Former Uruguayan international captain and Cosmos defender Juan Masnik, has passed away.

Masnik was 77.

His death was reported by

Masnik represented Uruguay at the 1974 World Cup in Germany. He played in three games for the South American side, starting one as the Uruguayans finished last in its group with a 0-2-1 mark. Masnik made 26 appearances for Uruguay from 1967-74.

A former member of the New York Skyliners of the United Soccer Association in the United States in 1967, Masink joined the Cosmos and played in five matches for the North American Soccer League side in 1975. That was the year Pele joined the Cosmos.

Masnik was signed by the Cosmos Jan. 26, 1975.

“This is maybe the most significant signing the NASL has made,” Toye told Alex Yannis of the New York Times. “With him in the heart of our defense, we feel we’ll be able to lock up the backfield and go chasing goals.”

That “most signficant signing” was before Pele agreed to terms several months later.

Masnik played in six games for the Cosmos that season after a right knee injury sidelined him until late in the the season.

After retiring as a player from Universidad Catolica (Chile) in 1978, Masnik embarked on a 16-year career as a coach, mostly in El Salvador.

He coached Club Nacional de Football, C.D. Luis Angel Firpo, C.D. FAS, Atletico Marte and Alianza F.C.

More details coming.

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