Carlos Mendes, one of the top players in Old Dominion history, is playing for the reincarnated version of one of the best-known teams in American soccer annals: the New York Cosmos, who are competing for the first time since 1984.
In their opener, they defeated the Fort Lauderdale Strikers 2-1 before a sellout crowd of 11,929. Before the game, they got to meet former Cosmos stars such as Pelé, who is arguably the most famous soccer player ever.
Mendes played seven Major League Soccer seasons with the MetroStars/Red Bulls franchise, which represents New York and New Jersey, and then went to the MLS Columbus Crew in Ohio for one season. He then joined the Cosmos of the North American Soccer League. His teammates include another former Monarchs, Nane Joseph.
Ironically, Mendes' current home field was one of his Colonial Athletic Association road-game destinations as a Monarch: Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.
Mendes, who played for ODU from 1998-2001, stands third on the Monarchs' all-time list with 25 assists. He also had 11 goals. During his time in Norfolk, ODU reached as high as No. 13 in the national coaches' poll (Nov. 8, 1999). Mendes led the way, earning CAA Rookie of the Year honors in 1998 and making the all-conference first team in each of his last three seasons. In the South Atlantic Region, Mendes made the first team in 2000 and the third team in '01. He was an all-state first-teamer in both of those seasons.
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