After the naming of Ronan Wiseman as assistant youth director back in February, the Cosmos Academy receives some significant momentum today in the form of their first two signings and approvals from US Soccer to expand the current scope beyond the original U-12 age group to the U-13 and U-14 levels.
12-year-old Aidan Pericic and 11-year-old Simon Adjakple are the first two players to sign with the Cosmos Academy. The boys come from Auburndale SC, one of the clubs comprising the Academy Affiliates program which the Cosmos have used to identify potential talent. Both boys were also coached by Paul Allen Elliot, a former member of the Trinidad and Tobago national team, according to Auburndale SC Director of Soccer, Carlo Acquista, who thanked the former player for his work.
“We are extremely excited for Aidan and Simon as the first two academy signings in club history,” commented Acquista. “They have been extremely humble throughout this process.”
Following the Wiseman announcement and the original U-12 approval, these are the first steps the public have seen in forming something the Cosmos see as crucial to their aspirations.
“I’m delighted to welcome Aidan and Simon to the Academy,” said Wiseman. “Over the last few months we’ve been running a number of Academy identification centers in the New York area, searching for talented young players with the right mentality,” he added.
“Our ambition to have our own academy is now becoming a reality with the signing of these young players,” commented New York Cosmos Head Coach, Giovanni Savarese. “Ronan’s experience in youth coaching has really helped accelerate this process, providing young players with a developmental pathway to the first team and exposure on the national level.”
The Cosmos have been open about their desire for the academy, seeing this as part of a strong foundation required to help the club return to global prominence.
“Our expectation is to develop players in a unified structure that feeds all the way up to our first team. By having one philosophy, one style of play and specific training requirements, we expect to develop youth players into professionals that will be ready to slide into the first team when called upon. If we are successful, then we will ultimately be developing players that could feed into the national team,” Cosmos COO Erik Stover told FOX News Latino last year.
With the Cosmos already having worked with Haji Wright, who has since moved on to Schalke, and currently working with US U-19 players Alexis Velela and Eric Calvillo, the prospect of them finding a new way to impact the national team program through development of their own youth will be exciting for many Cosmos fans.
The approval for the Cosmos to begin work on the U-13 and U-14 levels will give the academy more traction as they seek out older talent, expand the program, and develop players that could find their way onto the club’s reserve and first teams and the club. The club also also hopes to expand the scope of the program into the U-18 range down the road.
The work being done here provides a new pathway for local talent to work their way into the top levels of the game. It is another opportunity for the club, yes, but also for the kids who want to work their way into the game under the care of the Cosmos development team. As a Cosmos fan, it’s impossible for me to deny the feelings of excitement and pride when I see my club associated with New York talent.
“As an affiliate club we are proud to assist in their development and promote our top players to the Cosmos Academy,” added Acquista. “I would like to thank Giovanni Savarese, Luke Sassano, Joe Barone and Ronan Wiseman for creating this pathway for all young players in New York.”