Former Teammates Pay Tribute to their Captain, Barry Mahy

Published Oct 7, 2020

Since the news hit Cosmos Country that Barry Mahy passed away last week, several Cosmos alumni have shared their tributes to the captain of the club’s first champions, revealing the crucial role the indefatigable fullback played in shaping the culture of the Cosmos. 


"Barry always stuck in my mind as being the consummate captain and leader. He was serious about everything from training to competition to how we prepared, how we responded and acted on the field. He was just a natural born leader because he cared so much about the result. I learned a lot from that. He was that type of a guy. Great off the field but when he was on the field he was as serious as a heart attack. He wanted everybody to toe the line and everybody to take it seriously. I think the ’72 championship was due much to his strength and support. Barry just took over and led us to that championship."

-       Werner Roth


"Barry was our captain. I considered Barry to be a very tough deal, fullback, very solid. I enjoyed his camaraderie. He was a fun guy. Serious, but a fun guy. As a fullback he was a very direct player. During the time that I was there and the years that I saw and played against them, Barry was one of the very best fullbacks in the league. Barry was always encouraging. He was never a guy who got down on people who maybe made a mistake or whatever. I liked him because he was encouraging as a captain and, certainly, that’s what you needed. I enjoyed playing with him."

-       Randy Horton


"When I came to the New York Cosmos, in May of 1972, anytime we did something with Barry, he was the clown of the team. Very funny guy. He was a special, special guy. I mean special. He played every game 100%. After the game, we would go for a beer, and it was fun. It was very special, a lot of fun. He was for years the captain. Wonderful guy. Always fun! He was a tough cookie."

-       Josef Jelínek


"He was the captain of the team. A very positive leader. Funny. He led us to a championship in ’72. Barry off the field was a funny guy, very popular. We had a lot of respect for him. You don’t want to get into his leg! He was kind of skinny and he was tough…my God! He didn’t look tough but he was really tough. An excellent leader."

-       Roby Young


"We used to talk a lot, him and I, sometimes after the game and sometimes before the game. At times he would get on me during the game that I was probably not tough enough, not hard enough, which, I thought I was hard and tough but he would say, “No, you’ve got to be harder. You’ve got to be tougher.” And we always spoke that way. That kind of stuff. Mentoring. I like to say he was a big brother and a mentor to me. All those nice things he did for me…"

-       Tony Picciano


"He was my first captain. He was such a great guy. Barry ... We didn’t have players to look up to in my generation, right? I didn’t really know much about soccer. So when Barry was at the Generals and I first came, he was like a hero to me. Hard English professional player. We had great times. For me, the first professional player that I looked up to, that I met, was Barry Mahy. I had known about him in the German American League and when I signed with the Cosmos, he was the man. He was the captain on the field. And he was the leader off the field. He took all the young American players under his wing. I’ll never forget Barry’s first words of advice to me. Just signed with the Cosmos, and he took me aside and said, “Listen, son, the job is, your goal is, you’ve gotta win your spot in the starting XI and then don’t let anyone take it away from you.” He told us about the pride in polishing our boots after practice. He was a consummate pro. Barry taught me everything about professionalism. He was hard on the field, no doubt about it. I mean, not to me, to the opponent. He was a hard player. He taught me a couple of tricks. He said, “Hey Shep, these guys are not attacking you, you attack them.” And then off the field, he was the first one to round us up and go have a beer and bond. He taught me leadership I didn’t even know about. I’m glad that he’s at peace, I know how he suffered in the last years, and I will never forget my first captain."

-       Shep Messing


"There was nothing more to ask from Barry Mahy; he gave it all, every minute and every game. He was one of those early Cosmos who emerged from the local leagues, signed for a club nobody had ever heard of and built the foundation of one of the best there ever was.

Mind you, he wasn't gentle!  He was as tough a defender as you could wish to find and made sure the opponents knew ... and that as captain he expected everyone in a Cosmos shirt to be prepared to play to the last breath in the chase for victory.

One of the originals. One of the toughest. One of the best. Barry Mahy of the Cosmos, well remembered."

-       Clive Toye


Visitation will be Wednesday, October 7, 2020, from 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm and from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm, with an 8:00pm chapel service at Raynor & D'Andrea Funeral Home, West Sayville, 245 Main Street, West Sayville, NY 11796. The event will be live-streamed.

Donations in Barry Mahy’s memory may go to Good Shepherd Hospice, 110 Bi-County Blvd Suite 114, Farmingdale NY 11735 (phone 1-631-465-6300).

For more details, to leave a message on his Tribute Wall or plant a tree in his memory, click here.

The New York Cosmos send the Mahy family its deepest condolences.