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Cosmos sign Szetela



The New York Cosmos have been making an effort to establish their ties to the area with the additions of players with local roots. They have now added another player from the New York/New Jersey area, and one who they are hoping they can help resurrect his career.

The Cosmos have signed for Columbus Crew and U.S. Olympic Team midfielder Danny Szetela, the club announced on Monday.

A native of Clifton, New Jersey, Szetela has been out of the spotlight since a knee injury derailed his career, forcing him out of the game for the better part of three years. He last played professionally for D.C. United, where he suffered the knee injury that sidelined him, after a lengthy stint with the Columbus Crew and time with Italian club Brescia.

“Danny worked very hard in training this whole month and has shown us he is dedicated to getting back on the field,” Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese said. “One of the great things about Danny is the big-game, high-pressure situations he has played in before. Those experiences are paramount and skills you can’t teach. He also brings great tactical skill that is going to help us in the middle of the field. “

Szetela, 26, first made headlines as a star on the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team that featured the likes of Freddy Adu and Eddie Gaven. After signing with MLS and joining the Crew at the age of 16, Szetela boosted his career with a strong showing in the 2007 Under-20 World Cup, starring alongside current U.S. Men’s National Teamers Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore.

Along the way, Szetela earned three caps with the U.S. Men’s National Team and also featured in the 2008 Olympics. He parlayed his youth national team success into a transfer to Spanish club Racing Santander, then a La Liga club, but struggled to find playing time and ultimately made a moderately successful move to Italian Serie B side Brescia.

Szetela returned to MLS in 2009, signing with D.C. United, but a serious knee injury limited him to just four appearances before being released in 2010.

Continued issues with his knee led to major knee surgery, but persistent pain kept him from resuming his career until after successful knee surgery finally corrected the issues he was having.

Szetela will battle for playing time in a midfield that will also feature former Spanish National Team star Marco Senna, as well as Brazilian Paolo Mendes.

What do you think of this development? Glad to see Szetela returning to action? Think he can still fulfill the lofty expectations of his successful youth national team career?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I had high hopes for Szetela when he signed with Racing Santander after the 2007 U20 WC – had heard about his issues with the law, and a little about his injuries. Surprised to see his name back in the news – hope he finds a place for himself and makes the most of this opportunity.

    Best wishes to you Danny – believe, never give up, vaya con Dios.

  2. I hope Szetela’s latest surgery has really fixed his knee problems. If it has and he can regain his old form, someone from MLS will want him when the Cosmos turn out to be a disappointment, at least in the short term. It would be folly for him to look at this as anything but a place to earn a little cash and to prove he is still a talented player. Here’s hoping he has the sense to see that linking his soccer future to something as ephemeral and iffy as the Cosmos plan is a long-shot at best, especially given the short time-frame (<6 years) that he likely has left to play professionally.

  3. I say this with nothing but respect for the Cosmos, but this is all playing out like it was written as a B-movie screenplay. It seems every signing I read about is some has-been, young unproven talent, or second-chance guy. What a great movie it would make, the scrappy misfit underdogs squaring off against the evil LA Galaxy in the USOC finals in a fight for US soccer supremacy. After disposing of the Galaxy, the epilogue shows them winning the CCL, and then losing heroically in the finals of the Club World Cup to Bayern Munich, after which the whole roster turns down offers from MLS, choosing instead to stay with “America’s Team.” I’d watch that movie.

    • Let’s be honest: what other kinds of players are out there for them to grab? I think they’ve done very well. A good mix of US and international, experienced and not, local boys and US soccer vets, and a would-be DP. What more could you reasonably ask for?

      • DC and LA both won CONCACAF just not in a year that the World Club Cup got played.

        DC then won a mythical Americas title by beating a Brazilian team.

        When DC and LA won it used to be a short knockout tournament. They switched to a year long CL imitation and the Mexican teams took over.

  4. His mugshot was one for the ages. When that is all you can say about a player, than that pretty much tells the story.

      • Of course we hope the kid is alright and if he can plays himself back onto a legitimate team. If not maybe he just enjoys playing again. That would be great!!!

  5. Despite some bad and difficult roads he has taken..he got reoriented and back on him and others who have been on a similar road…good luck and keep going.

  6. well, good for him i guess. but man, this guy really disappointed me. he looked like he was going to turn into a solid player but then he just lost focus and was sucked into all the distractions that come with professional sports. add on a knee injury and it all collapsed.

    • Yes. If you’d taken the same amount of time and effort to type “Szetela Open Cup” into the Google, you’d know he played for an NJ side called Icon FC — a team that previously had a good run in Open Cup play when they were called Ocean City Barons.

