Walter Restrepo Rejoins the New York Cosmos

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by JAKE NUTTING

The New York Cosmos have bagged another former player for the upcoming North American Soccer League season, although their latest re-signing was not a member of last year’s championship squad.

2015 standout winger Walter Restrepo has returned to the Cosmos after spending last year under contract with Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union. Restrepo only made four appearances for the Union, instead spending most of his time on loan to the team’s reserve side Bethlehem Steel FC in the United Soccer League.

“It’s always an honor to represent the New York Cosmos,” said Restrepo. “I am extremely thankful to the club for bringing me back. Gio and the coaching staff are putting a good-quality group of guys together and many of them are good friends of mine, so I am excited to come back and play with them.”

Restrepo, 28, was a key piece of the Cosmos midfield during the team’s run to the 2015 NASL championship. In 31 appearances during the year, Restrepo recorded three goals and five assists from the right side of the field.

The San Diego native’s valuable experience in the NASL isn’t exclusive to the Cosmos. He was also an important contributor to the San Antonio Scorpions championship run in 2014 and was a regular for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers for two years prior to that. Restrepo’s production earned him a spot on the NASL Best XI in 2012 and 2014.

“Walter is a former Cosmos player who understands the culture of the club and is aware of the high expectations we always have,” said Cosmos Head Coach Giovanni Savarese. “He is a player we know very well and I am sure he will give us a different look in the attack this season.”

Slowly but surely the Cosmos are rebuilding their roster, and have done so mostly with familiar faces. Returnees from Restrepo’s time with the Cosmos include Carlos Mendes, Danny Szetela, Jimmy Maurer, Kyle Zobeck, Brian Holt, Jimmy Mulligan and Andres Flores.

Defenders Ryan Richter, David Ochieng, Alexis Velela and midfielder Eric Calvillo are all also returning for a second season with the Cosmos after making their debuts last year.

The only new player brought in by Savarese so far is former Tampa Bay Rowdies midfielder Juan Guerra.