Giovanni Savarese: 'It was the right time for a new challenge'

Reached by telephone Wednesday night, former Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese talked willingly and didn’t contradict reports of his pending hire by another team in another league.

His departure from the NASL Cosmos had been officially announced earlier in the day and he didn’t directly address negotiations to take over as head coach of the Portland Timbers in the wake of Caleb Porter’s resignation in late November.

“We are still talking about things, discussing things, and I can’t tell you when everything will be finished,” said Savarese, a former Venezuelan international who has built an impressive coaching resume during the last decade.

Savarese, 46, was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and played college ball at Long Island University before starting an 18-year pro career that included MLS stints with the MetroStars, New England Revolution and San Jose Earthquakes. He started his coaching career with the MetroStars youth system in 2005 and also worked for them as an assistant coach before being hired to direct the Cosmos youth academy in 2010.

When the Cosmos launched their NASL team in November 2012 for the 2013 season, he was promoted to head coach. He and the Cosmos won NASL titles in 2013, 2015 and 2016. His last game in charge was a 2-0 loss to San Francisco Deltas in the championship game Nov. 12.

"This was probably the most difficult season I've had with the Cosmos," said Savarese after an early penalty kick and stoppage-time clincher had decided the final at Kezar Stadium. "The guys worked it out to make it to the final and I'm very proud of them."

His reputation as a skillful, clever player and his knowledge, personality, and coaching success linked him to several MLS jobs during his time with the Cosmos. The Portland opening and the NASL’s uncertain future prompted his decision.

“I must thank the Cosmos for seven and a half wonderful years,” said Savarese during the phone conversation. “The players gave me everything I could ask for as a coach and the organization could not have been more helpful and supportive. I am very grateful for everything and I only wish we could have accomplished more.

 “I just felt it was the right time for a new challenge, a new opportunity, and hopefully I will get the chance to talk about it very soon."

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