Cosmos Notebook: Signings, Callups, B Team

IMAGE, USA TODAY SPORTS

by JAKE NUTTING

The New York Cosmos fortified their back line on Wednesday with the signing of center back Dejan Jakovic ahead of Saturday’s North American Soccer League Spring Season opener in Puerto Rico.

Jakovic, 31, joins the Cosmos after three years with Shimizu S-Pulse in Japan’s top division, where he made 42 appearances. Before his time in Japan, Jakovic was a regular with Major League Soccer’s DC United from 2009-13. He appeared in more than 100 matches for DC and played a part in the team’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship in his final year with the team.

Although he was born in Yugoslavia, Jakovic moved to Canada as a youngster and has earned 34 caps for the national team.

“We welcome Dejan to the organization,” Cosmos Coach Giovanni Savarese said. “He is a very seasoned player who can add positive things to the squad. We look forward to seeing him on the pitch.”

New York also signed the box-to-box midfielder Emmanuel Ledesma, 28. The Argentine played as a trialist in all four preseason matches.

International Callups

The Cosmos’ depth will be put to the test in Puerto Rico on Saturday night.

Center back David Ochieng has been called up for friendlies by Kenya (against Uganda and DR Congo). It’s an early challenge for Savarese’s squad, which the coach admits is a work in progress.

“We never started any season saying we’re going to win  the championship,” Savarese said. “We’re going to try to do everything at the end. What we’ve said always is that we’re going to be prepared for our first match and that’s what we’re doing. We’re preparing to get a victory in Puerto Rico with the group. There’s still a lot of work to be done.”

The Salvadoran internationals Richard Menjivar, Andrés Flores and Irvin Herrera were all expected to miss the match in Puerto Rico, but a deal has been worked out to allow Flores and Herrera to return to the Cosmos after Wednesday’s friendly (a 1-1 draw at Curaçao), according to Savarese.

Cosmos B Finds a Coach

Kevin Anderson, an MLS veteran midfielder and the current coach of Columbia University’s men’s team, has been named to lead the Cosmos B team in its third season in the National Premier Soccer League.

“I’m honored to become a part of the most storied franchise in North American Soccer history,” Anderson said. “I want to first thank Rocco B. Commisso for his tremendous leadership and for taking on this enormous responsibility and Giovanni Savarese for entrusting me with the responsibility of developing and preparing players for the first team. As a young boy in this community I grew up watching the legends of the past playing at Giants Stadium while the Cosmos banner hung in my room. I understand the responsibility that comes with this position and will work diligently and with integrity to serve this organization, its players, our community and fans.”

Before becoming a coach, Anderson played in the early days of MLS for the Colorado Rapids and Tampa Bay Mutiny. He had several spells as an assistant with Columbia, Boston College and Southern Connecticut State, before returning to the Lions to assume in 2009.

“We would like to welcome Kevin to our club and the Cosmos B organization,” Savarese said. “”His extensive experience will help the team further expand its reach, as we continue to pursue yet another successful NPSL Season.”

After capturing the NPSL title in its inaugural year, the Cosmos’ reserve side last year went 12W-2D-3L before being eliminated in the playoff semifinals.


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