Portrait of a Sport – CosmosCopa

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Feb 10, 2011

Imagine having a conversation with a friend about wanting to make a difference in the sport you love. You have an idea, some experience in the market and a passion to get things done. Now fast forward a couple of years. Your concept that only recently was nothing more than an idea is now in full bloom and happening exactly as you had envisioned. In this short amount of time you have attracted not only the excitement and passion of a cities soccer community, but also that of Mayor Bloomberg, Pele and the NY Cosmos.

Such is the story for Spencer Dormitzer and Chris Noble. As the Executive Producer and Creative Director of Cosmos Copa (formerly CopaNYC), Spencer and Chris embody much of the DIY ethos of many American soccer fans. A desire to give back and move the needle forward of the sport they love has led to a pretty amazing story and an incredible NYC tournament that has captured the imagination of a global community of soccer fanatics.

Beyond the love and their giving back to the sport, there is an added element that is surfacing with CosmosCopa that may have a long lasting impact on the sport in America. Their efforts to create a tournament that helps galvanize the soccer community of New York City may prove to be a more important part of the growth and development of the sport than much of what is currently taking place.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Spencer and Chris and talk about all kinds of things they are doing, the importance of their tournament, what it means to the sport in America and so on. The conversation drifted from the sports renaissance within urban settings, the passion of the ethnic communities who make up their tournament and the leagues of New York and how do they replicate this tournament outside the confines of New York City. And through all the talk, all the dissection of what has worked and what hasn’t, the consensus seemed to be that a large part of their success lies within them providing a framework for a passionate group of soccer fans and then letting them run with it.

As simple as that concept may sound, it may be something that we need to look at in more depth. Sometimes we over think things, we establish too many rules, we create too many barriers of entry for something that has always been easily accessible to people.  Stripping away many of the hurdles that all to often face soccer in America and allowing fans to be fans and players to be players in an environment that is natural to them seems like a fairly obvious approach.

Just where CosmosCopa can go and what it can grow to mean to soccer in the US is still unknown. But if it continues to develop with the same passion and success that it already has then it’s importance to the sport domestically will be without question.

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