Armando Guernera, Jr. (szecond from the right): “It was an honor. The feeling was indescribable.” (Photo courtesy of the Guernera family)

Cosmos defender Armando Guarnera, Jr. recently had his No. 21 retired by Tottenville High School.

He was the first Tottenville soccer player to have his number retired.

“It was an honor,” Guarnera said. “The feeling was indescribable. To be the first soccer player from my school is a great feeling, especially to have my No. 21 Jersey hung alongside NFL, NBA and MLB players forever.”

Guarnera was always a big-time player with Tottenville, playing for three seasons.

“He’s a quality kid that was a three-year starter and a great player for me and he’s had a tremendous five years since graduating from Tottenville,” Tottenville boys soccer coach Ron Nathanson told the Staten Island Advance. “He’s the first one to play pro soccer from our program and we wanted to acknowledge what he’s done by honoring him this way.”

With center backs such at Emmanuele Sembroni, Matt Lewis and Garrett Halfhill on the team, Guarnera did not get as much playing time as he perhaps wanted with the Cosmos during the 2019 National Premier Soccer League and NPSL Members Cup seasons, but he looked upon that as a learning experience.

“It was a season of learning for me,” he said. “I definitely learned a lot from the coaches and players especially being a young defender. With anything you do in life there is always room for improvement.”

Guarnera, 22, hasn’t yet signed with a team for the 2020 season.

“My plans for this upcoming season is to find the best option for me as a player,” he said, adding that Cosmos head coach Carlos Mendes has reached out to him about preseason practices.

“I will weigh my options with other teams,” he added.

The 6-2, 175-lb. Guarnera, who has dual U.S. and Italian citizenship, graduated from Tottenville in 2015. He went on to play for Avellino reserve team in Italy’s Serie B right out of high school. He also has performed with Chesterfield FC (England, League 1 in 2016), Red Bull II (USL Championship in 2016) and Cosmos B (NPSL in 2017-18).