The New York Cosmos announced on Thursday that they will honor legendary player Giorgio Chinaglia before the team’s match on June 8, 5 p.m. ET against Ottawa at Hofstra University’s Shuart Stadium. Family members of the late Chinaglia, who played alongside Pelé during the 1970s, will be present during a special pregame ceremony to retire the striker’s famed No. 9 shirt.
“Giorgio was an unforgettable player and tremendous talent,” said Cosmos Chief Operating Officer Erik Stover. “Everybody knows about his prolific goalscoring, but he was also an indomitable spirit on and off the field who was such an integral part of the team’s success.”
Chinaglia joined the Cosmos in 1976 after a standout career in Italy for Lazio. At Lazio, he scored 98 goals in 209 appearances and led Lazio to their first-ever Serie A league title. During his time with the Cosmos (1976-83), Chinaglia became the North American Soccer League’s career scoring leader, with 193 goals in 213 official matches. He also led the league in scoring four consecutive years; and was named most valuable player in 1981. In 2000, Chinaglia was inducted into the United States National Soccer Hall of Fame and was named the greatest player in Lazio’s history during the club’s centenary celebrations.
Chinaglia finished his Cosmos career as the holder of all Cosmos scoring records, including most career goals (435 goals in 413 games), most goals in a regular season (34 in 1978), most goals in an entire season (50 in 1980), most goals in a calendar year (76 in 1980), most goals in playoff history (49 in 41 games) and most in a single game (7).
Representing Chinaglia will be members of his immediate family, including his son Giorgio Jr., who founded the Giorgio Chinaglia Foundation.
“We truly appreciate this gesture by the Cosmos in honoring our father,” Giorgio Jr. Chinaglia said. “He loved playing with the team and the Cosmos have always held a special meaning for our family.”
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