Cosmos Players, Staff Tell What They Love About The Beautiful Game

For Valentine's Day, one love that is always near is for the sport of the game for players and coaching staff
Feb 14, 2019
Today is when everyone's thoughts turn to love.
 
And that includes the New York Cosmos. Besides their significant other, families, and friends, Cosmos players and coaches also have another passion in life -- soccer.
 
So, on this Valentine's Day, the Cosmos explain why they love the beautiful game.
 
Head coach Carlos Mendes will get the first and last words:
 
Carlos Mendes, head coach
 
That's a loaded question right there. Like all of us that are involved in the game, the most basic, honest, and simple answer is from the day I started playing, it was fun to me. I fell in love with the game because it was fun. But I think on a deeper level, the game teaches us a lot of life lessons, a lot of values about respect, about commitment, about teamwork, about these things that we learn that helps us grow as a person off the field. So, I think it's very important because the game is simply fun.
 
Danny Szetela, midfielder, captain
 
I guess you can say soccer was my first love. Obviously coming from Europe, I only played soccer growing up. I fell in love with it. There was a time where whenever I played soccer my mind was just free and you're doing what you love. I can't say much more. You just love it. Sometimes you can't really explain it. You fell in love with the game, with the ball. Ever since I was little, I had a ball and I fell in love with it. It's unexplainable when you're on the field and playing and all your worries are not there, and you're focused on the game.
 
For any professional player in any sport, it’s a lot of commitment that you have to put in. It's hard work. At the end of the day, you're always hoping to win a championship. And that's the highest of highs when you can win a championship. So now this year we're going to play in the NPSL and the Founders Cup. I've been playing for a long time and I haven't lost any love for the sport. When I finish playing professionally I want to continue to work with the sport. I love it and I think this is where I belong, the sport of soccer.
 
Bledi Bardic, forward
 
I've loved soccer since I was a kid. Since the first time I kicked the ball I fell in love with the game and the love grew over the years. Now soccer is everything. It’s part of my life and I've been fortunate to play professionally a game that I love very much. Soccer isn’t just a sport. It is much more than that. It’s a lifestyle
 
Luis Gutierrez, assistant coach
 
I've played soccer for a club and a team since I was eight and kicking the ball from maybe four. So, soccer has been in my life from the very beginning. Probably what I miss the most right now is the locker room, everything that happens in the locker room before the game, before practice with all the players, with teammates. Soccer is a big part of your life and the locker room is something that you socialize in around the game. When you're a player, it's what means the most.
 
Jochen Graf, forward
 
I've always been a people person and I've always been someone that has been obsessed with sports. seeing from an early age what soccer can do for people, people that enjoy it, watching it, playing it, the impact that it makes when a coach connects with his team or with certain players. I think I was always drawn to that. The feeling of scoring. It's crazy to me even now as a 29-year-old, I am out on the field every day, practicing scoring from every which way that you can imagine. I just love the feeling. It's an addiction with the ball hitting the back of the net. And the reaction of the crowd and your teammates, it's something that you don't get anywhere else. I really think I love the game, I love everything that goes into it. If I had to pick my Valentine, it would definitely be scoring goals -- second to my fiancé.
 
Aaron Dennis, forward
 
I played a handful of sports, but I always got the most joy from soccer, scoring goals, being on the field, being able to celebrate. I think that feeling was unmatched than any other sport.
 
We wake up and get to do something you love for two hours, not many people have that luxury. I have been playing for 20-plus years. To be able to still play at this age, I can't ask for anything else.
 
Carlos Mendes, head coach
 
Soccer is the one sport you go out 90 minutes on the field or let's say 45-45. You have to work out there with your teammates and grind out situations without any stoppages. You're getting coached on the sidelines, but you have to make decisions in a split second with all the people around you and that's what I love so much about the game. It's a game that you have to think and make decisions and work with the guys around you. And when you do win and you're successful, it's the best feeling.
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