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Giovanni Savarese to Coach NASL’s New York Cosmos

2012 November 19
by Brian Quarstad

A little more than a week after the New York Cosmos named Erik Stover as the COO of the organization, the former Red Bull man has announced the hiring of the team’s first coach. Giovanni Savarese, another former Red Bull employee, has been tagged for the position and will lead the team through their inaugural 2013 season in the North American Soccer League.

“With his stature and connections in the New York area, combined with his eye for talent and leadership ability, Gio is the perfect candidate to lead the Cosmos back to the playing field,” said Stover.

Savarese, who grew up in his native Venezuela, is well familiar with the New York area. He went to college at Long Island University and played for the Long Island Rough Riders of the USISL along side Tony Meola and Chris Armas, scoring 36 goals in two years with team. He then moved to the New York MetroStars for the first 3 years of the club’s existence. There he scored 44 goals and played alongside another current NASL coach, Manny Lagos in 1996-97. Lagos has guided the Minnesota Stars since 2010. The prolific forward Savarese also spent time playing for English sides Milwall and Swansea City.

The 42-year-old Savarese turned his attention toward coaching and in 2005 he went back to the now renamed MLS side, Red Bulls. There he served as the head of their youth development program, eventually taking on a coaching role with the organization’s US Development Academy team.

Most recently, Savarese has been heading up the Cosmos Academy and managed their USL PDL team.

The Cosmos will start play with the NASL in 2013 but there has been speculation on whether the team will be ready to play in the spring of the year with so many details yet to be worked out. Rumors have floated that they may not be ready to join until the 2nd half of the split season the the league is moving forward with.

The organization has said they will be playing on Long Island at Hofstra University. The field recently had the turf replaced eliminating the American football lines but lacrosse lines are still prominent.

12 Responses
  1. Mac permalink
    November 19, 2012

    Given the deep pockets of the owners, and intention to become a global player, this seems like a very restrained choice. Coaching hire is akin to coaching hires across the league. A strength to the hire, in relation to current development of NASL, is Savarese’s familiarity and experience with the metro area on a number of levels. While he’ll have a higher ceiling for spending on players than other teams in the league, this seems like spending won’t be skewed multiple times higher than other squads. This has the feel of an organization that is not going to try to be moving into MLS in two or three years.
    O’Brien has made statements about re-establishing the Cosmos brand as a world-wide superclub (as much as they ever were), akin to Man U., RM, and Barca. The prospect of MLS having a limiting spending cap for the forseeable future may have the Cosmos moving to develop their organization at less than breakneck pace. This feels like a more methodical approach to building the organization with an eye how leagues in the U.S. will continue to develop and let the Cosmos grow their options.

  2. November 19, 2012

    Mac, I haven’t heard any such thing about the Cosmos re-establishing the brand as a world-wide superclub akin to Man U., RM, and Barca. In fact I have heard mainly quotes of them saying that there had to be reasonable expectations for the club playing in the NASL. Can you give me a link to such quotes?

  3. BEASTOFNEWYORK permalink
    November 19, 2012

    Mac, also why would a team stay in NASL, Cosmos will be in MLS in 2016 till the NY2 stadium is ready.

  4. Mac permalink
    November 19, 2012

    Shame on me for not tracking down the mega club comments before noting them. I know I’ve read such statements, but they well may have come from the 2.0/2010 management group. That said, as calm, measured and reasoned as O’Brian’s statements have been, let me see if I can dig up interview/s with him that left me with the impression that as likely as ending up in MLS is, it does not seem like a sure thing.
    I think the Cosmos will probably end up in a sharp stadium at the Queens location, in MLS. I think it would be great on five different levels. But there alot of variables at work here, involving alot of players (non-atheletes) in different places with different interests, and you never know.
    Still, I’d put 5 bucks on Cosmos in MLS by 20somethin’ or other.

  5. Mike permalink
    November 20, 2012

    I’d like to see that link myself, as I would have to question his sanity if he actually made such statements.

  6. Norbert permalink
    November 20, 2012

    Here ya go. Think it was mainly a negotiating tactic w/ Garber over the price of admission to MLS.

  7. Mike permalink
    November 21, 2012

    Perhaps my reading comprehension skills are lacking, but I don’t see anything there about them wanting to become a global player and a world-wide super club. Attempting to market a BRAND NAME globally is hardly the same thing, and even in that respect, I’d say he’s delusional.

  8. November 21, 2012

    Norbert, I agree with Mike. He said he wants to be at the levels of Real Madrid and Manchester United but that feels a bit like hyperbole for the article. When he talks real numbers he said, “Then we have to hire the best team we can afford within the capacity of our business.”

