Marcos Senna reflects on first year with New York Cosmos

IMAGE, DAVE MARTINEZ FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

Walking down the steps of the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building in Nassau County, New York Cosmos star midfielder Marcos Senna sported a smile from ear to ear.

The team had just presented local government officials with the NASL Soccer Bowl trophy, bookending what has been a remarkable journey not only for the resurrected franchise, but the star Brazilian player.

“More than this, I can’t ask for,” he told EOS with a smile.

More than this, he couldn’t have expected either. The former Spanish international left his longtime home of Villarreal where he was regarded as a club legend, to take on the unknown with the New York Cosmos in the American second division.

The allure of the Cosmos name initially snagged his attention, and the idea of resurrecting the brand became a welcome challenge. Still, with a group of total strangers making up the roster, the goal of a championship always seemed a long-term endeavor, reserved strictly for day-dreams and imagination.

“(I am) a little surprised, sure,” Senna said of the team’s success. “I said it since I got here; I came here not only to know the City of New York but to win championships and make the Cosmos name historic again – but I also didn’t think we would have as much success as we have had.

“Now, I am surprised by nothing.”

Senna led the charge in creating that competitive environment that would eventually catapult New York to their first trophy in over 30 years. As he points out, the team is made up of some veterans, but mainly young players who for “the first time are playing in a professional league.” He, along with the coaching staff, made it their goal to teach professionalism both on and off the field.

“Many thought that the Cosmos would enter to compete and not worry about a Championship,” he recalled. “For me, to win a Championship is nothing new, modestly speaking, because I’ve won other championships. I’ve tried to get that mentality to my teammates. It looks like some of that has translated. Along with Gio (Savarese) and Carlos (Llamosa), who has a great experience himself, we have been able to relay to the club the kind of desire it takes to win a cup.”

The theme of being a “family” also became a mantra throughout the Cosmos first season of operations. In that vein, Senna credited the success of the team not only to his teammates, but the coaching staff and front office as well. “It went very well and you have to recognize the effort everyone put in,” he said. “The work the club has done has been very well done, and I consider myself once again very fortunate to be part of this group, this club.”

Senna, who remains under contract through December of next season, hopes that this year’s success can be replicated and built upon for the coming year – and beyond.

“Surely, this championship is a first step for the many championships to come,” he said. “We have put in a great season. The mentality is there in place. Now, we have to focus on next season knowing this one is already in our pocket. What is coming will be far more difficult because our rivals will be better prepared for us.”

And with that success, the Brazilian midfielder takes with him a valuable lesson.

“From here on out, I’ll never be surprised by anything again,” he proclaims. “The only thing that would surprise me is if we entered next season badly, if the team started the season not defending the title. That would surprise me.”