NEW YORK--The New York Cosmos has called in M&C Saatchi to support its comeback, three decades after pioneering soccer's arrival in the US.

The firm secures the assigment following a competitive pitch, and will promote the Cosmos' return to the North American Soccer League (NASL).

A focal point for the brief will be a summer gala that honors soccer legend Pele, who played for the Cosmos during its 1970s heyday. The gala will benefit HELP USA, the nonprofit that provides housing support for the homeless.

The M&C Saatchi team is led by SVP Sandra Carreon-John and director Andrea Nirsimloo, who together oversee strategy, outreach and execution.

Packed with international stars, the Cosmos attracted huge crowds to Giants Stadium until 1977, when Pele departed. The franchise disbanded eight years later, but now returns to the NASL, which functions as the second division under Major League Soccer (MLS).

Soccer has grown in popularity in the US, with the MLS boasting higher attendance than NBA and NHL games. The Cosmos will face competition from the MLS team in New Jersey, along with another proposed team in Queens.