Soccer fans, nostalgics, and lovers of green sports teams, your moment may have finally arrived. After 30 years off the field—and nearly 40 since their heyday in the mid-70's—the New York Cosmos will return to professional play this Saturday night against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. With the Empire State Building set to go green tonight in honor of their return, here's a guide to understanding the 2013 New York Cosmos.

Is Pele playing?

No (although he is involved in lighting the Empire State Building). The Brazilian legend, now 72 years old, does remain involved as the "honorary president" of the club, and he will be honored at the opening match. But like Carlos Alberto Torres, Shep Messing, and Eric Cantona, his role with the club remains mostly promotional instead of involved with day-to-day sporting decisions. (We confirmed with the club that Cantona, who was originally announced as "Football Director" a few years ago, is in an "International Ambassador" role.)

Well if Pele isn't playing, who's their current "Pele"?

The biggest name on the squad is Spanish midfielder Marcos Senna. The 37-year-old World Cup veteran made 357 appearances for Villareal over an 11 year stint, and was part of the Spanish squad that won Euro 2008.

Other notable internationals that have joined the club include Ayoze, another Spanish midfielder by way of Sporting Gijón; Alessandro Noselli, an Italian forward who spent time in Italy's lower divisions; and Brazillian defender Roversio, who, we have to admit, may have the best name of any soccer player ever.

Beyond the internationals, there's a lot of American players, some that may be familiar to followers of MLS. Team captain Carlos Mendes spent 6 seasons with the Red Bulls, defender Hunter Freeman had five different MLS stints, and goalkeeper Kyle Reynish spent a number of years at Real Salt Lake as a backup to Nick Rimando.

Where are they playing? Did they get that stadium built yet?

The Cosmos will be playing at James M. Shuart Stadium at Hofstra University, their home from 1972-1976. (Yes, that means you're either driving out, taking a bus from a bar, or taking the LIRR and hopping in the team shuttle.)

The Cosmos did submit a bid to Empire State Development in January for a potential 25,000 seat stadium at Belmont Park, but given the rate at which Albany moves, we should hear the outcome of that RFP process sometime in 2017.

Long Island? That seems really far. Can I watch the games on TV?

The seven fall 2013 home games will air on SNY—three live and four on tape delay. Road games remain unlikely to air in the city, although the Cosmos claim they are still in discussions to try and get them aired.

Which date do they play the Red Bulls? That seems like it'd be a good game to go to.

Not so fast: the Cosmos are playing in the recently-reborn North American Soccer League, the second division of American soccer. The Red Bulls—and NYC FC, who become an actual team in 2015—play in Major League Soccer, the first division of American soccer. There's no inter-league play, and unlike Europe, no promotion or relegation. Barring the Cosmos being a future MLS expansion team (which neither the Cosmos nor MLS seem to be pushing for), you won't see regular season battles with the Cosmos and other area teams.

There is one avenue where the teams might meet, and that's the US Open Cup. That competition does involve teams from all tiers of the "pyramid", and it's quite possible for the Cosmos to be matched up against the Red Bulls or NYC FC in that competition - but details on those match-ups won't be known until next year's running of the Cup.

I am a mental/barmy/loud/drunk/hipster soccer fan/supporter/ultra who wants to show my love for this club. Is there a group for like-minded folks?

Like the Red Bulls, the Cosmos have multiple supporters groups. The Borough Boys, who abandoned their bid to bring a MLS team to the city of New York immediately after that team turned out to not be the Cosmos, are the most established, having been operating in some capacity since 2007. If the Borough Boys aren't your style, there's also La Banda Del Cosmos and Sagan's Army.

Is this team going to be as popular and dominant as they were in the 70s?

The Cosmos may very well be successful on the field. They have shown plenty that they're willing to spend (NASL has no salary cap), and acquisitions like Senna and Ayoze may give them a large edge talent-wise over their NASL rivals.

Building that legendary popularity, or even sustaining ticket sales will be the bigger challenge. There's no doubt that the Cosmos brand holds a lot of value with people who recall how brightly they burned. They drew record crowds with the likes of Pele, Beckenbauer, and Chinaglia - but even in the 70s, that only began after five years in the trenches of drawing just a few thousand fans to games. With no true Pele equivalent (at this point in time, they'd basically need Leo Messi), with a sports landscape has changed a lot, and with soccer frequently struggling to break into the mainstream US sports world, hoping a second division club can find success on that scale is a huge ask.

The club is leveraging that brand loyalty as much as possible, and have chosen throughout their "reboot" marketing to push the club's history. From Pele photos in the advertising, to throwback jerseys being a full $20 cheaper than those of the current team, to promotions like "Shep Messing Night" (free fake mustaches!), the club is waving the nostalgia flag as hard as they can to get the initial interest out to Hofstra. But the team will not be able to survive off history alone: they will need to get people interested in the current club, and fast.

Shep Messing, who rose to fame as the club's goalkeeper in the 70's, put it best when he recently spoke about how the present club needs to let go of the past to be successful:

"The challenge and opportunity for this team is not to dwell on us, to dwell on the past. Honor it - there will be a bridge from the past, because we have a name and a history and a tradition. But this is about the present and the future. This is not about some kind of soap opera longing for something that's gone. Honor it, recognize it, and then move on. Create your own identity, knowing there will be all of us in the background in the history of the club that are supporting you. This is 2013, establish your own identity, your own connection to the fans...go out and play and make us proud. You've got to separate this team from the past. They'll be making a mistake if they live off those memories."

That future begins Saturday at 7PM.