    Mike, I partially agree with your Brand Name comment. On the one hand you have to have the players who have global reach and appeal and I’m not sure that is going to happen on their budget for now. Perhaps in the future?

    But the reality is the Cosmos name does drive global recognition. Set up some Google alerts for New York Cosmos and another for Atlanta Silverbacks or your Rochester Rhinos and see how many more articles you find that are written that reference the Cosmos and how many of those articles come from Europe. Even though I am a child born of the first NASL, so to speak, I don’t for a minute buy into all the NASL 2.0 and picking up the old NASL team names as instant success theory. However, the Cosmos name does pull weight and the fact that an expansion NASL 2.0 team had a story written about them by Roger Bennitt for ESPN is a testimony to this in itself.

  9. Strikers Return permalink
    November 21, 2012

    BQ is spot on. I think anyone is naive to believe that at the moment you can just dust off the Cosmos brand and have it instantly be as meaningful as it was in 1980. However, it still does have some cache as BQ gave a good example for. And in terms of marketing, all other things being equal, trying to sell a product with a name there is at least SOME power and recognition behind is going to be easier then selling one with NO power or recognition behind. A team named the Cosmos in NY is starting out a few steps ahead of a team with generic, never-before-used brand X. How big those steps are, how much of a difference it is, well that could be debated. But there is SOMETHING to it. It also helps that the Cosmos were THE brand of North American soccer from the late 70’s until, well, maybe even still today depending on who you ask.

  10. November 21, 2012

    @Mike^: Come on Playah, don’t be so pessimistic! You should try being more like the painfully annoying and immature Rowdies fan (just sans those two, undesirable traits) that scolded me a few months back. The Cosmos. are going to be the vanguard franchise that will help usher the NASL into a brave, new and exiting era. He was talking about how the owners bringing a several “big names” like Frank Lampard to play in the US second division.

    After the conversation deteriorated into a marathon session of telling me that I don’t know anything about soccer (which quite honestly, I readily admit–I just got tired of hearing it from that clown), I went back to focusing on my Islanders getting dominated by the Rowdies that night at Al Lang.

    My point, young man is do NOT be like me. I have now seen the error of my ways; I will no longer dare to doubt the power of a classic, iconic brand that was made famous by the rock star like figures who “partied together AND played together”…

    Have more faith. A bright and glorious age is dawning… 🙂

  11. Mike permalink
    November 21, 2012


    Okay, that shot at my Rhinos was uncalled for, it’s go time!!! (just kidding!). Your point is well taken, and I didn’t mean to suggest that the Cosmos name has no marketing substance internationally. I agree that even today, it does have instant name recognition value. As you said also, player name recognition will be lacking. Pelé and Beckenbauer aren’t coming out of retirement anytime soon. Even though the icing looks and tastes good, there has to be some cake underneath to support it. O’Brien appears to be WAAAY overestimating that name value. Global Soccer fans may be a bit overextended with fervent fervor, but stupid they ain’t. That and his 15k attendance mention struck me as a teensy bit scary. I thought the same thing when the new Stars owner talked about an 8-10k average potential. Such illusions of grandeur helped put NASL 1.0 into its dirt nap. New start-up franchises should be thinking baby steps and modest goals. The guy over in Alberta learned that lesson.


    You calling me pessimistic homefry? Me? Naaah! You must be mistaking me for Strikers old chum, that retired lawyer bloke. What was his name again?

    Anywho, I think I know who that painfully annoying and immature Rowdies fan is. If I ever start to become “more like him”, even without the annoying and immature parts, I’ll stab myself in the eardrums with a rusty ice pick. By the way, how’s that classic, iconic re-branding thing working out for them?

    I wish I was still a “young man”, but I’m a child born of the first NASL myself, so to speak (what does that actually mean anyway?). You’re right though, I should be less crotchety and see the new NASL for the box of fluffy ducks that it is. The new Cosmos will lead them into the promise land. Goals, greed, girls, and that’s just the first half! Hmm, why does that sound familiar? Anyway, they may as well go balls to the wall and re-brand to the Kicks, Drillers, and Chiefs. Heck, while they’re at it, bring back Team America!

    P.S. What’s an “exiting era”? So close…so close. What a shame!

  12. November 21, 2012

    ” but I’m a child born of the first NASL myself, so to speak (what does that actually mean anyway?)”

    Ha, ha! It means my life mission would have fallen somewhere else if it had not been for the NASL 1.0. Clear and simple my man MIke. And by the way, Happy Thanksgiving to you and all the IMS readers. Particularly Yanki Boy who lives and breathes the game at the grass roots level. I pale in comparison to Yanki. All bow to Yanki with a big gobble, gobble, gobble.

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