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Long Island Is His Pitch

Mineola native to begin journey with Cosmos

For Carlos Mendes, it’s about coming home. The Mineola native, who became the revived New York Cosmos soccer team’s first signing in nearly three decades last December, is itching to bring a premier soccer club back to its storied glory.

 

His time in Mineola set him up for the star defender that will run the pitch on Aug. 3 at Hofstra University against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Mendes played soccer for the Mineola Portuguese Soccer Club from 1993-1998 and the Albertson Soccer Club before graduating from the Wheatley School and attending Old Dominion University.

 

He moved to East Williston when he entered middle school, but spent his elementary days at Meadow Drive School. The close-knit nature of Mineola and the surrounding areas is what makes Mendes care about the community.

 

“I loved growing up in Long Island because it’s such a diverse region of New York,” he said. “Living in Mineola, there’s a huge Portuguese community. Both of my parents came from Portugal and I have so much family there. We’re so tight. It’s such a tight-knit community, that’s what I love about it.”

 

The 5-foot-11 inch defender couldn’t pinpoint where his love for soccer sparked, but indicated his love for the game is ingrained from early childhood.

 

“I just enjoyed playing,” Mendes stated. “My parents being European, soccer is in the family, it’s in the blood. The love for the game is there. Four, five years old, I was out on the field playing.”

 

Mendes credited his mastering of the game to Cordt Weinstein, who coached him from his club team years through college. Weinstein played for the Long Island Rough Riders of the United Soccer League for 10 years.

“He was my coach basically from 11, 12 years old until I got a scholarship to go to college,” Mendes said.

 

Weinstein, 41, of Deer Park, played for Major League Soccer’s New York MetroStars (now Red Bulls) in 2001. He was part of five-national championships at Southern Connecticut State University, two with the Rough Riders and one as a coach at St. John the Baptist High School.

 

“[Mendes] played as an attack and midfielder and facilitated the whole game for us,” said Weinstein. “We tried to go through him because his skill-set was top notch, very smooth on the ball. He knows the game very well. We were a possession-type team and he gave us an opportunity to do that. His leadership with the players was always on par.”

 

When Weinstein needed a big goal, he looked to Mendes. He even got to run the field with Mendes during their stints with the Rough Riders, and brought home a national championship.

 

“Carlos was up in Rochester and I was like ‘you’re crazy, you should come to the Rough Riders,’” Weinstein stated. “When he came to us, we went undefeated the rest of the season. For me to coach him for all those years…it was amazing to make that run.”

 

A four-year starter at ODU, Mendes, 31, then played for the Rough Riders. Mendes signed with the New York Red Bulls in 2005 and played 158 league games for the club, including the 2008 MLS Cup final.

 

“Carlos is an experienced and solid defender,” said Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese. “We fully expect him to be a strong presence in the locker room and provide us with the leadership we’ll need. Him being from Long Island is wonderful. Because of that, he understands even more the importance of the Cosmos in this community.”

 

He’s ranked second in the franchise’s all-time games played list. The East Meadow resident played seven seasons for the Red Bulls before spending the 2012 season with the Columbus Crew. The Cosmos snagged him on Dec. 11, 2012.

 

“The history and tradition of the Cosmos…having the opportunity to start with a club that has that history was obviously a huge opportunity for me and to come home and play in my backyard in front of my friends and family,” Mendes said, describing what drew him to the Cosmos. “This is home for me.”

News

In a typical Long Island community packed with houses and backyards, there are a couple of acres of open land of community gardens where people are growing basil and dahlias and roses and cabbages—people like Terry Dunckey of Westbury and Peg Woerner of Great Neck, tending their small plots and helping to promote sustainable and organic practices.

East Meadow Farm, off Merrick Avenue, is owned by Nassau County and operated by Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Nassau County. Previously it was a family-owned farm that was purchased by the county through the Environment Bond Act Program, a $150 million program that called for, among several mandates, the preservation of 400 acres of open space. In 2009, CCE of Nassau was awarded the lease to the land and in January 2012 took possession of the property. East Meadow Farm is a place where we can get the best advice on how to make our gardens grow without harming the earth. Part of the CCE’s original proposal was the establishment of a farmer’s market and, now, the market is open two days a week, a place to purchase organic vegetables and flowers during the growing season.

Drivers—get ready to slow down. Nassau County is currently in the process of installing school zone speed cameras in an effort to enhance safety by encouraging drivers to travel with caution, as well as support law enforcement efforts to crack down on violators and prevent accidents caused by speeding.

Nassau County officials say they’re still investigating locations in the Mineola School District, while leaning towards installing cameras near the North Side or Willets Road schools in the East Williston School District. Cameras could begin operation in September.


Sports

Nobody wants to make excuses, but sometimes when the injury bug hits, it’s impossible to overcome. Mineola Mustangs football head coach Dan Guido, entering his 28th season at helm, knows the injuries were the cause for their first-round defeat at the hands of the West Hempstead Rams last November.

“There was too many injuries on the offensive line last season,” said Guido. “It was supposed to be our strength and it ended up being a weak link by the end of the season.”

Even with those injuries, the Mustangs went 4-4 during the regular season.

The BU15 Mineola Revolution were crowned champions of the Roar at the Shore Tournament 2014 in West Islip on Aug. 10. After dropping the opener 2-0 against North Valley Stream, Mineola bounced back to beat Freeport Premiere 2-1.

The Revolution’s offense exploded in the third game as they beat West Islip 7-0. Mineola’s final game pitted them against Quickstrike FC, which entered the contest without a loss and within a point of winning the tournament.


Calendar

Zoning Meeting

Thursday, Aug. 28

Mineola Village Meeting

Wednesday, Sept. 3

School Board Meeting

Thursday, Sept. 4



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
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