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Rebooted Cosmos Going with Local Flare


Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Carlos Mendes grew up 10 minutes away from where his new team, the New York Cosmos, practice and will play their inaugural season in the NASL.

“This is my community. I grew up playing on these fields,” Mendes said after practice on Thursday. “I grew up playing at Mitchell and at Hofstra, so for me it’s special. Playing for a club with so much history, we know what people expect. We know what the fans expect and I’m just excited to have soccer back in New York and on Long Island, because it’s a big soccer community.”

The 32-year-old defender comes to the Cosmos with 10 years of experience in professional soccer. Mendes spent three years in the USL before making the jump to the MLS in 2005, where he spent six years with the New York Red Bulls. He went to the Columbus Crew in 2012 before signing with the Cosmos this year.

“Hopefully I can bring some of that experience,” Mendes said when asked what he brought to the team. “I’ve been playing pro now 10 years and I think experience, and hard work. I think I leave everything out on the field and hopefully some of the younger guys will learn from that, and look up to that.”

Mendes was the first player to sign with the rebooted Cosmos franchise. The Cosmos brand is know world wide because of the force they became in the 70s and 80s with some of the worlds best players, which included Pele.

The history of the name was not lost on Mendes, who has a bit of a connection to the old team.

“My parents when they came from Portugal, they went to some Cosmos games,” he said. “It’s really special for me of course, and being in my community where I grew up. I played a lot of tournaments here at Mitchell Field and all over the Island, so it’s special for me.”

Mendes is not the only player on the Cosmos who has local roots on the roster.

Defender Hunter Groski hails from New York, New York and goalkeeper Chad Calderone is from Rockville Center. Forward Jemal Johnson is also has a connection with the area, hailing from Patterson New Jersey.

But the connection to the area does not stop with the players, as Head coach Giovanni Savarese knows the area quite well.

“I’m familiar with New York because I’ve been here since 1990,” he explained. “I came here to play for Long Island University, then I ended up going to the Rough Riders, which this was the home for the Rough Riders. After, I ended up going to the Metro Stars, so still locally. I finished my career with the Rough Riders again in 2005 and now I’m here again in the same location. So it’s been great to stay in what already is my hometown.”

Both Mendes and Savarese understand the opportunity they have to promote the game of soccer on Long Island.

“Remember that the New York Cosmos was not only a club that played with big stars, but also promoted soccer,” Savarese said. “They did a lot of grass roots things and I think in some way youth soccer started growing in the area because of the New York Cosmos. So we have to continue doing the same thing. We have big plans for the future in youth and that’s something that’s important.”

Mendes echoed a similar sentiment and called Long Island a hot bed for soccer. “There is a big youth program and I think people are excited about it. We want to put a winning team and my job here is to work hard and stay focused, and try help in any way I can,” he said.

Fans are encouraged to check out 1495 Sports TV by clicking the link below for thoughts from Coach Savarese and Carlos Mendes from practice:


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