Midfielder Danny Szetela was recently announced as a signing by the San Francisco Deltas, becoming only the second player from the 2016 New York Cosmos side to find a new home after Jairo Arrieta returned to play in Costa Rica. TICC recently got a chance to talk with the fan favorite, discussing the Deltas, Head Coach Marc Dos Santos and his time with the New York Cosmos.
The Deltas will mark the second straight NASL expansion side the holding mid has joined after being a member of the Cosmos since 2013. Szetela feels his time with the club will come in handy with the Deltas.
“I’m always up for a new challenge,” Szetela told TICC. “You know, obviously, I joined the Cosmos when they came back into the league, so I’m happy to go to San Francisco and bring my experience and help the team build a name and make some history, hopefully.”
In his four seasons of play for the Cosmos, Head Coach Giovanni Savarese was influential in helping bring back Szetela’s career. Marc Dos Santos, currently head coach of the Deltas, will be only the second professional coach Szetela has played under since returning from injury years ago.
That’s just fine for Szetela who feels the two coaches, that faced off against each other in the 2015 NASL Final, have some things in common.
“I think Marc Dos Santos is similar to Gio,” Szetela shared. “He spent time in Brazil and I think the style of play that he’s trying to build the team is going to be similar to what the Cosmos were. Also, a hard-working team and a coach that likes hard-working players, I think it’s going to be a very interesting year. But, I think the way the team is shaping up, I think we’re going to be expected to do well.”
Is there a chance we could see more former Cosmos get a look by the newest addition to the NASL? We already know the injured Sebastian Guenzatti grabbed the attention of Dos Santos, who returned to the NASL after a year in USL.
“I’m not sure. I’ve heard there’s talks with some guys, so I guess it’s just a waiting game you know.”
Szetela also touched on how things had been for players of this year’s Cosmos side and how the locker room had reacted to the understanding that all might not be well with the club.
“We still wanted to win the championship but, besides that, I don’t think it really interfered with the players until after the season ended and we were told we were released from our contracts.”
‘I think the guys still acted professional because we weren’t 100% sure what was going to happen.”
Did the players have an idea of what was coming down the pipe?“In the locker room the players always get a little more information than the fans and media. But, we felt something wasn’t right the whole year; it just felt different than the previous years. We weren’t sure it was going to go this way exactly. The players were a little surprised, but not totally surprised, as much as the fans or the media.”
The move will also force the New Jersey native to move out of the Tri-State area for the first time since 2010. Family has always factored heavily for the player who often had a large contingent of family at his games. But, Szetela is ready to move forward and do what he must for his career.
“I’m not gonna be there forever. Jersey’s my home. I love Jersey. People call it “Dirty Jersey,” but I actually think it’s very beautiful.”
“I’ll miss the family, but they’ll be able to come out to California. I’m hoping they can plan a trip to come out to one of the games and we can do the tailgating all over again. It’s gonna be tough at the beginning, but I’m at the point of my career where I got to do what’s best for me.”
A move to an ambitious side like the Deltas who have already made a splash would almost certainly qualify as such.
Besides, at least one significant part of the East Coast will make the trip out west.
“And my fiancée coming out makes it easier, too,” he added.
Speaking of his engagement, it’s impossible not to talk about the fans, as the Five Points were there to unveil a “Will You Marry Me?” tifo for the player as he proposed after a match. The local area product was unquestionably a fan favorite; a hard-nosed player unafraid to get physical with his opponents and unintimidated by anybody’s pedigree, as Joe Cole might agree with.
And the Cosmos supporters are definitely on the list of what he’ll miss from New York.
“You know, I’m going to miss them. The supporters group was awesome. I loved just getting out on the field, listening to the guys sing, or marching just before the game starts and that’s something I’m gonna miss.”
“I’ve played all over the world. You know, the Five Points are a supporters group that from the first minute to the last minute, no matter the score, winning or losing, bring the noise all game. They support no matter what; when you’re losing. That’s something, in America, that you don’t see a lot.
“For the fans, I wish them the best and hope the Cosmos do come back and that they have a team to support again.”