By Ben Tetelman

On May 14th, the New York Cosmos announced that 40 teams would be participating in New York City’s most prominent amateur soccer tournament. On June 2nd, a record breaking 32 teams were drawn to compete for eight remaining group stage positions in the Cosmos Copa 2014. The other eight spots in the group stage will be filled by prequalified nations who will be able to enjoy the competative qualifying tournament from the stands. However, such a luxury does not go undeserved, as the teams that have prequalified for the group stage have done so due to their success in previous Copa tournaments.
NYC Bolivia
NYC Bolivia left the 2012 Cosmos Copa with their tails between their legs as they suffered a 5 -1 defeat to NYC Haiti in the Semifinals of the Copa tournament. However, a second consecutive trip to the knockout stages in 2013 shows that NYC Bolivia is eager to become the champions of New York City in the 6th annual Cosmos Copa.
NYC France
NYC France will look to defend their title in the Cosmos Copa 2014. The Copa giants made a historic run in 2013 and defeated NYC Senegal in dramatic fashion. Escaping defeat by the skin of their teeth with a 6-5 victory in penalty kicks, will NYC France have the luck and the skill to become back-to-back champions?
NYC Gambia
NYC Gambia emerged as dark horses in the 2013 Cosmos Copa. The African side completed an amazing upset against two-time Copa Champions NYC Poland in the quarter finals of last year’s tournament. The Cinderella story was cut short when their geographical neighbors, NYC Senegal, defeated Gambia in the semifinals. With the 2014 Copa just days away, NYC Gambia will look to become the first African nation to be crowned champions of New York City.
NYC Italy
Although Italy made an early exit from the World Cup, another tournament provides “Gli Azzurri” with a chance to prove their talent on an international stage. With a heartbreaking loss to NYC France in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Cosmos Copa, NYC Italy will hope to bring home their first ever Copa Championship in 2014.
NYC Poland
There are many reasons to fear NYC Poland in the 2014 Cosmos Copa. After all, NYC Poland is the only team in tournament history to win back-to-back championships. Last year’s tournament, however, was a step back for the mighty Poland as they made an early exit with a shocking loss to NYC Gambia in the quarterfinals.
NYC El Salvador
As an ethnic population that continues to grow in the United States, NYC El Salvador will have the opportunity to show the world’s greatest city their own version of “the beautiful game”. Led by team president Jose Martinez, NYC El Salvador will look to win their first ever championship at the Cosmos Copa 2014.

2013 proved to be a historic year for the Yanks as they made their first ever knockout stage appearance in the Cosmos Copa. While NYC USA will be able avoid a “group of death” by prequalifying for the round of 16, like their counterparts in Sao Paulo, the work is not done. Coming off their best campaign yet, the Yanks will look to capture their first ever Cosmos Copa on their home turf.
NYC Senegal
With trips to the 2011 and 2013 Finals of the Cosmos Copa, NYC Senagal was destined to be the first ever African nation to win a Cosmos Copa. However, with losses to Poland and France, the "Lions of Teranga" have found themselves empty handed with no titles to boast about. This year's bye into the later stages of the tournament is a testament to the teams overall strength, and you can be sure that Sadibou Sylla and his team will be ready to reach the finals again in 2014.