January 27, 2017
HE LOVES NEW YORK
Why Szetela came back: he would have left his heart in New York, not in San Francisco
By Michael Lewis
"I thought I would be a Cosmos for the rest of my career and retire a Cosmos. So now being able to be back and playing in front of the Five Points, playing in front of all the Cosmos fans, it's going to be exciting."
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
With apologies to Tony Bennett, Danny Szetela's heart was in New York and not in San Francisco.
That's the major reason he is back with the New York Cosmos today. After the Cosmos were all but considered dead late last year, the Clifton, N.J. native signed with the expansion San Francisco Deltas, who will play their first season in the North American Soccer League this year.
But when the Cosmos were revived after Rocco B. Commisso bought a majority stake in the team earlier this month, the 29-year-old midfielder had a change of mind -- because of his heart.
"I thank San Francisco for their interest and everything and wanting me there," Szetela said Thursday night, hours after the Cosmos announced he had rejoined the team.
Szetela got into a conversation with Deltas head coach Marc Dos Santos "and decided my heart is with the Cosmos. From day one it was."
"They gave me an opportunity and they were always there. If they couldn't come to an agreement I will come to San Francisco and I'll my do 100 percent."
Now, he'll do his 100 percent for the Cosmos.
When the Cosmos decided to return to competitive soccer in the North American Soccer League in 2013, Szetela received a second chance to play professionally. He said he was "very excited" on his return.
"I thought I would be a Cosmos for the rest of my career and retire a Cosmos," he said. "So now being able to be back and playing in front of the Five Points, playing in front of all the Cosmos fans, it's going to be exciting.
"We'll be playing at a new place, not at Hofstra anywhere. Wherever we are, we know we'll be playing at a new place, not Hofstra anymore. Wherever we are they'll come and support [us]. Things are going to be great."
The Cosmos have not finalized a new venue for the 2017 season. Two possibilities include the Columbia University football stadium in Manhattan or MCU Park in Coney Island in Brooklyn, N.Y.
According to a source within the league, New York paid the Deltas an undisclosed transfer fee for Szetela.
"San Francisco was great," Szetela said. "Marc was great about it. Totally understood. I wish him and the San Francisco Deltas all the best of luck in the next coming season, their first year in the league. Hopefully, they go on the right path and the decision they made to let me go will be one to help them sign a new player and impact the team."
Szetela, who had been scheduled to fly to northern California Friday, was happy to stay here for personal and professional reasons. He is getting married in New Jersey in July.
He also will get his professional wish -- "just putting on the Cosmos jersey."
"It means so much," he said. "There are fans all over the world where that support the Cosmos. Being able to be with them from the beginning and going out there putting on that jersey and fighting for the crest of the Cosmos, just meant a lot. I always felt when I was on the field I gave 100 percent. You have to give 100 percent when you put on that Jersey. And then being able to play in front of the Five Points and the rest of the Cosmos fans and my family, getting married in July, it's definitely going to make things a lot easier. I'm looking forward to preseason starting and the season to start."