the first time, is the dizzyingly spectacular roster for the 2013 New York Cosmos!
Jorge Casillas: Third cousin of Real Madrid and Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas, Jorge hasn't spoken to anyone on his dad's side of the family, let alone Iker, in years due to a dispute over a portable grill. Jorge hasn't played as a goalkeeper since he was 10.
Horst Lahm: A childhood friend of Germany captain Philipp Lahm, Horst spent so much time at the Lahm's house that he was jokingly referred to as a member of the family. Though Philipp defriended him on Facebook last year, Horst still uses the Lahm surname. Horst is the inventor of a little known football skill move called "the nipple clamp."
Al Terry: Al's is a common last name, so he's not actually related to Chelsea captain John Terry (to his knowledge, at least!), nor have they ever met. But Al did dress as John for Halloween one year and he still has the shin pads.
Benito Puyol: Benito doesn't have the wild hair of his more famous nephew, but he is willing to wear a wig. Benito was named Player of the Year in his local Over-60 league before suffering a mild stroke.
Gael Clichy: Seriously, it's the real Gael Clichy.
Ryan Gigs: A Ryan Giggs tribute player who even went so far as to sleep with his step-brother's wife, even though he doesn't have a step-brother. Gigs has honed his skills for decades so that they vaguely resemble what Ryan Giggs would do if he were having an exceptionally bad day and accidentally drank the contents of a tranquilizer dart.
Kaka: Did you know there are three different footballers known as Kaka? Which one will it be?! (Hint: It will probably be the one from Real Madrid. He was willing to take a pay cut. He seems sad.)
An actual rino: It will be forced to wear a Gattuso shirt and then slap it in the head.
Phil Messi: The self-proclaimed "biggest Lionel Messi fan in the universe," Phil legally changed his surname to "Messi" and keeps a body pillow with his hero's face drawn on it with him at all times. In a clear show of support, Lionel has failed to renew his restraining order against Phil.
Emile Heskey: Hey, every team has its weak link.
And finally, esteemed captain Barry Ronaldo: Identical twin brother of Cristiano, Barry has filled in for his sibling in some of the world's biggest competitions and failed to meet expectations every single time. When asked about the honor and privilege of wearing the armband for the new Cosmos, Barry said, "I think it's giving me a rash."
The rest of the squad will be filled out with some of English legend Bert Tiddle's 18 kids. Reserve your season tickets now!*
*Season tickets are not yet available.
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