Written by Rich Forestano Thursday, 25 April 2013 00:00
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.”
Friday, 21 November 2014 00:00
The Wheatley School recently hosted an Item Writing Workshop for more than 100 language teachers representing districts across New York State. The workshop was sponsored by the Foreign Language Association of Chairpersons and Supervisors (FLACS), the professional organization that has assumed responsibility for the creation and administration of the FLACS
Checkpoint A and B Exams (formerly the NYS Second Language Proficiency and Regents Exams).
Thursday, 20 November 2014 00:00
Last year, the Mineola Fire Department initiated an Adopt-A-Hydrant program to offer residents and businesses an opportunity to enhance their fire protection by providing a simple service to the village, caring for a fire hydrant. The MFD is looking for adopters once again.
Thursday, 20 November 2014 00:00
After consecutive seasons of finishing runner-up in the men’s golf Player of the Year for the Skyline Conference, Christian Bleck of St. Joseph’s took home first place in a rather unlikely turn of events.
After a herniated disc caused the Chaminade High School alum to miss every event after the first week of the season until the conference tournament, Bleck returned—without even having the luxury of practicing a full 18 holes—and competed with the best players the conference has to offer.
Thursday, 06 November 2014 00:00
The Mineola Mustang boys cross-country team won the division 4A championship recently at Bethpage State Park. This is the first championship for the program since 1974, ending a 40-year championship drought.
Mineola defeated Seaford, who also entered the undefeated in division competition, 38-20. Overcoming rain and high winds throughout the race, many Mustangs ran personal records for the 5K in route to the victory.