Shuart Stadium at Hofstra University. (December 3, 2009)

Shuart Stadium at Hofstra University. (December 3, 2009) Credit: Mario Gonzalez

For their return to professional soccer next season, the New York Cosmos are returning to their roots.

The Cosmos announced Tuesday they will play the 2013 North American Soccer League season at Hofstra, where they played four decades ago. They will call 13,000-capacity James M. Shuart Stadium home. Cosmos chairman Seamus O'Brien called Hofstra "the perfect place for us to return to the pitch."

"Hofstra is of historical significance," O'Brien said via phone from England. "It was [our home] the early years of the club in '72 and '73. We're in the game to put in very deep foundations to build something this time around that won't go away. We see that community out in Long Island as being the core of our fan base."

Jeffrey A. Hathaway, Hofstra vice president and director of athletics, said the school looked forward "to Cosmos supporters -- old and new -- once again enjoying first class professional soccer at our fabulous stadium."

The deal was a one-year rolling agreement, said O'Brien, who did not make any attendance predictions.

"I come from a very conservative business side," he said. "I want to fill it, but we haven't set our business plans on filling it because we're realistic. We've got to earn the respect of the fan base.

"Having not played for 30 years, it would be arrogant beyond belief to just turn up and think that people are just going to fill the stadium."

O'Brien wanted to name a coach and general manager by late October. "We're in final stages of negotiations with parties," he said.

The Cosmos hope to release schedule and ticket information then.

They will compete in a split-season format featuring two round-robin competitions. The winners will meet in Soccer Bowl for the league title. The spring season will kick off in late March or early April and end July 4. The fall part will start in late July or early August and run through Nov. 2.

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