While The New York Cosmos take promotional efforts for the team intentionally slowly, the club’s U23 team is progressing in the Premier Development League (PDL). The team, coached by Giovanni Savarese, landed its first win yesterday against Reading. Considering that this is only the beginning of much more Cosmos soccer to come, the game had a high value of entertainment, and, quite some quality. For those that still believe The New York Cosmos are far away from playing real soccer, you better come to the next game and take a look at these boys.
A word about these exhibition games, the Cosmos U23 are carrying quite some “social soccer responsibility”, considering that they are the major representative on the field for the club and its legacy. That some players of this team, along with players picked by Pele and Eric Cantona, have the amazing opportunity to play at the “Paul Scholes Testimonial Match” at Old Trafford in August, is not only a dream of every American soccer player, but it also puts some major pressure and motivation on the young team’s shoulders. Who wouldn’t run his heart out for such an opportunity? This is one of the reasons that turn these exhibition games into a serious competition for the players and nail biting events for the officials. While the players and coaches want to be prepared for the big game at Old Trafford, the officials have the worry of representing The New York Cosmos in an appropriate way and strengthening the Cosmos foundation.
As a soccer player and coach by passion and heart, looking at the Cosmos boys, I remember the first time when I walked into a stadium filled with 70,000 people and was asked to perform. Between the walk out from the locker room and the kick-off, there were at least 100 moments when I was considering falling over or just running away. Up until that time, I had played in front of a couple of thousand people. “Surviving” such a game will make you grow for life, not only in soccer. For those that have an interest in soccer, the Cosmos U23 represent an extraordinary opportunity to see a team and organization to start out, grow and learn for life. This is not an opportunity all MLS teams and players had in the past. In my opinion, this deserves attention and support. Keep in mind, if they do well at Old Trafford, it might open the door for a great business opportunity for all clubs (and players) of the MLS.
The New York Cosmos play their PDL home games at Staten Island’s Monsignor Farrell High School. The school’s stadium is a perfect place for the club’s first PDL season. It is easy to reach, for all New Yorkers. I came from Brooklyn (Heights) and the entire trip cost was $9.00, both ways. I took the ferry from Manhattan to Staten Island and the MTA train from there right to the High School. Since I was early, I had a drink and a snack at a nice family run Mexican place called “Mesquite Grill” that is just three minutes from the field on 105 Guyon Avenue. Jose, the owner, is a sports nut, and, like all Mexicans, has knowledge and expertise about soccer. Not only did I have a very nice conversation with him, the food was good as well. The next time I am going to visit a Cosmos game at Farrell High, I will have a dinner at his place. Judging by the snack and the menu, I know it will be good. Go check the Facebook page under “Mesquite Grill”.