Grella, Former MLS Players Rivera, Ceus highlight Cosmos trialists

IMAGE, DAVE MARTINEZ, EMPIRE OF SOCCER

IMAGE, DAVE MARTINEZ, EMPIRE OF SOCCER

The New York Cosmos have upgraded their roster this offseason, and look set to add a few more vital pieces prior to their April 15th Spring season debut.

Forward Mike Grella leads a class of trialists that includes former MLS talents Jose Manuel Rivera of Chivas USA and Colorado Rapids keeper Steward Ceus, a New York native.

Grella, 27, is a well-traveled forward and a former U.S. youth product. A 2009 MLS Draft pick for Toronto FC, the Glen Cove native eschewed a chance at playing in the domestic league to explore European options. He won a trial at Leeds United and eventually signed a contract with the club.

Grella bounced through the depths of the English football pyramid, featuring for clubs like Carlisle United, Swindon Town, Brentford, Bury and Scunthorpe United before landing with Viborg FF of Denmark’s first division. Last year, he was a late-season trialist with the New York Red Bulls. Coach Mike Petke praised Grella’s play, going so far to say he would “love to have him in” for a future look.

Jose Manuel Rivera, 27, is another forward the Cosmos are taking a look at. Recommended to head coach Giovanni Savarese, Rivera comes from Chivas USA where he made nine appearances in 2013. Rivera made his way stateside through the Chivas Guadelajara, but has a club career that has seen him travel from Mexico, to Finland and Slovakia.

The towering Steward Ceus rounds out the top prospects in this Cosmos camp. Ceus, 26, is a 6’6″ goalkeeper and a West Haverstraw, New York native. He has spent his career with the Colorado Rapids since being drafted 37th by the club in 2009. The Haitian international spent five years with the Rapids, making four appearances and three starts with the club.

“We have some guys from different places, different divisions, different backgrounds in different positions,” Savarese says. “We felt these players were good enough to have a look. Some are coming from MLS, some from overseas, but it has been good.

“One of the things I can say is good this preseason is that the guys that come to train with us, I wouldn’t call it a tryout, because we have seen them before so we just want to confirm it in this training process. They give us quality.

“It has been good training sessions,” he continues. “We just need to make some decisions.”

COSMOS NOTES

– Japanese forward Saturo Kashiwase will not rejoin the club this season, ending his half year loan.

– The Cosmos are down to one official keeper on their books with Bryan Meredith signing on with the San Jose Earthquakes, Kyle Reynish taking on a secondary position in Chicago with the Fire and local product Chad Calderone released this winter.

– Midfielder Juan Gonzalez has also parted ways with the club.

– The Cosmos could not come to an accord with former trialist and Seattle Sounders defender, Ashani Fairclough.