Cosmos, 5 Points Members Kick Off Season With Fan Event

Cosmos players and staff met with supporters on Friday night at Astoria Tavern
Mar 11, 2019

It was only the beginning of March but some familiar sounds and chants emanated out of Astoria Tavern on Friday night.
"Come on, our boys in green!"
New York Cosmos supporters have either sang or heard those words and music at a stadium since 2013 but on this night, the 5 Points greeted their heroes, some new, some old, even though the team's first match was nearly two months away.

"It's important for us to have a chance to interact with the club," said 5 Points member Patrick Infurna.  "I'm having a blast. Any time 5 Points gets together, playing the music, playing the drums, it's the best time."
No one argued with Infurna.
Cosmos Senior Vice President Joe Barone thanked the fans who attended the event. 
"From the whole New York Cosmos family, I would like to thank everyone for being here tonight," Barone said, addressing the crowd. "And more importantly, for always being there and always believing in this club. It's your club and it's called the New York Cosmos."
Barone also had a message from the team's owner as well.
"On behalf of Rocco Commisso and the whole Mediacom, Rocco sends his love to every single one of you for supporting the New York Cosmos," he said. "First and foremost, he's thankful that everyone continues to believe in the project and more importantly, in the colors and the badge that we all love, and the players and coaching staff that the players are going to represent."
Barone added: "We need your support. We need everyone here to grow the fan base. And the players, more importantly, will put their skin on the line. They're the ones who feel your passion."
When head coach Carlos Mendes was introduced to the crowd, a fan shouted, "Day One! Day One!" referring to the fact that the Mineola, N.Y. native was the first player to sign with the Cosmos after their reboot, in 2012.
Then some fans switched their focus to the near future.
"Win the championship," they yelled in unison.
The Cosmos will have an opportunity to win not one, not two, but three titles this year -- as in the NPSL Championship (from April through July), the NPSL Founders Cup (from August through November) title and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup (starts May 8) crown.
"We expect a championship," said Mendes, who earned three North American Soccer League titles during his tenure as Cosmos captain from 2013-17. "We fell short last year, so we want to be able to win the championship. It's a demanding schedule."
Like Barone, Mendes praised the supporters who showed up.
"Tonight, the most important thing is about you guys, the support from the fans from Day One and about the players behind me," he said.
Those players included new defenders Kevin Venegas and Matt Lewis, center back Garrett Halfhill, a member of last year's division-winning side, the versatile David Diosa and newcomer forward Jochen Graf.
"I'm very, very lucky," Mendes said. "I was lucky enough to represent the club as a player and now as a head coach. I'm very lucky to have an amazing staff."
He meant assistant coaches Luis Gutierrez and Steven Diaz and team administrator Janine Guarriello.
"Everybody has put in a lot of time and has made the transition easy for me,” Mendes said. “We have the hardest working man in America -- Joe [Barone]. He's on the phone 26 hours a day and doing a lot for this club."
Barone then had the 5 Points drum start up again as the members began their well-known chants.
"Let the players feel the passion," Barone said.
They certainly did.
Lewis, a standout from Fordham University that made its memorable 2017 run to the NCAA Division I men's quarterfinals, walked away impressed, calling it "fantastic."
"Real encouraging," he said before he and his teammates went to dinner. "When I signed with the Cosmos I knew there was a big history there and a big fan base. So, to see it first hand was real cool.
"I'm super-excited about going to get some games in when these guys are out in the stands, given that kind of passion. Some real nice people in there, a good community of people. I love this area. I just can't say how excited I am to get going."
The Cosmos' NPSL season kicks off on Saturday, April 27 when they host New York Athletic Club at Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale, N.Y.
"It can't come soon enough," Infurna said. "No one should have to have an offseason this long. We've bared with it. Once that home game comes, we're all going to be there. It's going to be a good time.
"We're super-excited about the level of the players, their signings. We're super-excited about having Carlos Mendes as the manager again. In a way, it's not totally back to normal, but it’s getting there. That's important to us."

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