With the Portland Timbers officially introducing Giovanni Savarese as their new coach earlier this week, we took the time to get to know more about him.
It’s an understatement to say people were surprised when former Portland Timbers coach Caleb Porter stepped down last November. The 42-year old had signed a long-term contract extension at the start of 2016 and was fresh off leading the team to a first place finish in the Western Conference.
Porter left behind an impressive legacy, which included a Coach of the Year award in 2013 and the Timbers’ first ever MLS Cup in 2015. He finished with a record of 60-50-52 in five seasons at the club.
The man charged with living up to Porter’s reputation is Giovanni Savarese, who was named as the third head coach in the club’s MLS history. Described by Timbers’ owner Merritt Paulson as an intelligent, attack-minded coach, we decided to learn more about Savarese:
1) Savarese had an extensive playing career as a forward starting in 1986, when he made his professional debut at the age of 15 for Venezuelan club Deportivo Italia. In 1990, he decided to move to the United States to play at Long Island University, in Brooklyn, going on to become one of the top scorers in school history, with 50 goals.
2) The 46-year-old’s history with MLS starting during the inaugural player draft, when he was selected in the ninth round by the New York/New Jersey MetroStars. Savarese played for the Metrostars between 1996-98 and set the club record for career league goals with 41, which was only finally broken in 2009.
3) Savarese also starred for the New England Revolution and San Jose Earthquakes in MLS. Apart from this, he spent time in Europe, playing in Italy and the United Kingdom, as well as representing Venezuela 30 times at the international level, scoring 10 goals in the process.
4) After finishing his playing career in 2004 with the Long Island Rough Riders, the Caracas, Venezuela native returned to the Metrostars. He became head of the club’s youth development program and enjoyed great success, before being fired in 2007, due to philosophical differences with the new Red Bulls ownership.
5) Savarese joined the New York Cosmos as academy director in 2010, before taking over as head coach in 2012 and leading the club through a period of great success. This included a 65-26-44 record, the most goals in the NASL during his five season in charge and — most importantly of all — three championships.
No doubt the Timbers will be hoping Savarese can continue his run of success in Portland. Renowned as a student of the game who has always been interested in tactics, the stage is certainly set for him to succeed.
In that respect, Savarese is thrilled with the opportunity. As reported by Timbers.com, he said:
“I am both excited and proud to become the head coach of the Portland Timbers, and this is an ideal fit and outstanding opportunity for me as I take the next step in my coaching career. The passion, ambition and support surrounding this club is truly inspiring, and I am sincerely honored and grateful for this opportunity to lead it on the pitch and to build on the club’s history of success for the community and the incredible supporters of the Portland Timbers.”