Cobi Jones Reflects on Match Against Manchester United
August 9th, 2011 - As Associate Director of Soccer for The New York Cosmos, Cobi Jones had a hands on role in preparing the Cosmos team that faced Manchester United last week in the Paul Scholes Testimonal Match. Now Cobi Jones looks back at the trip to Manchester and the impact of the first Cosmos match in 25 years.
New York Cosmos: What was it like having the PDL kids on the trip, training and playing with European and American stars? How do you think the PDL kids fared?
Cobi Jones: It was a great opportunity for the PDL kids to have the chance to play at Old Trafford, not many people have had that opportunity. The kids learned a tremendous amount playing with and against top quality players. They gained knowledge about the pace of the game at the highest level and I am sure many of them found it faster than they expected.
Then there were players like Yannick Reyering who was beaten a few times but was also able to save us a few times as well. His ability to learn the game and rebound is important. Fabio Cannavaro was giving a ton of advice and doing a bit of coaching on the field for the other players in the back line like Yannick and I think he learned a lot about what it takes to be successful in this game.
NYC: How was it being back in a team setting with your former international teammates Brian McBride and Brad Friedel?
CJ: It was great to have two of the top American players ever play for us. For one, it establishes that we are an American team. Also for me to be with Brad and Brian, it was like a flashback to our playing days on the United States national team.
NYC: Were Gio Savarese, Eric Cantona and you able to take anything away from the soccer side of things moving forward ? Were you able to learn anything about what it takes to be one of the top clubs in the world?
CJ: We learned that some of our PDL players have a lot of potential. They are ready to play and some of our best players from the match were actually the PDL players.
We also learned a lot from Manchester United and they way the put this testimonial together. The club came across as a top notch organization as well as a real family club. They were willing to go the extra mile for one of their players.
NYC: How was the fan response to the return of the Cosmos in Manchester?
CJ: It was a great reception. The fans were very supportive and they knew all about the Cosmos. Their main focus was obviously Paul Scholes but overall they were very accommodating to us.
NYC: What did you make of the performance of Paul Scholes?
CJ: 'Scholesy' did great. He had a signature goal and I am very happy for him and his family. To go out like that in front of so many amazing fans, and against the returning Cosmos, must have been special.
NYC: Overall what are you taking from this trip moving forward?
CJ: For me, I learned a lot from watching how United treat their players and The Cosmos learned that there is a very good outlook for some of our younger players to continue to play and potentially be special players.
Photo Credit: Chris Brunskill/Getty Images for the NY Cosmos