Cosmos Accept Invitation to Play Historic Exhibition Match in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Published May 9, 2017

Today, the reigning champions of the NASL and the most legendary club in United States soccer history, have accepted an invitation from the General Entertainment Authority of Saudi Arabia to play an international exhibition game against the nation’s most decorated professional club, Al-Hilal FC. The match will take place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia at Al-Hilal’s home ground, Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium, on Saturday, May 20, 2017.

Saudi Arabia will be the 48th nation visited by the Cosmos, underscoring the club’s long standing reputation as America’s greatest global soccer ambassador. This friendly exhibition will be the Cosmos’ 128th contest played on foreign soil and the 187th international match, including those played in the United States. 

“We are honored to accept this gracious invitation and delighted to play in this match against Al-Hilal sponsored by the General Entertainment Authority of Saudi Arabia,” said New York Cosmos Chairman, Rocco B. Commisso. “By participating in this momentous event, we continue our club’s tradition of traveling across the globe to promote soccer, unity and friendship. This is more than simply a game. It’s a significant opportunity for the New York Cosmos to once again make history.”

The timing of the Cosmos match with Al-Hilal FC coincides with President Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, his first international trip since taking office.

Shortly after the United States restored diplomatic relations with Cuba, the Cosmos were the first U.S. sports team to visit Havana in 16 years when they played the Cuban National Team in June 2015, perhaps the most notable trip the club had taken since visiting China in 1977.

Formed in 1957, Al-Hilal FC is the reigning champion of the Saudi Professional League and the most successful team in league history with a total of 14 titles. The organization holds 6 trophies in various Asian cups and 8 Arab championships.  In 2009, the International Federation of Football History & Statistics ranked Al-Hilal FC as the Asian Club of the 20th Century. 

“Our club has had the good fortune to represent the United States during many memorable international matches,” said Cosmos Head Coach and Sporting Director, Giovanni Savarese. “It is our hope that this historic visit to Saudi Arabia will unite people through the beautiful game of soccer.”

Due to accepting the exhibition match in Saudi Arabia, the Cosmos have rescheduled their home game on May 21 with FC Edmonton to Wednesday, June 7 at 7:30 p.m. at MCU Park in Brooklyn. The Cosmos also announced their June 9 home game against North Carolina FC will now take place Saturday, June 10 at 4 p.m. at MCU Park.