Salvatore Barone’s journey to become a professional with the New York Cosmos is an incredible story. It all started with the Brooklyn Italians of the NPSL, where he starred as a midfielder for his hometown club. At the same time he was working through the ranks at St. Francis Brooklyn.
Mirsad Miro Huseinovic has known the Brooklyn, NY native for quite some time, having coached him at Xaverian HS and also with the Italians’ NPSL team. He was quite pleased to see Barone reach the professional level.
“Sal is an exceptional young man and an excellent player. He is a player with very good skill on the ball, great vision, and technically strong. Any time you work with a player and that player makes it to the pro level, there is a feeling of satisfaction. I am very proud of Sal for putting in the hard work to get to this point and wish him great success."
His college coach at St. Francis Brooklyn, Tom Giovatto, was quick to praise a player that started as a walk-on freshman with the Terriers.
“I’m very excited for Sal. Playing professional soccer has been his dream since he was a little kid. Sal had a great career here and helped us win three NEC Championships. He put in a tremendous amount of hard work, building up his strength, and fine tuning his skills. I can’t wait to watch him play for the Cosmos.”
Barone expressed his appreciation towards Giovatto, who always believed in him as a player. He clearly grew as a player during his four years with St. Francis Brooklyn, finishing as one of the program’s all-time greats. In addition to leading the team to three conference titles and appearances in the NCAA College Cup, Barone garnered a laundry list of individual awards. That list included Northeast Conference Academic Honor Roll (2013), First Team All-Northeast Conference (2016), NEC Tournament MVP (2016), and NEC Player of the Week (October 17, 2016).
Barone also praised the work of Huseinovic and the entire Brooklyn Italians organization.
“The organization is so incredible. Playing for them was an amazing experience and the exposure was great.”
As you know the Italians are a club with a rich history, having won U.S. Open Cup championships in 1979 and 1991. The club has also produced some amazing players and coaches, including Giovanni Savarese, Juan Carlos Osorio, Tim Parker, Vincent Bezecourt, and Rafael Diaz. Simply put, the Italians have made history and become a true pipeline to the pros over the years.
Playing with the Italians in the NPSL allowed Barone to play in the U.S. Open Cup himself, including a match against the Cosmos in 2014.
“That one was extra special,” Barone commented. “We played in a packed stadium; it was just an amazing experience.”
There was no question that Barone enjoyed his time in the NPSL, but one of his best memories centered around the league’s player showcases in 2015 and 2017. It was an opportunity for great exposure and he appreciated the chance to be part of the national event.
“Being able to see and play against top players from all over the country was great. There was a diverse groups of players and the quality was definitely there. Lots of USL, NASL, and MLS coaches were there too.”
Barone would go on to sign with the Cosmos in March 2017 and they envision him as a defender, a left back that can make a difference on both sides of the ball. It’s been a transition, but it’s one that Barone is ready for. He’s always been known as a player that wants to learn and grow, someone with an incredible work ethic.
Getting to sign with the Cosmos was a very special moment for Barone.
“I’m honored to be able to play for such a great club. It’s a dream come true. It’s incredible to put on the jersey once worn by Pelé. It’s amazing to see the history behind the Cosmos.”
Savarese, now the Head Coach and Sporting Director for the Cosmos, is glad to have Barone on the roster.
“Salvatore had the opportunity to train with the senior team during our 2017 preseason. As an organization, we constantly try to develop young local talent and we feel pleased to have Sal join this year’s squad.”
Barone’s short-term goals include continuing to learn and grow from the Cosmos players and staff, gaining a stronger understanding of the professional game. Long-term Baron hopes to get into the starting 11 of the Cosmos.
A local product getting his big break with the Cosmos and playing in front of family and friends at MCU Park in Brooklyn? Barone said it best: "it's a dream come true."
Photo Credit: St. Francis Brooklyn Athletic Communications, New York Cosmos, and Peter Barone