Even if the New York Cosmos are one win away from a Soccer Bowl berth, head coach Giovanni Savarese still has one eye towards next season.
A trio of players have been participating in practice with the team over the past two weeks, headlined by a former Seattle Sounders’ player. Ashani Fairclough, 21, is a Jamaican youth standout defender who has turned heads in short time with the Cosmos.
“Ashani Fairclough is a player that has played in MLS,” Savarese said after Thursday’s practice. “We are looking at players all the time. He is a potential player that is training for us and we are looking already for next year. While we are participating now, we are still exploring options for next year. We invite players like this to participate that we feel would fit in with what we are doing.
“He is a potential player for the future.”
The sentiment was echoed by Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid who heralded his offseason acquisition prior to the start of the MLS season. “Ashani is very physically gifted,” he said. “He’s a fast and powerful defender and has great potential for the future.”
The Jamaican defender made 73 appearances for the University of South Florida from 2009-12, earning a goal and 10 assists. He was also named captain of the 2007-08 Jamaican U-17 National Team and was the youngest player on their U-20 team.
A pair of local developmental talents are also being assessed for next season, including forward Alejandro Escudero and an unidentified midfielder who goes by the name of Andres.
“(Andres) just came here,” Savarese said. “He is a young player. He is just developing, a young player like Escudero, here to be in the environment, to grow, to see where they can be in the future.”