The thought of being in a van for 17 hours is difficult to fathom for most. Thinking of doing it twice in 2 days will get you many strange looks and a couple of choice words. Nonetheless 69 of my fellow New York Cosmos fanatics and myself aka, The Five Points, willingly took upon the challenge with open arms to go see the NY Cosmos play in their first championship title match in 30 years. I will first start by saying that trying to coordinate anything with 70 people is ever an easy task. That’s why I want to take the time now to give a huge job well done to La Banda Del Cosmos and the Borough Boys for putting this trip together.
We started our trip in Washington Heights at Fort Tyron Park. Some of us waited for close to 2 hours in the cold that night waiting for everyone to arrive who was scheduled to go on the vans. Even though it was cold, none of us seemed to mind as the thought of reaching Atlanta kept crossing our minds.
Van assignments were given out and at around 10pm Friday night, we rolled out of Manhattan and crossed into our first state NJ – the home of some soccer team sponsored by a soft drink who has never won a championship in their lengthy history. Enough about them.
We made a quick stop in that state and off we went. We would make two more stops overnight stopping for food, gas and bathroom breaks. The site of 70 Cosmos fans in five vans, taking over a gas station in the middle of the night just made me shake my head to think “Man, The Five Points are on the road!”. The sun would start to come up as we would make our way through Virginia. Fatigue would start to settle in for some but for the most part spirits would remain high knowing where we were headed. I for one drove three hours at the start of the trip and finally gave up the wheel in Maryland. When we got to South Carolina another driver was needed. The fatigue was present but motivation kicked in and I took on another shift which would take me all the sway into Atlanta. When I drove in the dark all I saw where headlights and darkness. But this time in the daylight as I was entering Georgia I kept noticing the vans in my rear view mirror. Each time I saw them, it pushed me further and I was thinking – five vans all of them looking to see the Cosmos get their 6th championship. The view looked beautiful each time. We had been driving for a little over 12 hours- who cares! The Cosmos had been working for months! Press onto Atlanta Five Points!
One of our last stops seemed to put our whole trip into perspective. We had talked about stopping for smoke bombs and pyro-technics at the Georgia border but due to the slower pace of the trip we had decided to scrap those plans and once in Georgia go straight to the pre-party. On our second to last stop in South Carolina the “Supporters Gods” sent us a gift. We were in search of a gas station and once off the highway what was staring at us? A gas station that had a fireworks store next to it! Yup I said it – a gas station with a fireworks store- because they go together right? It became like a kindergarten class field trip to a candy store. What was purchased will come up later!
INSERT PIC IN FIREWORKS STORE
Once is Atlanta the NY Cosmos through a great Pre-Party at Firebird Bar. Its exactly what we needed after a long trip – food, beer and some Cosmos cheer! Here are some sights from that pre-party!
After leaving Firebird it was onto Atlanta Silverbacks Park. I wish I could tell you good story about arriving there. But I will cut to the chase. The Atlanta supporters – “The Ultras” pretty much ambushed our five vans as well as our two shuttle buses once we parked in the parking lot. Smoke bombs and flares were tossed at us and we received threats that our vehicles would be vandalized. I wish I could tell you I was exaggerating but I’m not. There was a tense stand off between The Five Points and The Ultras in the lot but that was separated by Atlanta Police. The Ultras were eventually told to go into the stadium. A short while later we would make our grand entry into the Soccer Bowl. Enjoy the videos below that some what tell the story.
In this video, while its dark you will see a small group of people standing in front of the Five Points – that would be Atlanta Police keeping us from walking over to the smoke which were the Ultras – stay classy Atlanta,
After standing around in the lot waiting for the Police to let us in – we decided to get fired up, light some pyro and chant some more!
Finally they agreed that it was safe to let us into the Soccer Bowl – here is our view as we walked in!
Once in our seats we waited til the players were announced to unleash the fury of some of what we brought along with us to Atlanta – yup here are some of the fireworks we purchased. My apologies for having the camera position incorrectly! Yes the crazy guy screaming was me – sue me for being caught up in the moment!
Oh there was a game that need to be played right? Once the game got underway we continued to abuse Silverbacks Park with our chants, our confetti and yes our smoke. There were moments that we would purposely stay quiet in hopes that they would return a chant. All you heard were crickets.
Throughout the first half, we made Cosmos Country heard. It was a strong mix of emotions unleashed- thirty years of waiting for a soccer bowl combined with 17 hours of traveling through the east coast of the USA, mixed in with a season full of doubters. Then in the second half as if it weren’t enough Marcos Senna would put the exclamation point on a Cosmos Reboot season that has been one for the ages. I was fortunate enough to be running my video when he scored and captured some of the jubilation that the Five Points unleashed on behalf of Cosmos Country all over the world. I will never forget this moment-would have recorded longer but stopped the camera to jump and scream with the rest of the Five Points!
Believe it or not in the second half we got louder and stronger. More smoke would follow more confetti would be thrown. All the while, I must admit, both teams played the most entertaining half I think I saw all season. Credit the Silverbacks for leaving it out on the field in the second half. They tested Kyle Reynish many times and he answered the call. Here are some highlight of the game before I put up more of my videos.
This video recap is courtesy of One World Sports:
Finally, as if winning were not enough, we got to experience the on field celebrations with the Cosmos themselves. Invading the pitch, High fiving them, giving them hugs and even lifting up Marcos Senna:
Video of some on field shenanigans with the Boys In Green:
Pitch invasion – running onto field never felt so good!
Celebrating with the team and the five points
FINALLY – THE 2013 NASL TROPHY PRESENTATION!
Its a long one but hey…you waited 30 years for this-give it four minutes of your time!
I knew that this trip to Atlanta would be fun, but as I was coming home I was exhausted physically and mentally but I couldn’t stop smiling and laughing and thinking about all of the good things that happened during the trip. Watching the Five Points representing Cosmos Country and then watching the Cosmos win and celebrating with them exceeded any of my expectations. Truly one of the best sports experiences ever in my life and one that I will cherish forever. I would like to take this time to personally thank Eric Stover – COO of the NY Cosmos who was ever so gracious with us during this trip. And a very big thank you to La Banda Del Cosmos, Borough Boys and Sagan’s Army for letting this guy tag along with them. Together with them and with every other Cosmos supporter, we make the Five Points what they are today – the best Supporters Group around! Atlanta found out in their own home-we went into their stadium, we were louder than them, we smoked them out, blew rockets in their stadium, took one of their seats, ran on their field and took home the title! Lets put everyone else on notice in 2014!