The New York Cosmos have always tried to maintain a wide range of talented players whose presence were felt throughout U.S soccer and acknowledged by the rest of the world. Back in the day the club had the likes of Pele, Beckenbauer and Chinaglia. In the modern era Raul and Marcos Senna wore the Green and white Cosmos jersey with pride.
Alongside internationally-known names, the Cosmos in the NASL and recently in the National Premier Soccer League made sure to field the best local professional performers they can find. One local player who has loomed a large role with the club ever since his Cosmos Academy days, way before talk of the return of the club was a possibility, was David Diosa.
Born in Colombia but moved to Queens, New York with his family. David Diosa was the first player to graduate from the Cosmos academy to the clubs first team. Diosa played with the Cosmos for four years in the North American Soccer League, and then spent the 2018 season playing with the United Soccer League’s Real Monarchs. Currently a free agent, David Diosa was kind enough to share some thoughts with First Team Podcast.
FTP: How did it feel to be the first player to graduate from the Cosmos academy to the first team?
DD: It felt great to sign with the first team after playing with the academy specially with Cosmos who have such a big and great soccer history. It's something I won't forget and something I hope the organization remembers.
FTP: You grew up in Queens, New York and played for the the country’s most storied soccer team. Did you feel pressure putting on the shirt and playing alongside stars such as Marcos Senna?
DD: To be honest, the first two years I did feel pressure playing with such players like Marcos Senna and Raul. Also there was that pressure on us players obviously trying to do everything possible to keep the Cosmos up there where they’ve always been.
FTP: On your time in the United Soccer League: As a professional soccer player, you have to go out of your comfort zone all the time but how did it feel leaving your hometown for Oklahoma City to join the Energy of the United Soccer League?
DD: It felt weird to leave the Cosmos I guess because I was there for a while already. And the year before, I had accomplished things individually as a player. I had a decent season - nominated for young player of the year, best goal of the season and then as a team winning the championship. I had that feeling that you know that year I was going to stay and do even better and help out the team more. Oklahoma was a lot different from New York. When I got that call again from the Cosmos I was happy about coming back home.
FTP: Can you talk about your time at the Real Monarchs? Did the possibility of signing with Real Salt Lake attract you to the USL Reserve side?
DD: Yes. You know that was the plan. You're hoping to have a good year, and to get to the first team some day. There were talks of me having the chance to get there if I had a good year with Monarchs. Sadly I went through some injuries and couldn’t really play and show them how much I want that.
FTP: There are players that think with the USL paying players 20k or less that it is a waste of their time. What is your position on the USL, do you see it as a new opportunity to continue your professional career or just as another job paying a decent wage for the year?
DD: Yes I do. I think USL is growing and is getting better. I didn’t really watch much USL before joining but from what I've seen these past year, it's a good league and it helps players develop to the MLS level. Yes I see USL as an opportunity to continue my career right now.
FTP: Since you have left the New York Cosmos a lot has happened. From Rocco Commisso purchasing the Cosmos; the demise of the NASL; the announcement that the New York Cosmos will be one of eleven clubs participating in the 2019 National Premier Soccer League Founders Cup, and in a new professional league in association with the NPSL. What are your thoughts on the current state of the New York Cosmos?
DD: I don’t really know much about the whole situation to be honest. I haven’t read much. I can say I respect what Rocco is doing and has been doing for the organization, is something to admire and I would always want to see Cosmos playing.
FTP: Sadly the Real Monarchs declined your contract option for next season. Have you received any offers? Will you consider returning to the New York Cosmos next season for the first ever NPSL Founders Cup?
DD: Right now I'm trying to work that out. And just praying that I have a better year.
FTP: On your time playing at Martin Luther King High School...
DD: I think what’s special about the MLK High School soccer team is that it's a diverse team, which I think reflects New York City perfectly.
FTP: Can you talk about the effect the school had on you on and off the field?
DD: The MLK HS Soccer Head Coach Martin Jacobsen is likely a New York Soccer legend. He has had an effect on players that have become professional athletes but has gave hope to local kids that just want to play the beautiful game and be involved in something.
FTP: Can you please explain his effect on your career?
DD: I think he’s that guy someone needs during bad times. I've seen him be there for some guys that were good players but maybe were in some trouble, or struggling, and he would try to find a way to help them out. He has a good heart.
Special thanks to David Diosa for his time.
At the moment, the Cosmos are building their roster ahead of the 2019 NPSL season and the Founders Cup Campaign. I would really like to see David Diosa return to the Cosmos. We need strong players that understand the club and represent the local area. David ticks those boxes.
I wish David all the best in the future and hopefully 2019 is a better year for him on and off the field.
James Izurieta contributed to this report.