Danny Szetela has returned for an eighth season with the Cosmos. (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
UNIONDALE, N.Y. – The Cosmos Monday announced the signing of captain and midfielder Danny Szetela for the 2020 National Independent Soccer Association season.
Per team policy, no further contract details were released.
Szetela, 32, became the first Cosmos player to sign for the new season.
“Even though I thought about retiring, I am not ready to retire,” Szetela said. “I am excited and ready to go. The season doesn’t start until August, but in the meantime, I know there’s a lot of preparation we’ve got to do and that I’m mentally ready when the team comes in, that I am ready to fight. We’ve got to go all out in the fall season to win the championship.”
NISA accepted the Cosmos for its fall season, which is expected to kick off in August. The league began play last year with provisional third division sanctioning from the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF). The Cosmos’ application for sanctioning by USSF is expected to be reviewed in February.
Szetela, who joined the Cosmos for the 2013 North American Soccer League, will begin his eighth season with the club. He played a vital role in three NASL championships (2013, 2015 and 2016).
He said he was “very hungry” to bring another one home to the club and its fans.
“We’re starting in the fall,” he said. “It reminds me of the NASL days, and the same thing can occur. It’s like history happening again.”
In 2013, the Cosmos joined the NASL for the fall season and won the league championship.
Cosmos head coach Carlos Mendes said it was important to bring back an influential player such as Szetela.
“In building a professional roster for NISA, we need to focus on the spine of team with veteran experience and leadership,” he said. “Danny has been with the Cosmos for many years and is our captain. He’s the perfect player for us to build around.”
Cosmos Acting Chief Operating Officer Erik Stover said that while several veterans will be brought back to the club, there will be a number of new faces on the team as well.
“We are going to put a lot of emphasis on signing talented young players with high potential and ambition, similar to Haji Wright and Eric Calvillo,” Stover said about two players who performed with the club as teenagers before moving on. “Danny became a pro at just 16-years-old, so we see him as a great mentor for the young kids that we’ll be bringing in.”