Cosmos’ Savarese teases meeting “that could change future of our club”

(Image, Empire of Soccer)

With the enthusiasm and delivery of a common salutation, New York Cosmos Coach and Technical Director Giovanni Savarese apologized for starting his press conference a few minutes late Tuesday afternoon — and dropped a major tease to kick off the questioning.

“Just coming out of a meeting that could change the future of our club,” he casually blurted.

What that meeting was about is anyone’s guess as Savarese only offered, “We are in a good situation, we are on a good path for what we are trying to accomplish and hopefully we can know sooner than later what we are searching for, that is going to consolidate for what we want to build in the future.”

What can it be?  Well, the Cosmos have had several potential projects delayed over the past months that could be of the “franchise changing” variety.  Their chase for former Real Madrid legend Raul Gonzalez has been well documented.    Both club and player have been flirting with each other since late last year.  This week, that flirtation came to a head with the former Al Sadd player attending Saturday night’s 0-0 draw against Indy Eleven.  With the NASL roster freeze taking effect this past Monday, sources have told EOS the Cosmos are aiming for Raul’s arrival next year.

“Raul is observing everything in the area and he is assessing our club and everything he has seen,” Savarese said.  “The good thing is to have had a player of his caliber in our stadium with his family, with the ambitions to be a part of our project.  It was a good thing for him to be there to get to know more about our project, where we play, our fans and everything we are doing.  I think it was a positive day.”

Of course, Raul is not the only pending, franchise-changing project on the horizon.  The Cosmos’ Belmont Stadium proposal is nearing its second year since being submitted to the Empire State Development Corp. for consideration in the revitalizing of an underdeveloped property on the border of Queens and Nassau County.  With the coming Governor’s election, there has been little support or talk of the bid from affected politicians. 

However, in a recent supporters’ forum, Cosmos COO Erik Stover expressed confidence that the club would hear something by “November or December” regarding their bid, adding the Cosmos submission is the likely favorite amongst other offerings. 

“The last thing Nassau County needs is another strip mall,” Stover deadpanned.

Considering Savarese’s title in the organization, player acquisitions would certainly be under his purview. However, the former Metrostars striker is also a valued part of the club’s leadership. It would be no surprise if he were involved in talks over Belmont as well.

For now, whatever the meetings may be about, Savarese is certainly pleased with how talks are going.

“Definitely,” he said, “we have been having some good meetings”

  • Billy

    Red Bull fan here, I wouldn’t mind if they got that stadium done. More soccer in the area is a good thing in my opinion, and with their own stadium they could raise soccers profile on Long Island. Though I think they may be going overboard with the proposed stadium size. If memory serves, I think they wanted to build a 25,000 seat stadium. I think they’d
    be better served with a smaller stadium.

    • Kitty

      Cosmos fan here. I totally back your comment. A stadium deal would be fantastic news!

      And I definitely agree with you that 25,000 is way too big for a fledgling club. The Cosmos are still gathering support here on Long Island (it’s hard to make a dent in a busy sports market and in area whose politics and infrastructure favor cars over mass transit), so a largely empty stadium would be really bad optics. I’m guessing they have high hopes for national team games…still, 15,000 seats and leaving room to expand is wiser.

      • Billy

        Leaving room to expand is probably the way to go. In any event, whether it be 25,000 or 15,000, I would just be happy that something worthwhile would be going up in that absolute waste of space parking lot next to Belmont.

  • If I could just give a case for the stadium size.
    25,000 by all means would be too big at the onset. But as the ownership group has always said, you have to think long term. The Cosmos are not looking to build a stadium to have a club for a few years.They envision the club to be around for a long time. I think the reason why they are building a stadium so big is because its easier to build something bigger and work towards filling it rather than build something small and find yourself in a predicament when you can’t hold what your demand is. Keep in mind, I am talking years down the line. Lets not forget that Red Bull Arena was empty for many years before they starting filling their stadium consistently.

    • Zardoz

      Build 25k for long term, tarp off 10k in short term. Can always open it up for the inevitable big name friendlies the Cosmos will stage.

      If this goes thru, add FTL’s new uber rich owners – stuff about to change in NASL. MLS gonna have to do some thinkin’.

  • Andrew Bissonette

    I’m worried about the possibility of a badly oversized stadium as well. A 25k seater for a team that just had its attendance go from being a solid 7-8k down to about 4k in a matter of 1 season. Then they go from championship winner their first year to a team struggling to hold on to their playoff spot this year. I’m worried this team won’t be around for the long haul.

    • 99 Problems

      Worry about your own problems !

  • Andrew, blame it on the marketing that’s why their attendance has stunk. They have made a small push the last couple of weeks and this past weekend they were back up in the 6000 range attendance wise. If this stadium is approved, its a game changer no matter what the size of it.

    • Billy

      I agree, get that stadium deal done and I think attendance rises.

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