Cosmos Chief Operating Officer Erik Stover may be swamped with hundreds of resumes at the moment, but he is certainly happy to get one important role within his organization filled out.
The fledgling New York Cosmos group officially announced the hiring of Giovanni Savarese as the team’s coach for the 2013 NASL season. Though he may not have had a strong hand in the decision, Stover is pleased with the hiring and considers it a vital piece to the team’s larger puzzle.
“(The vetting of Savarese) started pretty much concurrently along with my interview process,” Stover admitted, “but for me, I am very happy with the board’s decision. I think it’s a wise choice … you will see how it makes sense and how we are going to grow with it.”
The hiring will be the first of many as the Cosmos ready themselves for their NASL resurrection.
“Our focus right now is building the club,” Stover said. “We have very limited staff and that includes the sporting side and the front office side. (Hiring a coach) is sort of the tipping point to get into the rest of the sporting department. That position will be sort of a manager for us, oversee all the sporting decisions which we think is the right way, particularly in the NASL, to manage sporting decisions, player personnel decisions and anything that happens on that side of the business.”
Savarese, a legendary figure within the former Metrostars organization, has been key in establishing the youth development aspect of the Cosmos infrastructure. In fact, he played a similar role in the early years of the Red Bulls ownership.
Though he has no experience at the professional coaching level, he does have a core knowledge and understanding of what the ownership group expects on the field. The Cosmos are hoping to use his invaluable experience as a player in MLS and his years of relationships to jump start their efforts while offering him the proper backing to succeed.
“(He’s) certainly a person with experience; experience in this country, but not head coaching experience right now at this point in his career,” Stover conceded. “However, he has very deep contacts in New York, very deep contacts throughout the world of soccer to be honest and I think for us, the priority like any time you hire a coach with limited head coaching experience, is putting a good support system around him and that’s the next step. That’s what we will get really heavily into very shortly.”
For Savarese, whose first trip to New York was to attend Pele’s soccer camp as a child, the distinction of being the first coach in the new Cosmo’s history is a challenge he greatly looks forward to.
“I know how much the New York Cosmos mean to the local soccer community, understand my great responsibility and am excited about the challenges ahead,” he said. “I’m thrilled and appreciative for the opportunity and look forward to putting together a competitive team.”