Former Cosmos Michael Lahoud praises Gio Savarese

Michael Lahoud Cosmos

by JENNIFER X. WILLIAMS

New York – A familiar face-turned-foe was present for Sunday’s NASL Championship Final — and he had plenty to say about Cosmos head coach, Giovanni Savarese.

“It’s a little bittersweet, but I believe everything happens for a reason,” Lahoud tells EoS. “I’m happy for the guys… you know, it’s a good group of guys.

“I’m happy for Gio — he’s an amazing coach and an even better human being.”

From supporting youth initiatives in his native Sierra Leone to dabbling in some on-air roles, Michael Lahoud is pretty busy off the pitch. The Miami FC midfielder was at St. John’s to receive his NASL Humanitarian of the Year award and perhaps even cheer on his former club, the New York Cosmos. Lahoud started his 2016 campaign on loan to the Cosmos from the Philadelphia Union. In late May, he was recalled by the Union — but he never made his way to Philadelphia. Instead, he was transferred to Miami FC.

The 30-year old called his time in New York the “best possible preparation” for the 305. In fact, when the Cosmos were in town to face Miami, Lahoud met Giovanni Savarese because he wanted thank the head coach enough for everything he had done.  

Savarese’s response touched Lahoud, who said it meant the world to him to be validated by such an amazing coach.

“He told me I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be and that he was really proud of me,” he recalled.

Earlier this month, Grant Wahl reported Savarese has garnered interest from Minnesota FC. The NASL side is set to join MLS in 2017 and was a candidate for the job. Several other opportunities since have been reported.

Lahoud who played six MLS seasons believes Savarese could make the coaching transition to the first-tier league, saying: “I think everybody in the soccer world sees it as well. Whether he does sooner rather than later will be more of a business decision than an ability one.”

The first player Savarese ever signed, Carlos Mendes said post match the team had never internally discussed winning their recent championship in honor of their head coach in case this is indeed Savarese’s last season in New York.  Mendes maintained the notion had never even crossed his mind and the team was focused on capturing their third title of the reboot.

He did add, however, that Savarese is “a huge reason part of the club and the reason why I came here.”  

When asked if he planned on coaching the club to a fourth NASL title, the always collected coach quickly composed himself and said, “Right now, I have to enjoy tonight and then we’ll think about the future.”