After a whirlwind three months during which New York played 15 matches, including four in the final 11 days, the team’s championship hopes were dashed by FC Motown as the New Jersey side recorded a 3-2 victory in the Northeast Region final July 21.
Players will go on with their lives, whether it is the quest of finding another team to finish out the year of getting on with their personal life.
Bledi Bardic, the team’s leading goal-scorer whose postseason was cut short by a hamstring injury, will continue his rehab with the hopes of finding another team for which to play for three months. It could be in the United States or overseas.
“It’s something that I still need to think about it,” he said. “It’s something I have to talk about with my family. … Hopefully back [with the Cosmos organization] in 2019.”
There must be to some team — whether it is in the United Soccer League or abroad that needs a goal-scorer. Bardic, a finalist for the NPSL Best XI, scored 12 goals in as many appearances this season.
Bardic said he was not the only Cosmos B player who could play elsewhere, whether it would be giving a USL some depth during the league’s stretch run.
“I think we have a pretty good squad, from the bench, from the younger guys to older guys,” he said. “Everybody on this team can play at least the USL. Some guys can play MLS, but that depends on what the team wants and your agent. But the quality is at least USL for probably everybody in the locker room.”
Head coach Carlos Mendes had no doubts his players could help USL teams.
“Obviously, I think they proved it this year,” he said. “The guys have either played at the USL level before or guys who have gotten an opportunity here and showed that they’ve done well and are capable of playing in USL or higher. We want to get guys as many opportunities as possible. We have a good amount of guys that can play and continue to have a career in professional soccer.”
Forward Zaire Bartley, whose stock rose dramatically during his fabulous playoff run (four goals in four matches), hoped to find a pro team.
“I have to make a few phone calls and see if i can get anywhere,” the 20-year-old Bronx native said. “That’s the main thing, to try to find a team.
“I have nothing yet. But still looking forward and praying that something comes along.”
While no player has shut the door of not playing somewhere else in 2018, many are welcoming at least a short respite.
Midfielder Rafa Garcia, who had been away from his family since April – they visited him for two weeks this summer — will head back home to California. Garcia said that he would “regroup a little, see my family, my wife and my kids. That always puts me in good spirits.”
But let’s say an opportunity did pop up.
“This is something that I have thought about, spoken to my wife and my agent, stuff like that,” he said. “I’m not ruling out any possibilities. I haven’t made up my mind on what I’m doing next. I feel that I have missed out a lot since I’ve been here, since I’ve been out here by myself. Now, I go into full daddy mode.”
Veteran right back Jonathan Borrajo’s offseason plate is quite full. He has started a business called Soccershape and he is getting married in January.
Soccershape is held at the Upper 90 store in Queens Wednesdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 10 a.m.
“It’s a boot camp style class that we run in the city that we started in Miami when I was playing down there,” he said. “That also keeps me pretty occupied as well. Also, we’re looking for an apartment. So, I have so much stuff outside of soccer going on. We’ll just take it a day at a time. Still [need to] get over this right now. Let the body kind of relax a little bit after we’re done training these three days.”
Cosmos B trained from last Tuesday through Thursday at the Mitchel Athletic Complex before players went their separate ways.
And there’s a little injury that needs to be looked at. Borrajo broke his left hand in the middle of the season but continued to play. “So maybe I’ll have to get that taken care of now,” he said.
Mendes has his soccer camps on Long Island that will keep him busy for the rest of the summer, though he did not hide the fact he would love to return to coach Cosmos B or within the organization.
“I would love to be a part of it,” he said. “The club and the history has meant a lot to me. I’ve been here since the beginning.”
The Mineola, N.Y. native captained the Cosmos from when it returned to league competition in 2013 through 2017 before becoming B squad head coach.
“We’ll just have to see what fashion, what happens and what opportunities are available,” he said. “I would like to be, of course, involved in the project.”