Queens has produced some of the biggest and brightest stars across all forms of entertainment. Two players on the world-famous New York Cosmos soccer club have called Queens their home since arriving in the United States as children.
David Diosa and Sebastian Ignacio Guenzatti Varela both came to America in the early 2000s as young boys with the dream of playing the game they loved: soccer. As their families settled down in Queens, their time spent growing, learning and playing soccer in the “World’s Borough” has had a major impact on them making it to the professional ranks.
Diosa moved into Jackson Heights from Colombia with his mother and sister in 2003 at the age of 10. Moving to a new country at such a young age created some difficulties for Diosa, but living in Jackson Heights helped him acclimate to the U.S. and hone his soccer skills.
“It was hard to get used to a new city and a new county,” Diosa said. “The language was a barrier, too. For the first couple of months I was sad. But, as a kid it is easier to learn the language so I went to school and learned English which helped me get new friends.”
“I think it is a great neighborhood. It was a good neighborhood for me to arrive,” Diosa said of Jackson Heights. “There are a lot of Latinos — especially Colombians — there, so that was helpful for me. I started playing soccer in Flushing Meadows Park. I have a lot of good memories there. I played with [Blau Weiss] Gottschee and they helped me out a lot. I wouldn’t be here without them.”
Diosa was a member of the Cosmos Under-18 and Under-23 teams, where he played for current Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese, and he signed his first contract with the first team on July 5, 2013.
“My teammates help me out a lot, and they are more than just teammates; they’re friends,” Diosa said. “I think because of them I’ve progressed a lot. Every year I want to win the championship and help the team as much as I can. We have a really good team; I expect us to win a championship.”
Guenzatti has a similar story to Diosa, leaving his native Uruguay in 2001 at 9 years old to move to College Point, where he struggled with learning a new language, new customs and a new way of life.
“It was hard at first,” Guenzatti said. “I missed all my friends because I grew up playing in the streets all day and here is a different lifestyle. But as time passed by, it was a great change.”
As Guenzatti grew better accustomed to the way of life in the U.S., he grew his game by playing soccer in his new hometown.
“We used to get together with all my school friends and soccer friends, playing in the hockey rink in College Point before they turned it into the beautiful soccer field it is today,” Guenzatti said. “My parents still live in College Point and I go almost every day.”
After graduating from Francis Lewis High School in Fresh Meadows, where he received an honorable mention in the 2009 ESPN RISE Fall Boys Soccer All-America Team, Guenzatti went back to Uruguay to play soccer professionally. In 2012, he got the call to play for the Cosmos and signed with the team on July 5, 2013.
“I was excited to play for such a big club,” Guenzatti said of signing with the Cosmos. “It was an amazing experience. Before that we already knew who the Cosmos were, so me being able to play with the great players has just been incredible and a pleasure.”