Cosmos Initiate Return to Training Protocol

Club administers tests as Phase I begins
Published Jun 21, 2020

This week, the New York Cosmos completed Phase I of the club’s Return to Training Protocol in preparation for the 2020 National Independent Soccer Association season, which is slated to begin on August 8th. Phase I included a team review of the protocols and phases required to get back on the field as well as testing for COVID-19 and the relating antibodies. Testing was conducted by Nassau University Medical Center with results expected by Sunday. With good results, the club hopes to start small group training this week.

"Most importantly, we're moving forward, we're moving in the right direction," Cosmos head coach Carlos Mendes said. "Plans have changed for everyone. The most important thing is that we're very, very excited. We're grateful to have this opportunity that we're continuing forward now and doing what we love most. I think everyone is really looking forward to it."

The Cosmos will also test players randomly throughout the various phases of the return to training protocol with players being tested on average of every other week.

Team captain Danny Szetela expressed excitement about the beginning of the protocol steps: "It's good to just to be able to get out onto the field, good for the players to come in and start getting back into the rhythm. Hopefully, after that first week, things go well, and we can start training with more guys the second week."

"It's a positive sign," Szetela added. "Obviously, testing is the first thing that has to be done. Hopefully, everyone gets cleared and we can start this week."

The club’s return to training protocol has four phases with the last being full sided training. Chief Operating Officer, Erik Stover said, “the steps through the process are critical. We need to keep everyone safe and healthy and we all have to demonstrate a respect and adherence to the rules so we can be ready for matches by the end of July.”

With all of the precautions and attention to detail needed to return to full training, Szetela realizes that, as team captain, he has a paramount role in communicating all the protocols to his teammates – but acknowledged that all members of the Cosmos will need to step up as well.

"We have to make sure we follow the guidelines we are given," he said. "As a team this is not about trying to help the team improve. This is about everyone's health. Everyone has to take this seriously and everyone basically has to be the captain of their group of players that they will be with and make sure that guidelines are followed, and we don't have any mistakes these upcoming weeks."

The Cosmos are scheduled to make their National Independent Soccer Association debut this August, playing a home and away game against all Eastern Conference opponents. Following the completion of these home and away matches, all NISA clubs will compete in a seeded tournament at a neutral location in October to determine a 2020 fall season champion.