"Newsham describes the audacious attempt to create a national sport from scratch in meticulous detail, and the story is fascinating…. This book is a gripping evocation of a glorious but brief moment when the beautiful game had the US entranced." Alan Rutter, Time Out (UK)
Once in a Lifetime
The Incredible Story of the New York Cosmos
978-0-8021-4288-7 • $14.00 • Paperback • June 2006
Once in a Lifetime tells the story of the New York Cosmos soccer team, which brought the greatest talents of the world’s biggest sport to a city awash in celebrity and decadence.
In the summer of 1977, the New York Cosmos were the premier sports team of the city. They boasted the greatest roster of the world’s best players ever assembled by a single team in any sport in such a short time. Cosmos players were New York Post Page Six regulars and favorites at Studio 54, partying behind the velvet ropes with the likes of Robert Redford, Mick Jagger, and Andy Warhol. Soccer was poised to finally conquer America, and its heartbreaking rise and fall is captured in Gavin Newsham’s Once in a Lifetime.
Warner Brothers chairman and Cosmos owner Steve Ross didn’t know a goalkeeper from a zookeeper. Football was his gameAmerican football. As a kid running the streets of Brooklyn, he dreamed of one day playing for, or maybe even owning, the New York Giants. One thing he did know, though, was how to make a dollar. With over three million kids playing soccer across the country in the early 1970s (and the number growing every year), the time seemed ripe for the biggest sport in the world to take over America. Ross quickly assembled the best soccer players from across the globe to play for the Cosmos. Pelé, the German superstar Franz Beckenbauer, Johan Neeskens, Giorgio Chinaglia, Brazil’s 1970 World Cupwinning captain Carlos Alberto, Werner Roth, Roberto Cabanas, and many others all donned Cosmos jerseys and became instant celebrities in the process. The Cosmos quickly became the hottest ticket in town. Celebrities like Barbra Streisand and Steven Spielberg attended games and the Cosmos players soon became enmeshed in a world of millionaires, gangsters, groupies, glamour, power struggles, alcoholic excess, drugs, and fistfights.
Published to coincide with the World Cup in June 2006, Once in a Lifetime is the thrilling story of America’s first flirtation with the world’s most popular game.