New York Cosmos

Trends work in mysterious ways. Sometimes, for strange and obscure reasons, random things will surge back into style—like cargo shorts, or neckerchiefs…

Or a 30-year-old American soccer team.

Thanks to some occult rights issues, the 1977 New York Cosmos are having another moment in the spotlight, with Umbro partnerships, throwback t-shirts and genuinely cool parties. It’s a puzzling but welcome development; luckily, we’re here to explain what all the fuss is about.

Perfectly Embodied:
The shirt is the same one Umbro’s selling, but more than that, the photo brings it all together. They’re a squad of superstars, led by one of the greatest soccer players who ever lived, ready to take on the world. Pele takes the lead, hobknobbing with presidents and artists, but he’s got a squad of equally savvy gents behind him—including Italian forward Giorgio Chinaglia, German sweeper Franz Beckenbauer and English winger Dennis Tueart. Even the manager was dressing like he owned the place. (As it happened, he did.) This was the dream team, and for one brief, shining moment, everyone believed in American Soccer.

Words of Wisdom:
Sometimes, in the dressing room, I think I am in Hollywood.
-Franz Beckenbauer

The Backstory:
Being international superstars, they also had a damn good time, colonizing a table at Studio 54 and making friends with rock stars along the way. It wouldn’t last—that’s what happens when the team is bigger than the sport—but the flameout just makes the nostalgia more potent.

For a brief moment in Manhattan in the late 70s, they ruled the world…then nobody ever heard from them again.

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom