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The New York Cosmos, a club that once featured Pele and Franz Beckenbauer, are returning to competitive action next year after a 28 year absence as part of the second division North American Soccer League (NASL).

The original Cosmos folded in 1985 after a short but high-profile existence in the original NASL but were brought back to life in 2010.

Since then the franchise has focused on merchandising and youth soccer projects and has undergone a change of ownership while rumours have circulated about a return to the professional game through the top-flight Major League Soccer (MLS).

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But while MLS has said it intends to create a franchise in New York City and is searching out possible venues, the Cosmos ownership group turned to the second tier league. The New York Red Bulls of MLS play in New Jersey.

"As we continue to expand the league and help grow professional soccer in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean, the Cosmos brand and their strong ownership group are a perfect fit with us," NASL Commissioner David Downs said on Thursday.

The Cosmos, who won five championships in the old NASL, will play against some familiar names from the past with the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Fort Lauderdale Strikers both featuring in the league which was created in 2009 taking the name of the old competition which ran from 1968 to 1984.

The Cosmos said they expect to announce in the near future where they will play their home games and who will coach and play for the club.

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