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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

Senator Jack Martins discussed education, business and drug use among other topics in a an exclusive interview with this newspaper and FiOS 1 News. He’s currently seeking re-election in November, being challenged by Democrat Adam Haber. Pointing to what he called “key legislation,” particularly the tax cap legislation passed in 2011 and prescription drug bill he helped shepherd to enactment, Martins feels New York State is on track to continue fiscal responsibility.

 

“In these last four years, we’ve had four balanced budgets, we’ve cut taxes working together, we have paid off debt, streamlined government, kept spending below 2 percent each one of those years,” Martins said.

A contingent of 80 Mineola runners embarked on their first trek to lower Manhattan last year for the Tunnel To Towers 5K Run through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel toward the World Trade Center site. This year, the United Mavericks, a networking group of local business people that support local charities and causes, are gearing up surpass that number.

Mavericks reps say they’re half way to gathering 1,000 people to run in the event’s 13th year on Saturday, Sept. 28.

 

The run honors a fireman Stephen Siller, who was enjoying a day off planning to play golf before he learned the Twin Towers were hit by two airplanes during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. He was one of the 343 firefighters who died when the towers collapsed.


Sports

Though it had already hosted the series of lacrosse games during the regular season this past spring, Chaminade High School’s new Gold Star Stadium was officially christened on Saturday, Sept. 6, named in honor of the 56 alumni who had perished during combat.

 

“Tradition holds that when one dies in the service a gold star is given to the family,” said Chaminade President Bro. Thomas Cleary. “Our 56 Gold Star Alumni are honored for their selflessness, courage, and integrity.”

Although the expectations for the 2014 Mineola Mustangs boy’s varsity soccer season may be somewhat measured, the team enters the season with the goal of a berth in the Nassau County playoffs. The team is young and inexperienced but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

 

There is considerable talent on the horizon. There are only four starting seniors and five sophomores on the roster. Four year starting senior forward Daniel Pardo returns (19 goals in three seasons) as does senior standout goalkeeper Andrew Pereira.


Calendar

Town Zoning Meeting - September 17

International Night - September 18

Bereavement Support Group - September 19


Columns

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