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Gio Savarese ’94 is Back in Brooklyn With New York Cosmos

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There’s a sense of homecoming about the New York Cosmos’ 2017 season, as the team plays its home matches at Brooklyn’s MCU Park. The move brings the Cosmos back to New York City, where stars like Pelé, Franz Beckenbauer, and Giorgio Chinaglia made the team a cultural phenomenon during the mid-1970s.

The move also brings Giovanni Savarese back to the borough where his soccer adventure in the United States began, as a standout student athlete at LIU Brooklyn.

“For me, it’s a great feeling to be back to a borough that was the first place that I arrived when I came from Italy,” the Cosmos’ head coach said.  “Brooklyn has grown so much, and being part of this development of Brooklyn is very special for us.”

Savarese has also grown since his days as a star for the Blackbirds. After earning All-American honors as a senior in 1993 and scoring 50 goals in four years, Savarese won a USISL Championship with the Long Island Rough Riders before being drafted by the New York/New Jersey MetroStars (now the New York Red Bulls) in the Major League Soccer Inaugural Player Draft. He scored the first eight goals in team history, and went on to play 116 matches in MLS – along with stints in England, Italy, and his native Venezuela – and has guided the Cosmos to three NASL titles in four seasons as head coach.

For Savarese, the roots of those success lie at LIU, with his own coach, Arnold Ramirez.

“He cared so much about us,” Savarese said. “He was someone who was there all the time for all the players he coached. For me, that was a great lesson from a young age, to see how much he cared for us, not only from the standpoint of doing well in soccer, but that we advanced with our studies and in our lives, and that we developed as people.”

The borough itself, and New York City as a whole, also proved to be excellent teachers.

“New York is a city that teaches a lot,” Savarese said. “You’re exposed to so many different things, and it allows you to mature very quickly. It makes you become a better-rounded person, because you’re able to come into contact with so many different cultures and religions. All of those things allowed me to become a better teacher and a better coach at the professional level. Having the experience that I’ve had in New York has been a very important part of my development.”

Savarese has always enjoyed returning to Brooklyn and sharing his experience with the current Blackbirds, as he did last Februrary, when the Cosmos faced LIU Brooklyn in a friendly exhibition at LIU Field.

“It’s always great to go back to play against LIU or go back to the campus,” Savarese said. “There are so many great memories.”

Now, as Savarese makes his home in Brooklyn again with the Cosmos, he’s looking to add to those memories.

“Being back in Brooklyn,” Savarese said, “I think it will be a great situation. It’s a borough that has so much diversity. There are so many people who care about soccer.”

Posted 06/05/2017

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