Carlos Mendes guided Cosmos B to a 12-1-1 mark in his first season as head coach. (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

For a rookie head coach, Carlos Mendes experienced a pretty damn good year.

He directed Cosmos B to a 12-1-1 record, winning the North Atlantic Conference regular-season and playoff titles and the … while reaching the Northeast Region final.

The team did not reach its ultimate goal, but the former professional player was recognized by the teams, media and supporters as the National Premier Soccer League coach of the year, it was announced Wednesday afternoon.

“I am very honored to win this award,” Mendes said. “First of all, I would like to thank [Cosmos owner] Rocco Commisso for giving me this tremendous opportunity. I’d also like to thank our amazing coaching staff and all the players who worked so hard throughout the season. This was a complete group effort and a pleasure to be a part of. Last but not least, thank you to the supporters of this wonderful club.”

After retiring after five seasons as Cosmos captain last year, the Mineola, N.Y. native took over the coaching reigns of the club’s NPSL side, although he had no formal coaching experience.

“Carlos did a fantastic job and he has a bright future with his coaching career,” Cosmos Chief Operating Officer Erik Stover said. “He’s a club legend and has proven to be exceptional on the field and in the coach’s box.”

Mendes enjoyed a 16-year professional soccer career that included stops at the Long Island Rough Riders, Rochester Rhinos, New York/New Jersey MetroStars, Red Bulls, Columbus Crew SC and most recently the Cosmos. In fact, he made the first player to sign with the second incarnation of the Cosmos in 2012.

With the former Old Dominion University standout as skipper, the Cosmos captured three North American Soccer League titles (2013, 2015, 2016) during his five-year tenure with the team. The Cosmos reached the league semifinals in 2014 and lost in the 2017 Soccer Bowl to the San Francisco Deltas. He was the first Cosmos player to reach 100 games in the modern era.

“Carlos did a fantastic job and he has a bright future with his coaching career,” Cosmos Chief Operating Officer Erik Stover said. “He’s a club legend and has proven to be exceptional on the field and in the coach’s box.”