Matt Lewis to Lead the Cosmos in FIFA Tournament

The tournament organized by NISA will kickoff on Friday
Apr 21, 2020

Matt Lewis recently added a unique wrinkle to his preparation and training to his daily regime.

Besides running and kicking a soccer ball around outside his Kansas City home, the New York Cosmos is playing the beautiful game on his Xbox.

"I did play a little with my Xbox because there's not much to do," he said. "Getting my timing, getting my fitness levels up for my FIFA match day."

That’s because Lewis will represent the Cosmos in the NISA FIFA 20 Tournament, which kicks off on Friday, April 24 at 6 p.m. on Twitch. The Cosmos will meet New Amsterdam, which joined the National Independent Soccer Association on Monday in what will be a derby confrontation as the expansion team is expected to play in New York City.

Two members of the Cosmos Academy teams also will participate in the tourney as 12 youngsters are battling for the right to compete with Lewis.

"It's going to be a cool deal for a couple of guys in the Academy to be able to represent the team," Lewis said. "I'm looking forward on seeing who makes it through."

The Cosmos will take on a yet to be determined team. They will play three games, with Lewis and the two Academy players performing one game apiece. The winner will be determined by aggregate goals from those three matches.

The game will last 12 minutes, with six-minute halves.

Lewis will operate the famed Santos team from Brazil, from which the great Pele performed before joining the Cosmos in 1975. In a poll of Cosmos fans on Twitter, Santos garnered 42.6 percent of the vote over Real Madrid, Lazio and Villarreal.

So, Lewis said that he has been practicing "with the santos team as much as you can that kind of understand the players and what they're good at and stuff like that."

"That's going to be the strategy, figuring out what my formation is with them," he added. "Then it's going to come down to hopefully being better than the other player on the day."

Lewis has played FIFA in the past. "I used to be very good," he said.

But he admitted he recently hadn't spent as much time on FIFA 20 as the earlier versions of the game.

"I had to do a crash course getting up to date, up to speed," he said. "I think I'm going to hold my own. I think I usually do okay. I'm confident in myself."

As part of his preparation, Lewis has competed against other players online on Xbox Live. He wanted to "use Santos over and over again against other players. Some of my friends play FIFA 20 and I'll use some of them as preparation tools."

He has reached out to some former Sporting Kansas City teammates for tips and pointers, including Wan Kuzain, who will represent the club in the eMLS competition against Minnesota United this Sunday.

"I'll just bounce some ideas off of him and see what he's been doing and hopefully that will get me sorted out," Lewis said.

Asked what he considered his biggest challenge in the tourney, Lewis replied, "If I’m going to play Detroit, I know there's a couple of guys on that team who are pretty good at FIFA."

The Cosmos loaned Lewis to Detroit City FC for the NISA spring season before that campaign was called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's going to come down to staying cool and calm," he added. "Sometimes you get yourself a little worked up when it's a competitive environment. It's just playing my own game and not getting caught up in what the other guy is doing."

The biggest thing is that Lewis is representing the Cosmos and having some fun.

"It's not necessarily for us," he said. "It's more for fans interact with us and see stuff on [social media] to give them something to talk about. It'll be fun."

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