Giorgio: The Sequel

Earlier this month, I wrote about the day in 1977 when Giorgio Chinaglia and the New York Cosmos played an exhibition soccer match at Green’s Farms Academy.

Carlos Almeida posted a comment, noting that the Cosmos played on Beachside Avenue not once, but twice.

The 2nd time was nearly 6 years later. In the spring of 1983, the world-famous NASL team returned to Westport. This time their opponent was the University of Connecticut — with a goalkeeper from Danbury named Carlos Almeida.

Two years earlier, the Huskies had won the national championship. This time, Carlos recalls, “the Cosmos took it easy on us.”

By 1983, superstars Pele, Franz Beckenbauer and Carlos Alberto were retired. But Giorgio Chinaglia — chain-smoking, moody, and as electrifying a goal scorer as ever — was there.

Carlos sent a few photos of that day. It was his last game for UConn. What a way to go out, he says — against his favorite pro team.

And it all happened on a tiny field, tucked away behind a small private school in Westport.

The Cosmos (blue) pose for a photo with the University of Connecticut. Giorgio Chinaglia is just out of the frame; he was next to #8 Vladislav Bogicevic (first row, far right). Carlos Almeida is the goalkeeper in the front row, wearing yellow.

University of Connecticut head coach Joe Morrone gives a halftime talk to his team at Green's Farms Academy. Note the fans hanging from a tree on the left.

8 responses to “Giorgio: The Sequel

  1. I played soccer for Weston ’71. I worked at Jay Emmett”s property on Prospect Rd. He had a helicopter landing area with lights in the back field. He got me tickets to Pele’s last game.

    • Thanks, Brad. And at Pele’s last game (October 1977), you would have seen the U-12 team I coached on the field, demonstrating skills and handing Pele a bouquet of flowers. The game was televised around the world — definitely a cool moment for all of us!

  2. I was at the 2nd game. I was 11. It was a bit surreal watching Giorgio Chinaglia running by ten feet away in uniform. I wasnt even a big soccer guy but NASL definitely was mainstream for a couple of years. My Dad brought me to the game. Good times. Who was responsible for booking the Cosmos in Westport…TWICE..Jim McKay?

    • I believe it began with Jim Baumann, former Staples player who was coaching soccer at Green’s Farms Academy. He used his Westport-Cosmos connections, of which there were many.

  3. Back in the 70’s I was working at Club Med in Tahiti. I met Pele. He played a game with the GO’s. I was the mascot.

    • “Back in the 70’s I was working at Club Med in Tahiti…” is an EXCELLENT way to start a story. It grabs the reader.

  4. is i true about Morrone and the clipboards?

  5. Carlos Almeida

    If by true you mean, did he carry a dufflebag full of clipboards and occasionally break 1 or 2 over his knee when he thought the ref’s made a bad call? Then yes it is all true.