Bledi Bardic scored 12 goals for Cosmos B in the regular season and playoffs. (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
NEW YORK — It looks like they’re getting the old band back together. Well, at least some of the most important pieces.
First, the Cosmos signed captain and veteran midfielder Danny Szetela last week.
Then, on Wednesday they announced they were bringing back Carlos Mendes to coach the team for a second year.
And on Thursday, the Cosmos today that forward Bledi Bardic will return to the team for 2019, which includes the NPSL Founders Cup and National Premier Soccer League season.
A three-year veteran of the club, Bardic established himself as one of the NPSL’s premier strikers last year, playing vital role in Cosmos B’s unbeaten 10-0-0 regular season. He scored 10 goals while the team captured the 2018 North Atlantic Conference title.
Bardic, who turns 26 on Jan. 10, became the second player to sign with the club, following in the footsteps of captain and midfielder Danny Szetela last month.
“I’m very excited to be back with New York Cosmos,” Bardic said. “I’m very motivated to be back and start the preseason right, work hard every single day so we go 100 percent ready in NPSL regular season and then in the Founders Cup. “I’m looking forward to play in front of our fans and do our best to try to win trophies.”
The 6-1, 175-lb. Bardic’s signing comes on the heels of Wednesday’s announcement of Mendes’ signing.
“I’m looking forward to work with Carlos again,” Bardic said. “He did great and won coach of the year. He knows the club very well and without a doubt the club is in good hands. Can’t wait to with him again.”
In 2017, Bardic split time between Cosmos B (four goals in five appearances) and the Cosmos (two goals in 10 games) before his breakout season last year. To keep in shape for the new season, Bardic played with Cedar Stars Academy in the Cosmopolitan Soccer League last fall, tying for the First Division goal-scoring lead with 16.
“Bledi worked his way up from Cosmos B to the first team in the NASL and has been very loyal to the organization,” Cosmos Senior Vice President Joe Barone said. “He brings in a work ethic which is at the highest level every single day. It’s proof on the field on why he is a proven goal-scorer. It’s important to have a player like Bledi on the New York Cosmos. He has been patient with the organization and players like that need to be rewarded.”
Bardic tallied twice in Cosmos B’s first playoff game, a 4-2 North Atlantic Conference win over the defending champion Elm City Express. That victory came at a great cost as Bardic suffered a hamstring injury that sidelined the prolific forward for the rest of the postseason.
“I’m confident that if Bledi hadn’t been injured last year that we would have probably reached the final,” Barone said. “Had he been on the field, we would have finished those games off.”