Kaan Ilgin has made a team. Now, he wants to make the A team.
After trying out for the New York Cosmos B team last week, the Mattituck High School senior was told he had earned a spot on the second team, which will play in the National Premier Soccer League this season.
While the midfielder-forward was quite happy he earned a spot on Cosmos B, he has some higher aspirations as well — the A team — the side that performs in the North American Soccer League.
“I’ll probably try out for more teams during the summer if I don’t sign with the first team,” he said. “If I sign with the first team I’ll probably stay with the Cosmos. It looks like I’ll sign with the first team, though.”
Needless to say, the Cosmos B team coach, Alecko Eskandarian, was impressed with Ilgin’s performance.
“His technical ability is fantastic and natural attacking instincts are fun to watch,” Eskandarian said in an email interview. “He still needs a lot of work but he definitely has the potential to succeed.”
Ilgin admitted the tryouts were a bit daunting at first, given the number of candidates who showed up.
“It was kind of hard,” he said. “There was like 300 to 400 players there. I was scared because they were all older than me. They were asking me how old I was and I was like, ‘I am 17.’ … I showed that I was better than them.”
Ilgin, a key member of the Tuckers’ New York State Class B championship team last year, just went out and did his thing, which was setting up teammates on goals or scoring them himself.
Afterwards, Ilgin and the rest of the prospective players received feedback from the Cosmos coaches and officials.
“At the end of the tryout, every coach came up to me … especially John Fitzgerald, and he was like, ‘You impressed every single coach here.’ That was like good.”
Ilgin then ran over to his mother and grandmother.
“They were so happy,” he said. “They started crying.”
The Cosmos B schedule shouldn’t interfere with Ilgin’s high school commitments. He is to graduate from Mattituck High School in June. The team is set train Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m. and Thursdays at 7 p.m., with games on Saturdays and Sundays.
“We have already identified the core group of players and will begin training next week,” Eskandarian said in an email. “We will look to finalize the roster in the next two weeks. We have spoken to some international players who have expressed interest in playing for Cosmos B as well, so we will look to incorporate those players into the roster.”
The Cosmos B team’s full schedule has not been released yet, although the squad will begin NPSL play against the Brooklyn Italians at MCU Park in Coney Island in Brooklyn on Saturday, May 2, immediately following the Cosmos’ NASL encounter against the Ottawa Fury at 7 p.m.