November 19, 2012
FROM CAMPER TO COACH
Savarese attended Pele Soccer Camp many years ago, now he's the Cosmos coach
By Michael Lewis
|A 10-year-old Giovanni Savarese (right) with Pele in 1981.
Photo courtesy of the New York Cosmos
In 1981, a 10-year-old journeyed from Caracas, Venezuela to participate in the Pele Soccer Camp.
Little did Giovanni Savarese realize that it would be would a life-changing journey and he would wind up coaching the team three decades down the road.
Did he ever in his wildest imagination did Savarese feel he would be coaching the team someday?
"No, no, definitely not," he said on Monday. "If I would have thought about it, definitely I would have been a genius. I also felt when I was at Giants Stadium watching the Cosmos that I would be playing for the MetroStars or come here to go to school at Long Island University.
"I had a great life in Venezuela. Everything was perfect because I was playing soccer. The one thing definitely that I can assure you that back then I was sure that I was going to be a professional player and my life would be always surrounded by soccer."
The Cosmos were world renowned back then, even in the pre-internet era.
"Who didn't know about the Cosmos back then?" Savarese said. "Even in Venezuela, where I grew up, I had the pleasure of traveling to New York always knew [about] the New York Cosmos. It was such an important name. It was able to bring so many players together, famous players that everybody was aware of. For me, being able to be able to participate in the Pele Soccer Camp back then was exciting. To be able to enjoy time playing soccer, which I had in my blood all my life has been exciting. To be able to lead the technical side of this team is definitely exciting."
A former Long Island Rough Riders and MetroStars standout, Savarese went into coaching when he retired. He started out on the youth front before joining the Cosmos as its youth director. He directed the Under-23 team last summer.
Now, the big team beckons.
"Sometimes in life there are things that happen that when they are there, you must take it," Savarese said. "Coaching is a passion. I have always looked at the game as a coach even when I was a player. I have put a lot so effort the past two years to build this organization. When the opportunity came, for me it was no brainer to be able to be part of it."