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Cosmos Coaching Staff Signs Extensions

The New York Cosmos announced on Tuesday  that Head Coach

Giovanni Savarese interacts with a young Cosmos Fan. Photo by: Stacy Podelski

Giovanni Savarese interacts with a young Cosmos Fan. Photo by: Stacy Podelski

has been named as the club’s Sporting Director, in addition to his coaching duties.

Assistant coaches Carlos Llamosa and Alecko Eskandarian, goalkeeper coach Guillermo Valencia and fitness coach Simone Lucchesi have also signed contract extensions. As per club policy, terms of the deals were not disclosed.

In further moves, Luke Sassano has been promoted to Assistant Sporting Director, while Jack Gaeta will assume the role of Manager of Team Operations.

“We’re delighted to reach these agreements,” said Chief Operating Officer Erik Stover. “Continuity is always important and our coaches did a wonderful job last year so we wanted to ensure we kept the staff intact.”

Savarese was originally named head coach of the Cosmos on Nov. 19, 2012 and given the task of guiding the team during its first year back in competitive play for nearly 30 years. A former Venezuelan international and respected youth and academy coach, Savarese had never previously served as a head coach in the professional ranks. He led the Cosmos to a 9-4-1 regular season record and undefeated home record, winning the NASL Fall Season Championship and the Soccer Bowl title. Savarese agreed to a contract extension on Oct. 22, 2013 and will now also be in charge of all scouting and player personnel decisions.

Llamosa, 44, is a Colombian-American who emigrated to the United States in 1991 after playing five years of professional soccer in his native Colombia. Once settled in the U.S., Llamosa began playing in the A-League for the New York Centaurs and Fever, before being picked up in the 1997 MLS Supplemental Draft by DC United. He played 10 years in MLS and also had 29 caps for the U.S. national team between 1998-2002. After retiring, Llamosa spent four years as an assistant coach at Chivas USA before joining the Cosmos on Feb. 7, 2013.

Eskandarian, 31, is a Montvale, NJ native and son of an original New York Cosmos defender – Andranik Eskandarian. Prior to his joining the Cosmos, Eskandarian served as the Philadelphia Union’s youth technical director. Before that he enjoyed a successful MLS career, where he played for DC United, Toronto FC, Real Salt Lake, Chivas USA and the Los Angeles Galaxy. In 2004, he won the MLS Cup with DC United and was named the MLS Cup MVP. Eskandarian retired in 2010 from concussion-related symptoms.

Valencia, 39, joined the Cosmos last season after coaching the keepers of the Seton Hall University men’s soccer team. He works with the USSF as U-18 keeper coach and assists with the U-20 keepers as well. He has also coached the keepers at New York University (’07-’10) and Columbia University (’02-’05 and 2011). Valencia had a 11-year professional career in the Colombian Primera playing for, amongst other teams, America de Cali. He also played professionally in Mexico (including Potros Marte) as well as in the United States (Westchester Flames ‘03-’04; Long Island Roughriders ’05).

Lucchesi, 42, was born and raised in Massa Marittima, Italy before moving to New York in the summer of 2013 to join the rebooted New York Cosmos. As a strength and conditioning fitness coach, Lucchesi worked for some of the top soccer clubs in Italy, such as U.C. Sampdoria, Lecce and Lazio.

Gaeta, 42, is a New York native of Italian descent who was raised in the New York soccer community. Having excelled in New York as a top youth player, Gaeta continued his playing career when he was admitted to Columbia University where he became a four-year starter for their nationally-ranked Men’s Soccer Program. Gaeta was well-known for combining with legendary Icelandic international striker Rikki Dadason, as they formed one of the top-scoring partnerships in the Ivy League. He graduated from Columbia in 1994 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science.

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