Matt Lewis played an important role in the middle of the Cosmos defense last year. (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)

The Cosmos announced Thursday they had signed defender Matt Lewis and midfielder Sal Barone for the National Independent Soccer Association season.

Lewis and Barone will be loaned to Detroit City FC for the NISA spring season pending final approval from NISA and USSF. The Cosmos will make their NISA debut in the fall campaign, which starts in August.

“I’m really excited about it,” Lewis said. “Obviously, it kind of shows some trust in me from Carlos [Mendes, head coach] and Erik [Stover, acting Chief Operating Officer] and the staff there. Super excited about being on board and playing for Carlos again. He’s a guy that I want to get up and play for. Just really excited to get going.”

Lewis, 23, was one of the standout performers during the 2019 National Premier Soccer League and NPSL Members Cup seasons. On many occasions he teamed with Emmanuele Sembroni to form a formidable pairing in central defense.

“Matt is a solid central defender and he had a great year last year,” Mendes said. “Building the team through the spine is important and we know we have two formidable center backs with Lewis and Sembroni.”

Barone returns for his third season with the Cosmos. “Sal is a guy that I know I can rely on,” Mendes said. “He gives us some versatility in the midfield and he knows how we want to play.”

Mendes said that, “loaning Matt and Sal to Detroit will keep them fit and sharp over the next four months. Trevor is a good coach, so we know they will come back to us ready to play.”

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at