Sebastian Guenzatti finally realized how far he had come. Seeing yourself on television can do that to you.
"The other day I was actually watching the replay of the game and my family told me, 'Wow, how life changes,'" the midfielder said. "I was nowhere and now I'm on TV with the Cosmos, one of the greatest teams in the U.S. It's a great feeling."
Guenzatti, 22, was born in Uruguay but raised in the College Point section of Queens. He attended Francis Lewis High School in Fresh Meadows, where he was a four-year starter on the soccer team. Before joining the Cosmos, he was playing for Huracán FC in Uruguay. But on Saturday, he made his home debut with the Cosmos in front of friends and family at Hofstra, only a short ride from where he grew up.
"My parents, that was their time, when the Cosmos were really big," he said. "So it means a lot to me to play for the Cosmos."
What was your first reaction to hearing that the Cosmos were coming back?
"It's a team with much history so as soon as I heard that I might get the chance to go try out I was excited. It's a team with the biggest players who played there like Pelé and [Franz] Beckenbauer . . . I know what the Cosmos mean to the whole country.''
What's your role on the team?
"I'm a really hardworking player. I hustle a lot. I work hard every day in practice with teammates that I never thought I would play with like Marcos Senna, Carlos Mendes, Hunter Freeman and a lot of others I don't want to forget. It's amazing to be with these guys."
What's your most embarrassing on- field moment?
"My mom said my first goal I scored was on my own goal so I guess that was."
In what area have the Cosmos excelled so far?
"I think possession of the ball. Most of the games, all of the game actually, we had more than 70 percent of the ball. We are a team that everybody plays somewhere important so we are a team that possesses the ball and knows how to play soccer."
Where does the team need to improve?
"I think our finishing because all of the games we have the most possession and more chances. I think we just need to put the ball more in the goal more often. We are working on that every practice . . . I know we are going to get them and the goals are going to start coming. We just have to be patient."
If you could have dinner with any three people throughout history who would they be?
"Ronaldinho, Pelé and Luis Suárez."
Why should fans come out to see the Cosmos?
"To support the New York team. We are the only team that actually plays in New York . . . The atmosphere is great, the fans are great, always respectful to us. We thank them for coming every day."