NEW YORK - Striker Hans Denissen won't be in uniform when the New York Cosmos take the pitch on April 13 for the season opener, but the 30-year-old is recovering from a knee injury than expected.
"Hans Denissen...is making great progress," Cosmos Head Coach Gio Savarese told reporters at the team's media day. "We feel very confident that soon he will be fit to play. He's done very well during the preseason to get to this point. I think he's ahead of where we expected. We feel very confident where he's going to be."
Denissen, who had spent the past two years with the NASL's San Antonio Scorpions, has spent the preseason recovering from a knee injury he suffered last season. The ailment kept him from the final four games of the 2013 season and kept him from winning the NASL's Golden Boot Award.
The good news for the Cosmos is that he concurred with Savarese that his recovery has been going well.
It's going smooth, Denissen said about his recovery. "The thing is it takes time, but every day now I feel that I'm progressing a lot better than I thought I would be. So every day this is going to be a game to me. Every training session is a game from now on.
"So for me it's just important to train everyday and recover."
Denissen told Twice a Cosmo that Savarese and himself talk everyday about how he is feeling, but there is no timetable on when he will make his Cosmos debut. "It could be next week. It could be two weeks or it could be a little bit more, but we'll see how the knee feels," he added.
The Cosmos signed Denissen in early January to a contract. The details of the deal were not released, due to club policy, but it drew harsh criticism from Denissen's former team.
Scorpions president Howard Cornfield called Denissen's contract with New York "ludicrous" in an interview with the San Antonio Express-News.
"I'm not going to critique the way these people run their franchise," Cornfield told the paper in January. "I don't like the way some of their decisions affect us."
Denissen was aware of the comments made, and thankful for his time with the Scorpions, but was looking at his time in New York as a new chapter in his life.
"I read some stuff about it, but it's up to me to decide where I go," Denissen said. "I had a great time the two years I've been there in San Antonio, so it was a tough decision to leave... This is a new chapter in my life. A new chapter in my career and this is a new part of it. A new beginning. The Cosmos have something to prove and I have something to prove as well.
"And for me that's a good thing to start over here and win something. And mean something to New York and the Cosmos."
The Cosmos season opener is eight days away, and while it isn't likely that Denissen plays in the match, he is starting to realize the season is nearing closer. "It hasn't sunk in yet, but it will be in the next couple of days and the more it comes closer the better," he added.