Danny Szetela: “I think that professional leagues we have right now is that they just close their doors and look for guys, look for names, guys that are coming out of college who are the top guys. They don’t look at the lower divisions of all these players who have the potential to become big stars int his country.” (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
By Michael Lewis
There’s some gold to be found in them thar teams in amateur soccer, says Danny Szetela.
Well, not the actual precious metal but diamonds in the rough who could play at some level of professional soccer.
Szetela, who is playing in two local leagues this fall — the Cosmopolitan Soccer League and the Garden State Soccer League — felt there are many players who could play for pay on a regular basis.
When asked about his experience with Cedar Stars in the CSL, the former Cosmos midfielder replied, “Cedar Stars is great. They have a lot of young players who I think can make it to the next level, a lot of talent. The style of play the Cedar Stars play is the style of the New York Cosmos. I almost feel like I’m at home, green jerseys, a different shade of green, but I still feel like I’m still playing for the Cosmos.”
Cedar Stars has several current and former professional players, including former Red Bulls and Columbus Crew SC midfielder Dilly Duka, and one-time Cosmos defender Jimmy Mulligan, who signed with the club last week.
“The team definitely has so much talent from amateur kids from young to semi pro and professional players who are playing there,” said Szetela, who added that “80 percent of these kids can be playing professional soccer and the other 20 percent are young guys who have the talent to get to the next level.
“It’s fun for me to be able to be playing in a league that is actually a very good level. The games are always difficult because teams come out and work hard and are very physical. This team, Cedar Stars, has the capability of producing a very good players in the future, and even the guys we have right now are players who can take the next step to the pros.”
And it’s not just the Cedar Stars. There are other players and teams around the league that has impressed the Clifton, N.J. native.
“The quality is very good,” he said. “A lot of these teams have guys who are ex-pros that played in Ireland in England or South America. All these guys are very good. At times games are hard. It depends who you are playing against. You have your teams that are very physical and strong and big. So we have to pick up our level of being more physical because they’re going to come at us. Honestly, I think the league is very good for an amateur league. It’s amazing.”
Szetela also had similar sentiments about the GSSL, where he plays for Wellington Polonia. He usually performs for Polonia on Saturdays and for Cedar Stars Sunday.
“There’s teams and players there that deserve the opportunity to go to the next step,” he said. “I think that professional leagues we have right now is that they just close their doors and look for guys, look for names, guys that are coming out of college who are the top guys. They don’t look at the lower divisions of all these players who have the potential to become big stars int his country.”