Chris Wingert is pursuing another challenge outside of his soccer playing career. (Photo courtesy of MLS)

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Veteran defender Chris Wingert won’t be playing with Cosmos B for the rest of the year.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise. Wingert hasn’t been with the National Premier Soccer League team since late May as the Babylon, N.Y. native has been pursuing a non-playing career in soccer.

“I think at this point we know he’s not going to be available, just the fact that he hasn’t been around,” Mendes said at the Mitchel Athletic Complex Tuesday. “So, now in these moments of the playoffs and these tight games and the group that’s in and training every day, it’s going to be the group we go with.”

Mendes said he respected Wingert’s desires and that he “realizes there’s a lot of things going on with Chris. At this point he hasn’t been fulltime with the team.”

Wingert retired from Real Salt Lake Feb. 19 after a 14-year career in Major League Soccer. He decided to play for Cosmos B as a bridge between his playing career and his next challenge.

In an April 19 interview with FrontRowSoccer.com, the 35-year-old Wingert said he had a couple of options on the table, including becoming a player agent or a technical director of an MLS club.

“It’s going to take a little while for both of those things to pan out for different reasons,” he said at the time. “Another reason why this is perfect because of the timing. I’ll play for a few months and hopefully let one of, if not a couple of these options play out and we’ll see if they’re actually job offers.

“I’d look forward to either one of those sides of professional soccer.”

Wingert has been a commentator on some New York City FC TV broadcasts recently. He played with the team in 2015.

Longtime friends with Wingert, Mendes said that he has been in touch with the former St. John’s University standout.

“He has a lot going on,” he said. I’m always in contact. I’ve had a long relationship with Chris. I know him well. We’re always in touch.

“He’s always watching, texting guys, calling the group. He’s involved in that way. But obviously hasn’t been physically at training.”

Wingert could not be reached for comment.

Cosmos B host FC Frederick in a Northeast Region semifinal at Hofstra Soccer Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y. Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.