A native of Mineola, Long Island, with almost a decade of MLS experience, Carlos Mendes ranks second on the RBNY franchise’s all-time games played list. Carlos and his new boss Gio Savarese at New York Cosmos sat down to chat with First Touch soon after the announcement was made.
FT: You’ve made a bit of history as the first signing of the revived NY Cosmos team, and you’ll be following in the footsteps of the originals such as Pele, Beckenbauer and co. Is that a daunting prospect for you?
Carlos Mendes: Yes, it’s a bit scary, it really is. It’s very humbling and it’s such a huge honor to be able to play for this team and hopefully move forward and win some championships. Of course there is a great history with all the cups they’ve won in the past, so to be part of it now, I’m very excited.
FT: Who convinced you to sign for the Cosmos?
Carlos Mendes: There were a lot of things of course, being a local guy, growing up on Long Island and having the opportunity to come back home. There is a respect I have for Gio and for Erik (Stover) and that was a huge part of it also. It all just seemed to fit, having that opportunity to come home and play for a club like the Cosmos was just too good to pass.
FT: Being local, you obviously know Gio, and you both share a history with Red Bulls/Metrostars and the local soccer scene. Are you excited about playing for him as your coach?
Carlos Mendes: Like I said, I have so much respect for Gio. I grew up watching him play and he’s obviously a great player and a very purposeful guy. He was a huge part of my decision and one of the reasons why I’m here.
FT When do you anticipate that the club will have signed enough players for you to start training as a team?
Gio Savarese: We are in the process of continuing to sign new players. We are actively looking around for new players. Our main goal is that by around the end of May or June we have a full squad to start the season. So the club will continue to sign new players from now until then.
FT: Carlos, What are you doing to keep yourself in training between now and then?
Gio Savarese: I can answer that question! We are looking to make sure that he stays in shape. We are looking at possibilities for him to continue playing at the highest level for continuity. So when he comes back to us he will be in the best shape that he can be.
FT: Carlos, you’ve always worn number 4. Is there a particular significance about that number for you?
There are four of us in my family, one brother and two sisters, and it was the first number I got when I signed with MLS so I’ve always tried to keep that number. And I’ve known who has worn that number for this club (Captain Werner Roth) and that’s why it’s such a humbling experience and hopefully I can live up to some of that and help this club in the future.