Gourlay, Sangha and Dixon in action on a soccer field in Lower East Side Manhatten
Gourlay, Sangha and Dixon in action on a soccer field in Lower East Side Manhatten

With Sassco from Sunderland and proud supporters of Sunderland AFC recently completing a very successful USA soccer tour in New York, it's interesting to sketch over a brief history of soccer in New York.

NYC is a hotbed of soccer (football) in the United States. Traditionally, immigrants brought in their own traditions including soccer, but ironically, most trying to be "American" drifted away to more Americanised sports such as gridiron and baseball, which meant it was never hugely popular in rival to the traditional sports. We in the UK and Europe are comfortable with it being our national pastime, but in the USA, it is one in a busy field of indoor and outdoor sporting entertainment.

However, back in the 60's New York was host to several regular tournaments, which slowly ended, but soccer in the United States got a boost once England (the first English speaking nation) won the world cup in 1966. Investors planned a coast to coast competition, with the almost unique American way of franchising cities. However, two rival leagues sprang up, which were eventually merged into the famous NASL (North American Soccer League) which kicked off in the late 60's.

The league was semi pro for the majority of the early 70's, but a strong New York franchise was always needed. The Cosmos sprung into life and eventually, once they pulled off the coup of signing Pele, soccer was truly born in the USA. Eventually the NASL over expanded and with competition from other sports and no real TV contract, the league died in the mid 80's

Now, flash forward and you have a thriving MLS (which was founded in 1995), which has learned from the past mistakes. The league had its fair share of problems, as it was due to commence before the 1994 World Cup (in the USA). Using the franchise system, the MLS organisation soon realised that the way forward was “soccer specific stadiums” instead of using baseball grounds, and gridiron football grounds. Also, they originally tried to make a clean break from the NASL, but soon realised that, like in Europe and the rest of the world, its tradition which keeps fans tied to their teams for generations. For this reason, the teams of the 70’s such as Portland Timbers, Vancouver White Caps and Seattle Sounders are all back in. However, for New York, the Cosmos are not in the league, but in a second tier league (called NASL). The two in the MLS are Red Bulls New York and New York City FC, who play in the iconic Yankee Stadium.

It would be interested to see the betting odds on which NYC team would come out on top. New York Red Bulls had Thierry Henry as their main star for the last few years, but now New York City with Spanish supremo David Villa and Frank Lampard, the lines are blurred. Also, for the Cosmos, the more veteran Raul and Senna, would be a match, as New York Cosmos beat both MLS New York teams in the US Open Cup competition in the last few years.

Interesting times ahead for a once again thriving New York Soccer scene.

New York Cosmos 1 Jacksonvill…

USA Tour 2015 - 27th April 2016

Usa2015.cosmosnsp 316

Back in 2011, I made my way over to Old Trafford and refused to "Stand up if you love Paul Scholes" while fulfilling an ambition to watch the New York...Read More

Soccer in New York, a brief h…

USA Tour 2015 - 24th September 2015

Usa Action Shotnsp 316

Gourlay, Sangha and Dixon in action on a soccer field in Lower East Side Manhatten With Sassco from Sunderland and proud supporters of Sunderland AFC recently completing a very successful USA...Read More

Undefeated in the USA Tour 20…

USA Tour 2015 - 13th September 2015

Usa2015.usa Team 2015nsp 316

Game 1: Alphabet City SC 6 Sassco.co.uk 6 | Game 2: Alphabet City 4 Sassco.co.uk 6. Sassco headed west for the first time ever, after initially attempting a failed Florida tour back...Read More

Venues for the USA Tour 2015

USA Tour 2015 - 11th September 2015

Usa2015.USA Mapnsp 316

The map shows the venue and the key locations for the USA Tour 2015.  

USA Tour soccer shirt.

USA Tour 2015 - 26th August 2015

Usa2015.USA 2015 Shirtnsp 316

The shirt for the tour in New York City is again sponsored by Workwear Express. The shirt will be printed / embroidered with the badge, sponsor logo and number on...Read More

It's A to Z in NYC.

USA Tour 2015 - 5th August 2015

Usa2015.ACSC Logo 600x600nsp 316

Looks like we have a confirmed opponent including some players to help out, but still waiting on a venue. The game is due to kick off on the 13th September...Read More

American Outlaws: Brooklyn.

USA Tour 2015 - 1st January 2015

Usa2015.web Brooklynnsp 316

Delighted to announce an initial game should be taking place in Brooklyn against The American Outlaws. Time is to be confirmed, but the date is tentatively scheduled for the 12th September. The...Read More

All set for New York in Septe…

USA Tour 2015 - 22nd November 2014

Usa2015.usa Ballnsp 316

The tour dates have been confirmed and, so far, three are going, with Gourlay, Dixon and Sangha. Hopefully more can make it, otherwise we'll recruit players from NYC. Opponents haven't...Read More

USA 2015 Official Soccerball

USA Tour 2015 - 28th May 2014

Usa2015.usa Ballnsp 316

Very pleased to announce the official ball for the 2015 tour in the United States. This pays homage to the classic NASL balls produced in the 70's and 80's. It's early...Read More

USA Tour 2015

USA Tour 2015 - 23rd February 2014

Usa2015.usatour Bannernsp 316

New York City. In September / October 2015, Sassco.co.uk will be travelling to New York City, over the course of a week, to undertake a tour comprising of one or two...Read More

Football News

Diego Costa: Striker says he …

Diego Costa says he did not want to leave Chelsea on bad terms and that he will always have a special affection with Blues fans.


Liverpool start WSL winter se…

Liverpool Ladies beat Merseyside rivals Everton Ladies in the first match of the new Women's Super League 1 winter season.


Milton Keynes Dons win at riv…

Gboly Ariyibi scores his third League One goal of the season to inspire MK Dons to victory over rivals AFC Wimbledon.


Falcao scores 11th league goa…

Radamel Falcao takes his season's tally up to 11 Ligue 1 goals - after only seven games - with a double as Monaco beat Lille.


Bayern Munich blow two-goal l…

Bayern Munich blew a two-goal lead as they were held by Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga.


Did Gareth Barry feel the pre…

As he prepares to break Ryan Giggs' Premier League appearance record, West Brom's Gareth Barry recalls the time he took over Phil Neville's number 18 shirt at Everton.


Scottish Premiership previews

Team news for Saturday's five Scottish Premiership matches, including the first Old Firm match of the season.


Notifications, Live Guide, My…

With latest scores and headlines sent straight to your device, personalisation and much more, ensure you have a great sporting life with BBC Sport.


Emma Hayes: Chelsea Ladies bo…

Chelsea Ladies manager Emma Hayes is "flattered" to be linked with the vacant England women's job but remains "committed" to Chelsea.