By DAN KARELL
MINEOLA, N.Y. — The New York Cosmos brought their North American Soccer League trophy back home Wednesday for a celebration hosted by Nassau County.
Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese and Chief Operating Officer Erik Stover were joined by Nassau County executive Ed Mangano and New York State Senator Jack Martins to present the Championship trophy to the team and fans in attendance at the event.
“We’re here to celebrate the 2013 North American Soccer League champions, our very own New York Cosmos,” Mangano said. ”We are so proud of the New York Cosmos, so proud that you’re right here in Nassau County, and we hope to see you continue right here in our great state.”
Here are some more notes from the Cosmos this week:
SAVARESE IS COY ON TARGETS, DOESN’T RULE OUT SENNA-LIKE SIGNING
Though the Cosmos won their sixth NASL Soccer Bowl, the team could still use improvements in a number of areas across the field.
Outside of Alessandro Noselli, the Cosmos had very little production from their strikers, and while their defense was solid, it was at times prone to being torn apart due to miscommunication. Savarese wouldn’t reveal who the Cosmos were potentially looking at, but he did admit that they may bring in a few players to look at during the preseason.
“There’s always ways to improve,” Savarese said. “Barcelona, Manchester United, they can improve, why not us. We can definitely improve in many many ways.
“We’ll be bringing hopefully one or two players up top, we might help out some of the other positions, but we’re keeping a very big base because you don’t change what works. We just have to make sure these guys stay hungry, keep fighting for their jobs and then keep accomplishing great things in the future.”
With a name that carries as much reach as the Cosmos, there is plenty of speculation that the club could make another big splash to sign another experienced European or South American player ahead of next season. Savarese admitted that it was a possibility, but said that the attitude of the player is more important than the name.
“I won’t rule it out,” Savarese said. “It’s a possibility, we’re talking to different players. The important thing is not the name. The important thing is to bring the attitude that someone like Marcos Senna brings. He’s a big name but he’s a bigger person because he’s committed to the program and he’s an unbelievable human being. That’s what we’re looking for.”
DIAZ, JOHNSON, GORSKIE, CHIRISHIAN SIGN NEW CONTRACTS
While the Cosmos would like to field a team full of international superstars someday, they’re currently more than happy with keeping a majority of the players from the 2013 season with the club for next year.
The Cosmos announced on Wednesday that Diomar Diaz, Jemal Johnson, Hunter Gorskie, and Hagop Chirishian had all signed new deals through next season. Per team policy, terms of the contracts were not disclosed.
“Every player needs to grow, the coaching staff needs to grow, we need to keep becoming better,” Savarese told SBI following the ceremony. “From them, we’re looking for them to become a bigger impact on the team. For Diomar to score more goals, for Jemal to now be able to play, these players are going to be important to us and that why we are pushing the guys to be able to keep the group united.”
Diaz finished the season in second-place on the team with five goals scored, finishing one strike behind Marcos Senna, while Chirishian was a spot starter and reserve who played in seven of the team’s 15 matches. Johnson missed nearly the whole season with a serious knee injury, while Gorskie’s rookie season was cut short after just eight games due to a torn ACL.
“I’ve done really well to get back into the position that I’m in right now,” Johnson told SBI. “(I’m) working hard, the staff have helped me an awful lot as well as the players. For me personally, I feel like I’ve achieved quite a lot this season even though in the regular season I wasn’t actually able to play. I’m so thankful and happy that I’m in the position I’m in right now, so I’m really looking forward to next season.”
COSMOS PLAN ON EVENTUALLY HAVING AN ACADEMY AND RESERVE TEAM
The Cosmos haven’t shied away from their “big club” aspirations, but in order to be there, they need to have their own academy and reserve teams. While there’s no current timetable on the formation of these squads, Savarese says that it’s all within the club’s plan.
“It’s definitely part of the plan (to have a reserve team),” Savarese said. “When we say we need to grow as a club, that’s a part of being a big club. We’re going to have an academy, we’re going to have a reserve team. When that will come, it will be announced at it’s own time.”
- Savarese revealed that he plans on exploring some changes with the team’s tactics and formation for next season, but played down the likelihood of anything drastic.
- New York State Senator Jack Martins said at the ceremony that the current stadium proposal is still stuck in the RFP (request for proposal) process, calling on those who are reviewing the RFP to make a decision.
- Forward Satoru Kashiwase is set to return to Japan in the next week or two as his loan deal from Shimizu S-Pulse will end when their season finishes. Shimizu has their final match of the season on Saturday.
What do you think of these notes? Do you see the Cosmos signing another big-name player this offseason? Glad that Diaz is returning for next season? Where do you think the Cosmos need to improve for next season?
Share your thoughts below.