Watch Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos For Free
In the 1970s the North American Soccer League marked the first attempt to introduce soccer to American sports fans. While most teams had only limited success at best, one managed to break through to genuine mainstream popularity - the New York Cosmos. The brainchild of Steve Ross (Major executive at Warner Communications) and the Ertegun brothers (Founders of Atlantic Records), the Cosmos got off to a rocky start in 1971, but things changed in 1975 when the world's most celebrated soccer star, the Brazilian champion Pele, signed with the Cosmos for a five-million-dollar payday. With the arrival of Pele, the Cosmos became a hit and the players became the toast of the town, earning their own private table at Studio 54. A number of other international soccer stars were soon lured to the Cosmos, including Franz Beckenbauer, Rodney Marsh, and Carlos Alberto, but with the turn of the decade, the team began losing favor with fans and folded in 1985.