Fusion to host New York Cosmos

VENTURA, Calif. – The Ventura County Fusion has faced countless historic soccer teams and players over the years, but for the first time, Fusion will face arguably America’s most famous professional soccer brand, the New York Cosmos. The Cosmos’ (NASL) roster boasts international stars in Raul and Marcos Senna, as well as a former Fusion standout in Southern California-native Hagop Chirishian.

“This is another tremendous opportunity for soccer fans in Ventura County to see some of the world’s best play right here in our back yard,” Fusion General Manager Ranbir Shergill said, “The Cosmos are such a famous brand and outstanding organization, and we’re thrilled to bring them to the Ventura College Sportsplex.”

The game will be played Wednesday, February 25th at the Ventura College Sportsplex, with kickoff set for 7pm. Pre-sale tickets cost $10 for Adults & $5 for Youths, while tickets purchased at the gate will cost $15 for Adults & $8 for Youths. Fusion season ticket holders will receive free entrance to the match, with season tickets costing just $65 for adults, $35 for youths and $190 for a family of four. Tickets are available at www.VCFusion.com.

The friendly match will be one of the first with the Cosmos for Spain and Real Madrid legend Raul, who with 323 goals, is Real Madrid’s all-time leading scorer. Raul played in three FIFA World Cups for Spain, scoring 44 international goals for his country. Brazil-born Spain international Marcos Senna, who started the UEFA Euro 2008 Final win over Germany, signed for the Cosmos in 2013, and has played a significant role in the club’s recent success.

“There are very few soccer fans on the planet that aren’t familiar with Raul and Marcos Senna,” Shergill said, “I remember seeing Raul play for Real Madrid in so many famous Champions League games, for him to play against Fusion at the Ventura College Sportsplex will be something special for players and fans alike.”

There are numerous players for the Cosmos with ties to the Ventura County Fusion. Forward Hagop Chirishian played twice for Fusion, winning the 2009 PDL Championship with the club, and returning for a short stint in 2013 before ultimately heading to New York.

Cosmos goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer also played in the 2009 PDL Championship Game, but was on the losing end, starting for the Chicago Fire U-23s in Fusion’s 2-1 victory in Ventura. El Salvador international and Cosmos forward Andres Flores played one game for Fusion, an exhibition match against the Portland Timbers in the Timbers’ first season as an MLS club.

Fusion Head Coach Rudy Ybarra played for the Los Angeles Aztecs (NASL) in 1978, and faced the Cosmos before more than 70,000 fans at Giants Stadium.

“The New York Cosmos are probably the most historic club in the United States. The fact that Pele, the greatest player to ever play the game, played for the Cosmos, says a lot,” Ybarra said, “The opportunity to play the Cosmos is huge for our franchise, and huge for our fan base. Raul is one of the greatest ever for Spain and Real Madrid, you’re talking about football royalty.”

The New York Cosmos skyrocketed to fame in the 1970s, as the lead team in the North American Soccer League (NASL). In 1975, the franchise made history, signing arguably the game’s all-time greatest player, Pele. The Cosmos regularly averaged more than 40,000 fans per game throughout the late 1970s, with international stars such as Franz Beckenbauer (Germany) and Carlos Alberto (Brazil) playing for the club.

The club disbanded in 1985, but in 2010, Pele announced the reformation of the New York Cosmos. The club rejoined the NASL, and in 2014, finished third in the league, ultimately losing to the San Antonio Scorpions in the semifinals.

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