U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati with Pele and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the Aug. 1 relaunch of the Cosmos (Getty)

(WFI) The New York Cosmos are ratcheting up their efforts to become Major League Soccer’s 20th franchise.

The historic club relaunched Aug. 1 and has since founded two academies, added a board member, unveiled a new jersey and celebrated the 70th birthday of Cosmos legend and honorary team president Pele.

Now the revived Cosmos say they have the necessary funds to build a new stadium, the New Jersey Record reported over the weekend.

Cosmos director of soccer Terry Byrne told the newspaper his club has the money but must still pick a location.

“Our intent is to be the 20th team in MLS,” Byrne said. “We’ve had several meetings with [MLS commissioner Don] Garber and progressed very positively.”

Garber has long coveted a second New York City franchise to rival the Red Bulls, a scenario that’s looking more and more likely by the day.

Former Liverpool FC chief executive Rick Parry now sits on the board led by former Tottenham executive Paul Kemsley.

The club has enlisted former MLS players Ted Chronopoulos and Giovanni Savarese to lead the academies in New York and Los Angeles from which three players have already been recruited to join the USA’s Under-17 residential program.

The Cosmos rented out Manhattan’s Planet Hollywood on Saturday for Pele’s birthday party.

The club also used the occasion to unveil a Times Square advertisement featuring the Brazilian legend.

The Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps FC will join the league next season, and the Montreal Impact will follow suit in 2012.

MLS could add a 20th franchise as soon as 2012.

Aztex Move to Orlando, Eye MLS
The Austin Aztex of the USSF D-2 will relocate to Orlando with the hopes of soon joining the MLS.

A newly formed British consortium has purchased the team, and the move is a condition of sale.

Aztex founder and Stoke City owner Phil Rawlins will remain on board as majority owner of the group named Orlando Sports Holdings, which also includes Burnley FC owner Brendan Flood.

“The new investors made it very difficult for us to turn down their offer,” he told the team’s official website.

“Their goal is to build up the soccer operations so that we can pursue an MLS franchise in the next few years.”

The team will join the USL Pro League next season under the name Orlando City Soccer Club.

By INSIDER’s Matthew Grayson

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