Danny Szetela: “You’ve got to hold on, you got to keep supporting. You got to trust that the club that you love is going to be in your heart.” (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
By Michael Lewis
With Danny Szetela considering retiring, he was asked if he had a message for Cosmos fans.
Szetela is the only player to have performed for the club since its 2013 reboot. He played for three North American Soccer League championship teams and captained the side the last three years.
“Just keep holding on. They’ve been holding on for the past four years,” he said. “Honestly, I’m a fan now. I’m not going to play anywhere else. I’m a fan. So, you’ve got to hold on, you’ve got to keep supporting. You got to trust that the club that you love is going to be in your heart. You’ve got to believe, just like God tells us opportunities are in front of us. You’ve going to believe and continue growing.
“So, you just got hold on and wait. 2013 was when we started. It was a great time, the NASL. But now, all of the supporters that are still there, that didn’t leave the Cosmos. I know the Five Points [the Cosmos supporters clubs] and I know the supporters that that are still there because I speak with them. Just keep hope.
“Listen, I got no club over here. My club was the MetroStars there and they’re long gone. MLS took over them. So, don’t let MLS take the Cosmos.”
Red Bull purchased the MetroStars from AEG in 2006. Szetela grew up in Clifton, N.J. as a MetroStars fan.
Szetela also backed club owner Rocco B. Commisso’s decision go on hiatus, at least for the National Independent Soccer Association’s spring season. The Cosmos have not announced how long they will go dormant for and whether the team will sit out the fall campaign as well.
“I really believe that the fans will have their club with the Cosmos,” Szetela said. “Rocco will not ever sell the club. I think he just needs a little break to figure out what’s going on in this country because this country is a lot different than everywhere else in the world with football or soccer. I think everyone that’s says ‘Oh, Rocco, sell, sell, sell.’ Listen, gives this guy a minute, man. He’s spending a lot of money every month to fight U.S. Soccer. He gave players [an opportunity] to play in an amateur league [with] professional salaries when he didn’t have to.
“There were times where after he bought the team, we didn’t know if we were going to play or not.”
Commisso decided to pay Cosmos players full salaries after he took over.
“People don’t understand [or] know all the ins and outs, which I understand,” Szetela said. “It’s easy because now there’s internet all over the place. Honestly. Rocco, from when I met him and what I know, I don’t think Rocco is going to give up the team and sell them. He just needs time. And if it takes a year off, that’s fine. If he takes a year off in order to make the club 20 times better next year, why not?”