The New York Cosmos announced on Thursday that the grassroots tournament Cosmos Copa will return for its sixth edition this summer in New York. The 2013 NASL champions also officially announced the 40 participating teams from around the tri-state area.
Cosmos Copa is the nation’s preeminent amateur adult soccer tournament that unites New York City’s diverse community through sport. In this international tournament, the best soccer players in the tri-state area represent their country of heritage. Local teams representing 40 different countries will compete for the title of “Cosmos Copa City Champion” – in honor of both New York City as well as their country of origin.
For the first time, the Copa title match this year will be played on the same field that the Cosmos play their home matches on – Hofstra University’s Shuart Stadium. Prior to the Cosmos’ Aug. 2 league match against the Carolina Railhawks, the Cosmos and Hofstra will host the Copa championship game. That night, the Copa trophy will be awarded to the winners during a halftime presentation.
In another first this year, Street Soccer USA (SSUSA) will partner with the Cosmos to produce the tournament this year. Some responsibilities will include facilitating the day-to-day operations of Cosmos Copa. SSUSA is a non-profit organization that uses the power of soccer to help homeless men and women dramatically transform their lives. They utilize the power of sports, in this case soccer, to promote player development not merely on the field, but in every aspect of life.
As with every year, the tournament begins with a qualifying round, spread over two days in June. The qualifying teams this year include: Afghanistan, Albania, Argentina, Burkina Faso, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Ecuador, Egypt, England, El Salvador, Ghana, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Holland, Ireland, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Kosova, Paraguay, Peru, Scotland, Serbia, Spain, Togo, Turkey and Uruguay. Also participating in the qualifying round are teams representing Brazil and Mexico, two nations that had fielded teams in the past, but were absent from Cosmos Copa in recent years.
These 32 teams will compete for the remaining eight spots available in this year’s Cosmos Copa tournament, taking place in July. Last year’s eight quarterfinalists – Bolivia, Gambia, Greece, Italy, Poland, Senegal, USA and returning champion France – round out the rest of the tournament.
Over the last two years, Cosmos Copa proved an effective tool for the New York Cosmos to find the best local talent for their 2013 NASL championship squad. Dane Murphy, Stefan Dimitrov and Alessandro Noselli have all participated in recent tournaments.
The official Cosmos Copa tournament draw party, as well as all game dates and details will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information, visit CosmosCopa.com, follow the tournament on Twitter @CosmosCopa and like the Facebook page