Chris Wingert: “They [Cosmos B] understand where I’m at with trying to pursue what’s next in my career. This will allow me to continue to do that.” (Photo courtesy of MLS)
By Michael Lewis
Chris Wingert says playing for Cosmos B is “a perfect scenario” for where his life is at the moment.
Wingert, who announced his retirement from Real Salt Lake Feb. 19, said he wanted to return to Long Island and catch up with his family as he prepares for the next step of his career.
Speaking at a post-game press conference Saturday night, the Babylon, N.Y. native said he received a call from his long-time good friend, newly named Cosmos B head coach Carlos Mendes, about playing for the National Premier Soccer League side.
“He called me a couple of weeks ago and asked me if I’d be interested,” Wingert said. “I said absolutely.”
The veteran defender said he and Mendes would get friends who played professional soccer together for preseason training the last 10-15 years.
The Cosmos B announced Thursday that the former St. John’s University standout and 2003 MAC Hermann Trophy winner had signed with the club.
The 35-year-old Wingert, who was honored for his 10-year career with RSL prior to the club’s 1-0 victory over the Red Bulls at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah Saturday night, said playing in New York was the right place at the right time.
“It makes sense right now for where I am right now in my life,” Wingert said. “The NPSL schedule is not a long one. It’s a few months long. They understand where I’m at with trying to pursue what’s next in my career. This will allow me to continue to do that.”
Wingert said the Cosmos was a “a club that has so much history.”
The Cosmos B’s 10-game season will allow Wingert to “stay in shape and playing some games, which is always a fun part. It’s kind of a perfect scenario of where I’m at right now.”
Wingert did not get specific as to what his plans were.
“There are a couple of potential opportunities,” he said. “I’m excited about the possibilities.
“Right now, my priority is to be in New York and make up for lost time with my family there.”
The one-time St. John the Baptist star said since turning pro with the Columbus Crew in 2004, that he “was willing to follow the job, wherever it took me.” He also played with the Colorado Rapids and New York City FC.
“At this point, I would like to have a little bit more say on my job and where I live,” he continued.
The Cosmos B will kick off its season at Boston City FC Saturday, May 5 at 7 p.m. The team will host the Brooklyn Italians in its home opener at a site to be determined Tuesday, May 15.
The Cosmos are not playing this year because the North American Soccer League is taking a hiatus.