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Cosmos decline options on three players

Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

The New York Cosmos announced on Wednesday that they've declined the options on three players who were with the club during the 2014 season. Jemal Johnson, Stephen Diaz, and Jim Nealis are all now free to sign elsewhere, though could still remain with the club by signing a new contract.

Diaz should come as no surprise, as the third-choice goalkeeper didn't see any action in 2014. Nealis made a trio of starts for the Cosmos this season, but it's really not shocking that the club might look for stronger defensive depth this offseason, especially after their success in the loan market this year.

Johnson is perhaps the only real surprise of the trio, as he made 19 appearances in 2014 after recovering from injury. He only managed one goal and two assists, and was largely considered to be a bit to cavalier with the ball, but his strength and speed from the bench often changed the shape of the opposition's defense. Still, with the signing of Lucky Mkosana earlier in the week, Johnson's niche may have already been filled.

Best wishes go out to all three as they take the next step in their careers.