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The Long Island-born defender opted to move back to the New York area after a season with the Columbus Crew.

The New York Cosmos began the process of player acquisitions on Tuesday, signing local product and former New York Red Bulls and Columbus Crew defender Carlos Mendes as the club's first professional player.

The 31-year old Mendes, a native of Minneola, N.Y., played seven seasons in MLS with the Red Bulls and one with the Columbus Crew, making 158 appearances in all. He was out of contract after the 2012 season and has chosen to sign with the Cosmos of the North American Soccer League, who will begin play in 2013 and are aiming to become the New York area's second Major League Soccer team.

Mendes becomes the second former New York player to join the Cosmos in as many months, after former Metrostars striker and Venezuelan Giovanni Savarese was named the reincarnated franchise's first head coach in November.

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