Former Rowdies Midfielder Juan Guerra Joining New York Cosmos

IMAGE, MATT MAY/TAMPA BAY ROWDIES

by JAKE NUTTING

The first new player added to the New York Cosmos under new owner Rocco B. Commisso will come from one of the team’s historic rivals.

EoS has confirmed a report out of Venezuela over the weekend that former Tampa Bay Rowdies midfielder Juan Guerra will join the Cosmos for the 2017 NASL season. Guerra, 29, had interest from at least one other NASL club during the offseason but ultimately elected to sign with the Cosmos.

The Venezuelan garnered strong support from Tampa Bay’s fans during his two years with the club for his tenacity on the field as a defensive midfielder through 47 appearances across all competitions. He’ll be stepping in to fill the void left in the midfield left by Adam Moffat and Danny Szetela, who both departed for other opportunities when the Cosmos future was still uncertain.

Sources say Guerra was hopeful he would stay in Tampa Bay even after seeing his minutes reduced in the back half of 2016, but the club’s focus on bringing in younger talent for its move to the USL left him on the outs. Only 11 players from Tampa Bay’s 2016 NASL squad were brought back for the team’s debut season in the USL.

Guerra expressed his appreciation for Rowdies supporters in a farewell message on Monday through Twitter.

The Venezuelan connection between Cosmos Head Coach Giovanni Savarese and Guerra likely didn’t hurt in negotiations. After playing at Florida International University in Miami and with the Brooklyn Knights in the USL PDL, Guerra moved back to his native country and made stops at Monagas, Caracas, Carabobo and Deportivo Lara. He moved back stateside to join the Rowdies ahead of the 2015 season.

Guerra will not take up an international spot as he holds a U.S. green card.