Kenyan International defender David Cheche Ochieng has rejoined North America Soccer League (NASL) side New York Cosmos.
The club confirmed it was in deep financial turmoil late last year and terminated contracts of all the players. However Cable Television entrepreneur Rocco Commisso recently acquired majority stake in the club and is leading a rebuilding process that has seen the club already resign Cheche among other players.
New York Cosmos Head Coach Giovanni Savarese admits the team has gone through a tough period and they are working hard to restore the team’s pride.
“We are not starting from zero,” Savarese said during a media call introducing the team’s new owner. “We are starting from minus five,” Giovanni is quoted as saying by Empire of Soccer.
“What happened after the championship has been very, very difficult,” admitted Savarese. “I cannot hide that. Some players were in a very difficult situation. I’m just glad that now they will be able to get paid. I’m glad that the Cosmos will be able to continue.”
“We are trying to talk to the players to explain how the new era of this new ownership is trying to rebuild the club,” he said. “We are fortunate that some of the guys have already accepted to come back, but definitely we have a lot of work and not a lot of time to be able to do it.”
The only players from last year’s squad already under contract are Kenyan international David Ochieng, U.S. youth international Eric Calvillo and last year’s Soccer Bowl penalty shootout hero Ryan Richter. Discussions with other players to return are on-going.
Talks to bring back Savarese’s technical staff have also already begun. Assistant Coach Carlos Llamosa has already been lost to New England Revolution’s coaching staff, but the return of fan-favorite Alecko Eskandarian is still possible.
“We’re talking with Alecko to be back,” confirmed Savarese. “Luis Gutierrez (Fitness Coach) we also believe will be back. Memo Valencia (Goalkeeper Coach) at the moment is entertaining some offers but is also thinking about coming back. We’ll try to rebuild the staff with the same people that we had and are meeting with new people in some positions.”
“Our conversations have always been on the same page, in believing the same thing to rebuild a team that is a reflection of New York City, is very diverse, and to have local players, international players,” Savarese said of his talks with Commisso. “He’s has given full confidence to not just me, but my whole staff to be able to rebuild the club.”
Also read: Cheche, New York Cosmos bag US title
Additional reporting by Empire of Soccer