  7. If what other posters are saying is true, then I certainly hope the guy has matured and conquered his demons and can get back to playing soccer at a high level. I still remember when Szetela was drafted by Columbus, it looked like someone had killed a puppy in front of him based on his reaction. At the time I think the Crew wanted Amado Guevara for the kids rights, which was outrageous but part for the course from Columbus during that time. Kind of miss the Andrulis years of the Crew with their crazy demands. I also recall they wanted a ransom for the rights to Matt Jansen as well…

  8. The US Open Cup is the Cosmos main goal. If they can win that, we’ll that’s where everything will start. The Cosmos are looking toward international glory/markets.

      • I’m pretty sure I’ve read that it is their goal. Winning the USOC qualifies them for CCL. Winning the CCL lets them square off against teams like Bayern Munich on international TV. USOC is literally their only path to glory and fame unless/until they move to MLS (not saying MLS means instant glory/fame but if you want to be known as THE American pro soccer team, not being in MLS is a big hurdle).

      • So if they did win the Open Cup and went on and win the CCL then they’d have maybe 3 meaningfull matches a year? What international caliber player would sign up for that?

  9. He’s a one-in-five talent in any country but the US, but I like the idea of buying up players with local ties.

  10. You never know, it could mean a revived career that could even lead to the national team. Herculez Gomez prolly wouldn’t even be playing professionally if it wasn’t for the lower divisions. One of the big reasons I make a point to help support my local lower division teams. A healthy NASL and USL will only help MLS and the National team.

    • Actually on one of the minor league loans Gomez broke his foot while with Seattle. I think if you want more of a bounce-back success story it would be someone like Ching.

      I think they both say more about the difficulty of breaking into the Galaxy of that era, than anything else. They won CCL in ’00, MLS Cup ’02 and ’05, SS in ’02, USOC ’01 and ’05. Granted, in theory Gomez and Ching should have been seen as better than Ale’ Moreno or Alan Gordon, but that’s often easier to see in retrospect.

    • Let him party and get down in Brazil, then he will come to Cosmos but ill be surprise if Cosmos dont sign a Mexican American player. On other news, Japanese player Honda could have easily been a DP in MLS for a cheap price but AC Milan just got Honda.

      • Hmm.. Honda wanted to go to a bigger club than CSKA Moscow and now he’s about to sign with Milan. But, I’m sure he could have signed with MLS, if a bigger club here wanted him…y’know bigger than Milan.

      • Honda to MLS? In your dreams, the guy is pure class, still young, and could play in any of the top 4 leagues.

  11. Does anybody know about their future stadium or even NYCFC stadium in queens. I also thought Cosmos would have friendlies with MLS teams or south american teams, before they start play in August. Also, Cosmos might set the example for big teams or even small MLS teams, IF they get at least 8 to 10 players from around the world, like from Argentina, Colombian, Africa,England, Japan, Holland, France,Korea, Mexico, Canada, Spain, Salvador, just like Real Madrid and Manchester United do it, in order to win trophies and money success. Too bad MLS wont let that happen and thats why I see Cosmos making a big splash.

      • why nonsense? ManU has players from all over the world. They make them better and sometimes even sell them and at the same time make money out of them with tv rights, commercials in different languages, jerseys, team tours.

        Ask yourself, is chicharito the best Mexican player, hell NO, but he sure is the number one jersey in sells from ManU.

        All over the world, big teams like ManU, Barca, Porto, Madrid, ManCity, Shaktar, have players from all over the world to represent their team and make money.

        Its just sad, Galaxy and Red Bull or even big markets in MLS can not do something like ManU or madrid, with their money and that is why Cosmos will always have attention and maybe success.

      • NY Cosmos are not Man U.

        Nor will they ever be the old NY Cosmos. Here what’s going to happen. Everything is going to be done in debt…whenever they get to a point that they will have some liquidity they will go bankrupt and the team will vanish again. A true New York based team is always a good idea that is nearly impossible to get to fruition…let alone to compete as a minor league. If they really wanted to make this work then they would have joined the MLS. It sounds weird to me too but the MLS is a legitimate league and they Cosmos aren’t anything else but a con game…trading off on a once glorious yet fleeting time in our past. I hope I am wrong but I am a New Yorker and I smell something and it isn’t Staten Island in the summer this time.

      • I almost believe you, then I smell it, smell like I don’t know what I am talking about, & I have no clue

      • Does it help you if I tell you I did absolutely no research but rather just responding sarcastically to the notion that the new Cosmos are like Man U in player acquisition and development. I actually thought it had just enough plausibility to be crazy talk. But then the rational police come along and ruin my sick day!!!

      • Did you even read the post above mine? Do you really think the whole Cosmos thing is real. Are you at least old enough to have seen the original Cosmos. If you answered yes to any of those questions then how come you are not asking questions. The truth is out there!!!

