Garrett Halfhill Growing In Strides With Cosmos B

The center back is getting key experience with the side
Published Jun 15, 2018
A few years ago, Garrett Halfhill decided to step away from the game to focus on his life and recharge his soccer batteries.
As it turns out, it turned out to be a fortuitous decision for two parties.
Halfhil returned to playing, anchoring the Cosmos B back line as the North Atlantic Conference Division leaders (6-0-0, 18 points) as it prepares for its National Premier Soccer League match at the Seacoast United Mariners (0-4-1, 1) Saturday at 3 p.m.
After a successful four-year career at Xavier University, Halfhill wanted to focus on finishing his business degree and a take break from the game he loves so much.
"Once I was done, a lot of times you go through periods that you might feel a little burned out," he said. "I felt a little burned out at the time, so I worked. It was great.
"Honestly, it was probably the hardest decision I ever made. I was OK with it at the time."
Halfhill worked at a payroll and human resources company from 2015-17.
"I got great work experience but at the same time, that's when it really hit me," he said. "What I am doing? I'm young. I can definitely still play and attack this."
He returned to playing with FC Cincinnati (United Soccer League) last year.
"I was extremely grateful with the company I was working with," Halfhill said. "My colleagues they were extremely supportive when I decided to make the transition back. It was difficult. As an athlete, you're always going to be competitive. When you're young, you look at it and you don’t want to look back later on in life that you didn't take an opportunity when it was there. So, it was something I felt I had to do. I still had gas in the tank. So, I had to go after it."
After making two appearances with FC Cincinnati, he was released by the team.
"I was told by the head coach that it was going to be tough to find the time I needed to grow as a young player and just get experience," Halfhill said.
As it turned out, former Cosmos assistant sporting director Luke Sassano was the FC Cincinnati technical director and made some calls to his old team.
"I would never turn down an opportunity with the New York Cosmos," Halfhill said. "I saw it as a great club that I could learn from some older players, a coach with a lot of experience, and just a team with a lot of connections going forward."
No doubt Cosmos B head coach Carlos Mendes was glad the team signed the 24-year-old Halfhill.
"The first thing immediately that jumped at me was his mentality and attitude," he said. "Hard worker, fit in easily with the group. And then a player who can play different positions, play defensive mid, play center back. He's done an excellent job for us at center back. He's a kid who wants to learn. He's matured already in the period he has been with us, been tremendous for us."
Mendes has been impressed with Halfhill's tactical awareness.
"He reads the game well," he said. "He'll run. He's simple, He's good on the ball. A good player is someone who reads the game well, who plays simple, and knows his role. Garrett does all that well. He has been great."
The 6-2, 185-lb. Halfhill's teachers have included veterans Jonathan Borrajo, Danny Szetela, and Chris Wingert and Mendes, who played at center back for most of his playing career.
"There are a lot of professionals on this team," he said. "There are a lot of young players as well that are in the same position as me. Everyone is striving to get better. Having older influences that have been around the block that can teach you a lot has been really helpful."
As a defender, Halfhill and his line mates must have some tough skin. You don't get the glory of a goalscorer. You can play a perfect game for 89 minutes, make a mistake, even a minor one that leads to the winning goal, and you get the blame.
But there is a reward, if everything falls together correctly -- a shutout.
"It's huge," Halfhill said. "For us, that is scoring a goal. It's been frustrating at times because the last couple of weeks we have switched off for a few minutes in a game and it has hurt us. As a defender, you leave a game with a clean sheet, the job is done. You're a unit as a back four. The goalscorers tend to get a lot of publicity and defenders are typically consistent and just do their jobs.
"I think that's why defenders love defending. When you do have those games, where you avoid those minor mistakes and you end up with a clean sheet or leave the game, it's extremely satisfying. It's the same type of feeling as scoring a goal. You know you did your job that day. You don't need the recognition for it. You just feel good as a unit."