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Maurer hunts an NASL title

Jimmy Maurer might be best known for his appearance on House Hunters International in 2012, when he and his wife decided on a place to live while he was playing in Concepcion, Chile. He hopes to forge a new reputation as the Cosmos' No. 1 goalkeeper when they open defense of their NASL title against Atlanta at Hofstra at 5 p.m. today.

This is the first time since 2011 that you will be a starting goalkeeper.

I'm extremely excited. That's something that you always work for. No matter what the situation is, you're always trying to be the starter. Having this opportunity is huge. You learn things from every situation you're in. The past few years have been great learning experiences, different situations, different countries.

How difficult was it not playing regularly the past few years?

It's definitely [difficult] when you're not getting the full league games, whether it was reserve or cup games in Chile. You learn from those experiences. They're never easy. They're extremely frustrating. Things like that prepare you to take on the role and be a leader.

Do you get recognized a lot from House Hunters?

Not all the time, but it comes up, whether we're in Manhattan or taking my son to school, people will say, "Hey, weren't you on that House Hunters show?" So it's funny.

Do they say you should have taken No. 1, 2 or 3?

A lot of my friends were all telling me that I was an idiot. "You should have picked other ones." It was a nice place. It was small, it was cheap. It was a few blocks from the city center, a few blocks from where I could walk to training. It was great.

Counting last season, the team will play three consecutive games vs. Atlanta, which is rare in soccer.

It's a little bit weird. It's been a really long off-season, so everything from last year is out the window. We look back at it with really good memories. But it's meaningless. It's how you play in your next game.

Being the Cosmos, you always have a target on your back. As defending champions, it's bigger.

It's definitely a challenge. It's not going to be easy. All other teams in the league have made some good signings. Teams are going to be up for us being the defending champions [and] the Cosmos name. You can't ask for anything more. You want to be able to play against teams at their best because that's what's going to push you to be your best.

Can this team win the championship again?

No question about it. We've got a very talented group. Even beyond that, it's a really strong group of guys, some strong characters, a mentally tough group. We'll to be able to deal with the challenges.

New York Sports