NEW YORK — The New York Cosmos may not have a professional team, but they sure are going about creating buzz with a professional’s acumen.
On Tuesday, they announced the hiring of Manchester United legend Éric Cantona as the club’s director of soccer. As such, he will “exercise the innovative leadership and cutting-edge creativity that he is known for, towards implementing the club’s vision and philosophy in all areas of soccer operations,” according to a statement released by the Cosmos.
“[Cantona’s hiring] is a further endorsement to the tremendous global attraction and power that the New York Cosmos carries,” club chairman Paul Kemsley said. “Our name already resonates throughout the world and so will our football team.”
Cantona, a.k.a. “King Eric,” is most famous for his time with Manchester United, with whom he won four championships in six seasons between 1992 and 1997.
[inline_node:326804]In addition to stints with Marseille, Nantes and Bordeaux, among others, he spent one season with Leeds United, leading them to the 1992 championship before moving to Old Trafford that fall.
Now he will look to recreate some semblance of that success with the Cosmos, despite the fact that at the moment the club consists of only two youth clubs, in New York and Los Angeles.
The Cosmos have reportedly expressed interest in joining MLS in the near future, and MLS Commissioner Don Garber has said he’d like a second team in the New York City area.
“The Cosmos are very strong, beautifully made, with a great past,” Cantona said. “It’s kind of a mix between football and art. I will do everything that I can to help us first find our way to regain the No. 1 position in the United States, and then for us to become one of the best clubs in the world over the coming years.”
Cantona is the second high-profile hiring for the Cosmos, following the announcement that former LA Galaxy star Cobi Jones had signed on as associate director of soccer and ambassador.