50 THE QUEENS COURIER • BUZZ • MARСH 12, 2020 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Young soccer stars train under
professionals in Ridgewood
Ridi Dauti, head coach for the
under-13 team, speaks to
players at a New York Cosmos
Development Academy game at
Grover Cleveland Athletic Field
in Ridgewood Sunday, March 1.
Jaden Bascom, a player for the under-13 team,
makes a touch on the ball as the team warms
up for their match at Grover Cleveland Athletic
Field in Ridgewood Sunday, March 1.
BY BENJAMIN MANDILE
Two teams of elite soccer players and
their fans descended on Grover Cleveland
Athletic Field in Ridgewood March 1 for
a league match as part of the New York
Cosmos Development Academy.
Th e New York Cosmos U-13 (under
13) and New York Cosmos U-14 (under
14) teams took to the fi eld as members
of the New York Cosmos First team, the
professional players of the club, came out
Emmanuele Sembroni, a defender on
the Cosmos First team, said the experience
can be amazing for the kids to have
professional players watch their games
and that it also sends a strong message
from the professionals that they value
Th ese players are part of a soccer training
academy that takes players with aspirations
to compete in collegiate and professional
leagues and guides them to
improve on their skills, lifestyles and
knowledge of the game in preparation for
the next levels of their careers.
Players at the academy learn technique
and begin to understand the nuances of
the game, in part by being around professional
level coaches and by playing within
“more of a European type system,” said
Tom Larsen, acting general manager of
the New York Cosmos.
Th e idea behind the academy is to create
“world-class players,” he said.
“I think in American soccer, what we’ve
relied on a lot is just sort of sheer athleticism
Hugo Noguera, a player on the under-14 team looks at a ball mid-air during a match at Grover
Cleveland Athletic Field in Ridgewood Sunday, March 1.
and I think these academies try to
teach more technique than athleticism,”
said Larsen. “Athleticism helps though, by
the way,” he added.
As young players develop, there will
be opportunities for the more elite players
to advance to the professional ranks,
Players that are “world class” are marketable
to European teams who compete
in some of the “best” leagues in the world
including the well-known Premier League.
Th e club’s Development Academy features
coaches who hold at least an USSF
B license, giving developing players “the
best environment,” according to their
According to U.S. Soccer Federation’s
rules, all coaches in developmental soccer
academies that are approved by the federation
must hold this licensure.
In addition to the coaches, the young
players also learn from professional
players who play for the Cosmos
Th ese professionals help with
practices at times including
working on specifi c skills
with the younger players
and set an example on
how to lead a healthy
lifestyle including nutrition
and training, said
Sembroni is the perfect
example of someone who
sets a good example.
“I think it’s very important
if you are looking into
a healthy environment, especially
for kids,” said Sembroni.
“I think that soccer is one of
the most important ones in terms of
growing as a man, growing stronger.”
Sembroni, who is starting his second
season on the New York Cosmos First
team, leads a life of fi tness and said he
hopes to become more involved in the
Development Academy’s activities during
this upcoming season.
Th e New York Cosmos First team, which
previously played in the National Premier
Soccer League, is changing leagues and
will join the National Independent Soccer
Association for the 2020 season.
Th e team missed the cutoff for playing
in the spring 2020 season and will kick off
their season this fall.
In their absence from the fi eld, Larsen
encourages “hardcore” Cosmos fans to
come out and watch Academy players in
Sembroni said during an interview in
Brooklyn that he wants to thank the team’s
supporters for their continued support
during the off -season including messages
Th e next game played in Ridgewood
for the academy will be held on March
29 at Grover Cleveland Athletic Field on
“I think when you wear the Cosmos
jersey you’re part of a ‘fam,’ more of
an extended family, and those guys and
ladies, they celebrate anybody who wears
the jersey,” said Larsen.
Photos by Steve Hamlin/ New York Cosmos
A group of soccer players warm up before their match at Grover Cleveland Athletic Field in Ridgewood Sunday, March 1.