Charlie Ledula: “It gave me that burning desire to come back even better. Everything happens for a reason. I’m just happy to be back.” (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
As he stood at the halfway line waiting to enter the game in the 76th minute against the Michigan Stars on Saturday night, Charlie Ledula admitted he was one excited soccer player.
After two months of waiting and rehabbing from a knee sprain and missing 10 games over the National Premier Soccer League and NPSL Members Cup seasons, the Cosmos midfielder-forward finally got an opportunity to play again.
The former LIU Post standout replaced David Diosa and trotted onto the Mitchel Athletic Complex pitch.
“It was a really, really, really an exciting moment for me because I missed two months,” Ledula said. “It was very frustrating because there were moments where I felt I was exceling, getting back to fitness. Then there were setbacks and comebacks and setbacks again. So, I had to soak it all in. It was really good experience as well.”
Ledula, who forged a reputation of coming off the bench and causing havoc while either setting up or scoring goals during the NPSL season, did not score.
It’s one thing to train and play in scrimmages in practice, it’s another to strut your stuff in an actual game.
“I definitely got butterflies, 100 percent,” Ledula said. “It was a mixture of being nervous and being excited at the same time. There is a difference between being on the practice field and actually producing on the field. I took it as when I came on, just do the simple things and enjoy it, first and foremost, as well. It was a really good feeling.”
The 27-year-old Ledula sprained his knee prior to an NPSL game in July.
“It’s funny. It’s a weird situation,” he said. “I remember just stretching and I felt a little crack on my knee. I said, ‘Oh what’s going on here?’ I just woke up in the morning and I couldn’t walk because my knee started to swell up and everything.
“I was trying to do the right thing and stretch, and I turned my knee in an awkward way. … Having to watch a team and not being able to assist them with your ability is pretty much very frustrating.”
The always enthusiastic Ledula took the positives out of his long comeback.
“It gave me that burning desire to come back even better,” he said “Everything happens for a reason. I’m just happy to be back.”
Ledula hopes to be in the 18 when the first-place Cosmos (4-0-1, 13 points) play at Detroit City FC (3-0-0, 9) in an encounter that could go a long way in deciding the league championship in the 10-game season.
“The main goal is to get the three points,” he said. “I just think that if we stick to our guns and obviously and play our game, I think we’ll be OK. But that game is very, very important for us, top of the list for us, 100 percent. So, we just need to go out there, enjoy it, enjoy that moment, embrace that moment and get that win and bring the three points back home.”