Carlos Mendes: “Ultimately, I’ll make the decision, but that’s very, very important. I’m lucky. I have a very good staff.” (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)

By Michael Lewis Editor

NEW YORK — Carlos Mendes and Sacir Hot share the same philosophy of getting second, third and even fourth opinions on their ideas and strategy, although the opposing head coaches in the Northeast Region final might use different paths to get there.

What it comes down to is having the right people and lieutenants to listen to and bounce ideas off.

Hot, who directs the fortunes of FC Motown, likes to bounce some ideas off of a key player and even a team owner of his National Premier Soccer League team.

Mendes, who pulls the string for Cosmos B, takes a more traditional approach, taking to his assistant coaches.

As a first-year coach, Mendes has learned to have and listen to his lieutenants to get different opinions on training, naming a Starting XI or the 18 players for a game and substitutions. His top assistant is Luis Guitierrez, the strength and conditioning coach, Steve Diaz is the goalkeeper coach and Gianluca Masucci is an assistant coach.

“That’s crucial,” he said. “We have a very open relationship with the staff in the sense of communicating. I’ll ask Luis, Steven and Gianluca what they think and how they see it. You need to hear different opinions and come together. Ultimately, I’ll make the decision, but that’s very, very important. I’m lucky. I have a very good staff.”

Hot, on the other hand, will consult with For Motown president Oliver Papraniku and even midfield standout Dilly Duka.

“We’re going to come up with a game plan myself and the owners and I’ll speak a little bit with my players and we’ll see the best the best way to neturalize their strengths,” he said of the Cosmos.

Talking to a team owner about strategy? Now, that’s a rarity.

“I’m a guy who likes to hear a lot of opinions,” Hot said. “I don’t think it’s my way or the highway. I never liked that in just pure management, in any kind of management. I always like to hear as many opinions as I can hear from trusted people and ultimately, I’ll make the decision. If I come with something, I like to run it by people that I trust. If they agree and they’re all for it, it only helps my decisions.

“Dilly and I speak the most and then it goes down the ladder. It’s not just in soccer, it’s always in anything in work. I don’t think you can succeed if its just my way or the highway.”

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at