      • Wow, can’t tell if you are clueless of MLS rules and structure or you are delusional. The New NY Cosmos has always had the smell of a ponzsi scheme to me.

      • Not completely clueless….I recognize that it would have been difficult but if the MLS wanted to do this it would have gotten done. They would have not given NYCFC a franchise, to start with. My guess is it was a little of the NY Cosmos wanting too much control of the revenue that were going to come with the name alone. I also figured that the MLS didn’t want to be associated with the the team that lead it’s own league to insolvency. Add to this that if the New Cosmos were ever to become good then it might outshine the league…think the movie Rollerball “Johnathan, Johnathan….” If you don’t follow my logic then get a Netflix account. So the MLS protected it’s assets and sending a big Buck you to the Cosmos by giving the NYCFC the team. Now it is impossible for them to succeed.

      • Yeah it sure it “sad” and disappointing that RBNY and LA Galaxy, founded 18 years ago, aren’t as big as ManU and Real Madrid.

    • They are planning on signing Jorge Campos to bring in the Mexican fans and Roger Mila for fans from the African continent

      Don’t see the point of it they may do some damage in the US open cup, until the semifinal stage when the real soccer teams start playing their starters more

      • That’s just it. Everyone says that we could beat the Mexican teams if we just had a bigger salary cap. Well the Comos have no cap. Now it might take them a few years, but they could put together a club who could do it. And what happens when the Cosmos go after the college talent?

      • The flaw in your theory is that even if they were willing to spend into the red since NASL crowds won’t support MLS wages much less MX-competitive wages, it’s not enough to flash cash, the necessary prospective players to compete at that level will want to stay international players and no one will believe NASL is sufficient, nor are there any prospects for elevating Cosmos. I’m not sure you could get enough quality mercs willing to discard their NT career in exchange for dollars and being on some sort of USOC/CCL diceroll.

      • If they’d started in the spring and could play USOC they could have tried your idea but the reality is all they’re gonna do is play a NASL schedule. Ft. Lauderdale on August 3rd etc.

    • I’m confused—“IF [Cosmos} get at least 8 to 10 players from around the world, like Argentina, Colombian, Africa,England, Japan, Holland, France,Korea, Mexico, Canada, Spain, Salvador”. What does that mean? Let’s look at who played for New York Red Bulls on Sunday—a Colombian, a Swede, a Japanese, an Australian, an Englishman, a Spaniard and two Frenchmen (and the lineup included Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill). How does that differ from what you are suggesting for Cosmos?

  12. Not surprised to see this move considering he trained with the Cosmos for nearly a month. It makes total sense plus he’s native to the NYC area. Scary to think that he just turned 26. Not a whole lot of mileage in those legs. No doubt Danny has been thru the ringer with physical and legal issues. If he’s healthy mentally and physically, he could be such a big asset to the Cosmos.

  13. Szetela was the first youth player whose bandwagon I jumped on. He was a fantastic player. It wasn’t even the injuries that did him in, it was the partying and drinking and rumors of drugs. He got arrested for fighting a few years ago.

    At 26 and out of the game for so long, the best of his years are behind him. I just hope he’s cleaned himself up and can enjoy the next few years while his playing days last. If he’s lucky, he’ll get another shot at MLS.

    Call Cosmos what you may, but that team is looking VERY interesting. NBCSports would do well to grab their TV rights, at least for a few games. I’d check them out.

    • We shouldn’t oversell it. I don’t even see this as the Sugarland Skeeters running out Roger Clemens for a start. This is not that level, this is not really the old Cosmos. They’ve signed one good player who is 36 and was left off the last Spanish world cup team in 2010 because he was already falling apart. It would be worthy of watching on FSC a few weeks like the old minor league telecasts they used to have, but this is really probably an above average NASL team and nothing more.

  14. I’m pleasantly surprised by how they are doing this. Granted, he was never a superstar and he may never recover from his injuries, but they are going aggressively after respectable players and their semi-pro side may be better than Chivas USA in a couple years if they keep up this pace.

      • Lol I’ve commented on his slow manner several times yet he isn’t to,quick to,catch on

      • I know you guys are nostalgic for the good old days of playing fake soccer with a bunch of washed-up players in a league that went broke but today’s Hofstra Cosmos can’t even live up to that incredibly overrated “legacy.”

        Looks like the gameplan for Hempstead’s finest is to sign a bunch of guys based on the fact they’re from greater NYC and remind everyone that Pele played a few games for them forty years ago.

      • I don’t think bitter accruately describes it. It’s just that the Cosmos are from the past, and it’s a past that’s totally overrated, did little to grow the game here and resulted in a generation of kids in this country growing up with no professional league to follow. It’s time to move on.

      • He makes a good point, especially about generational development. We might be a better team if the NASL where able to survive ans adapt.

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