The New York Cosmos announced on Friday that two more players have agreed to contracts with the team, as forward Jemal Johnson and defender Chris Rodd will now join the roster. The franchise has also announced that Simone Lucchesi will act as their full-time fitness coach.
Getting to know the two newest Cosmos:
Johnson, 28, is a nine-year professional who started his career with the Blackburn Rovers of the English Premier League, before playing for such European clubs such as the Wolverhampton Wanderers and Lokomotiv Sofia.
Jemal, who stands at 5-9 and hails from Paterson, NJ currently plays for the NASL’s Fort Lauderdale Strikers, which expires at the end of the NASL spring season. Johnson will look to join the Cosmos for the 2013 NASL fall season.
“Jemal is very good in 1-vs-1 situations and has a great shot from distance that has led him to score some great goals in his career,” Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese said. “Combined with his years of professional experience and exceptional speed up front, he should add an exciting element to our attack.”
Rodd, 28, is a defender from Fremont, CA who played his professional soccer for Bryne FK in Norway. Rodd underwent a try-out with England’s Sheffield United in 2009 before retiring early due to injury. After spending some time away from the pitch, Rodd is returning to American soccer.
“Chris is a very strong, imposing central defender who brings a work ethic that is expected out of every Cosmos player,” Savarese said. “His game has all the intangibles that give us a great choice in the back.”
Getting to know Simone Lucchesi:
Lucchesi has spent the last 14 years working with some of Italy’s top soccer clubs, including Lazio, which is home of the late Cosmos’ legend Giorgio Chinaglia, Lecce of Serie B and most recently Sampdoria of Serie A where he was the joint head fitness coach.
The Cosmos will release single-game tickets for their home opener at Hofstra University Shuart Stadium on Monday, June 10 at 10 a.m. Fans can purchase tickets at www.nycosmos.com or can call 855-71-COSMOS.
Individual tickets will start as low as $15 as the franchise is set to take on their historic rivals the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the home opener on August 3. Prior to the start, the Cosmos will honor legends from their past in a special on-field ceremony.