Carlos Mendes: “Not just do well throughout the season, but hopefully be playing for a championship again, which I think the fans and club deserves.” (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
NEW YORK — Carlos Mendes has signed a contract to coach the Cosmos for a third consecutive season as he will take on the responsibilities as sporting director, the National Independent Soccer Association club announced on Tuesday.
As per club policy, no other details were available.
“I’m excited,” Mendes said. “It’s another opportunity for me to work with a great club, to have an opportunity to be a head coach. I’m excited to be back, grateful to the club and Mr. Commisso for giving me the opportunity again to win something for this year with the club.”
Commisso is Rocco B. Commisso, the Cosmos owner.
“Carlos’s commitment to the organization is tremendous,” said Cosmos Acting Chief Operating Officer, Erik Stover. “Moving back into a fully professional league this Fall Season will require us to rebuild the roster. No one understands this club and this market better than Carlos.”
A Mineola, N.Y. native, Mendes directed the Cosmos to the best overall record in the National Premier Soccer League the past two seasons. The team, however, fell short in the playoffs in its quest to add a ninth league title in the club’s history. The Cosmos also finished second in the NPSL Members Cup in 2019. Under Mendes the Cosmos are 36-3-3.
The Cosmos paln to compete in the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA) as their application will be reviewed by the U.S. Soccer Federation in February. If approved, they must wait until the fall season to compete. That season is expected to start in the summer and run through the fall.
Mendes said he and the Cosmos had some unfinished business.
“It’s going to be a new league, a new challenge, but in terms of wanting to win championship and not just to have a good record overall,” he said. “That’s something the New York Cosmos are all about. That’s the ultimate goal. We’re going to work and try to put together the best team, the best roster we can build. Not just do well throughout the season, but hopefully be playing for a championship again, which I think the fans and club deserves.”
Mendes will begin planning to put together his roster and when he needs to start preseason training.
In his eight years with the Cosmos organization, the 39-year-old Mendes has been a pillar and a leader. He was team captain from 2013-2017, as New York captured North American Soccer League championships in 2013, 2015 and 2016 before taking over the coaching reins two years ago. In 122 appearances for the Cosmos, Mendes recorded four goals and two assists, while becoming the first member of the modern era club to reach 100 games played (2016). He was named in the NASL Best XI three times.
The Cosmos could only play in the NASL fall season in 2013, giving Mendes a unique understanding on how to prepare for a half a season. The Cosmos won the fall season, qualified for Soccer Bowl and defeated the host Atlanta Silverbacks in the final, 1-0.
“The challenge of coming into a new league, teams will be in full swing,” he said. “They’ll have made adjustments. They will be together for an extended, longer period than we will be. That’s something that you have to deal with and be ready for. I think the most important thing is that you prepare properly from game one, that we’ll be entering the league and playing our first match. You have to be ready to go and have guys physically ready and also mentally.
“Experiencing and playing that first season with the club, it’s a quick season. So, all the points matter, all the games matter. Mentally you really have to be sharp and ready to compete from the start. I think that’s going to be the same challenge this year.”