Movie Review- “Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos”

Last Friday December 6th, I made my way down to the Corona Theatre for the very first time. (The architecture was even more stunning in person than I imagined it to be.) Pitch presented a 2006 feature film/documentary about the story of one of the most famous Soccer teams in the entire world– the “New York Cosmos.”Written by Paul Crowder and John Dower, The movie originally premiered on July 7, 2006 in the New York City area. The film combines the narration of veteran actor Matt Dillon with interviews with many of the team’s legendary star players, (such as Pelé and Randy Horton )  as well as footage of the team in the North American Soccer League in the late 1970s and early 1980s. I found the documentary very informative and interesting. Hearing the different perspectives from each individual insider/player was really neat and lent me an entirely new perspective on what it means to be a professional soccer player. For these men, soccer is their passion. They have spent years developing their tactics and skills… watching the documentary makes it hard for the mind to imagine a time when there was doubt about soccer ever becoming an official national sport. This movie takes us on a journey back in time to the very beginning… it all began with a brilliant idea, and a group of men’s passion for soccer. Brothers Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun, as well as Steve Ross, a Jewish businessman known for his position as CEO of  Time Warner Inc. and Warner Communication, is responsible for founding the NY Cosmos in the year of 1971. Quite the accomplishment, despite those who doubted that the sport would ever take off, let alone go on to become a nationally recognized game comparable to the likes of basketball or baseball major leagues.

The New York Cosmos joined the NASL (North American Soccer League) which at the time was back by the financial means of Warner Communications, and in it’s fourth season. The Cosmos won five championships, and made their name known world-wide, drawing more attention from Americans to the sport than ever before. With their persistence and passion they proved critics wrong and finally, it seemed that soccer was finally about to make history and take off.

The New York Cosmos are a great example of what one can truly achieve when like-minded individuals get together in mutual oneness to pursue a common goal. I found this aspect of the film to be the most inspiring, and it provides a positive message for everyone to take away.

Despite their heightened success and fame,  it is no secret that all good things in life eventually cease. As time continued to unfold, The Cosmo’s commercial and on-field success was on the decline in the early 1980s , along with the NASL.

Before watching this incredible documentary, I must admit that I had no idea about soccer’s history as a sport, so for me it was very enlightening and interesting. I recommend this documentary for everyone, as it is brilliantly constructed and easy to watch. A great way to spend a rainy day, or Sunday morning in bed.  I love Pitch Fest’s concept of bringing a Soccer/Football festival to the heart of Montreal. I can’t wait for Pitch Fest to come back next year!

Grace Shaw


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