Still under Cosmos contract, Savarese carves out new role

IMAGE, DAVE MARTINEZ, EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by DAVE MARTINEZ

The New York Cosmos’ midtown office is a ghost town. Members of ownership are joined by a handful of executive staffers, tending to the day-to-day business of the club — or what is left of it.

However, there is one staff member who is still busy at work — even if he never steps foot in the Manhattan compound.

That man is Giovanni Savarese.

EoS has learned that the longtime Cosmos Head Coach and Sporting Director remains under contract with the team. And while that may be news onto itself, it is what Savarese is doing with his time that will raise a few eyebrows.

Devoid of any specific role with the team, Savarese has given himself an agenda: playing matchmaker for his former players.  Savarese, who is no stranger to the transfer market, is using his respectable network of worldwide contacts to find homes for his displaced players.

This isn’t a duty placed on Savarese by ownership, but rather a personal undertaking. As EoS reported last week, all Cosmos players have been released from their contracts, meaning any move from here on out does not fill Savarese’s coffers or that of Cosmos ownership. Instead, it is a continuation of the “family culture” which Savarese has spearheaded since taking the coaching reins in 2013.

The longtime Cosmos boss has long balanced the economics of football with the best interests of his players. In fact, some moves have shown so much deference to the individual that Savarese has, at times, been subject to criticism.

As an example, the Venezuelan boss spearheaded an effort to land star U.S. prospect Haji Wright with the team, assisting his development ahead of an inevitable move to Schalke. Instead of taking the opportunity for a transfer fee, Savarese let Wright move to Germany on a free transfer as a sign of “good will” to future developmental products. Likewise, he has stood out of the way of players who sought to improve their careers in the transfer market. One such instance was that of Walter Restrepo, who left the club for a move to the Philadelphia Union — without resistance from the Cosmos ownership or directors.

With that kind of history, it is no surprise to see the longtime Cosmos boss finding his niche with the players he once led.

Savarese is under contract with the Cosmos through 2017. Whether he rides out the entirety of his deal remains to be seen. Until then, his role will be as it was – on the side of his players.