New York Cosmos head coach speaks fondly of his time with Swans
Former Swansea City forward Giovanni Savarese has revealed the club still has a special place in his heart almost 15 years after first arriving in the city.
Savarese – now head coach of NASL side New York Cosmos – scored a brace on his debut at the Vetch to help the Swans beat Stoke City in Division Two back in 2000.
The Venezuelan international went on to score 11 times during an eight-month loan stint from San Jose Earthquakes during the 2000-01 season.
Savarese linked-up with Swansea City board members last week on a trip to the United States to help promote the film Jack to a King.
“Every memory I have from Swansea is fantastic - the fans were great with me during my time there, my daughter was born at Singleton Hospital. I love the city - it still holds a special place in my heart," he said.
“I always keep an eye on Swansea because I feel very attached to the club.
“I came back in December with my family to see the Boxing Day game in the Premier League against Aston Villa. It was great to see how much everything has grown, how it has changed and how successful the club is.
“The fact we got relegated to Division Three the season I was there was difficult to swallow but I still hold on to great memories from my time with people like John Hollins, Alan Curtis and Kris O’Leary.
"I always view my time in South Wales as a great experience for me.”
Ahead of his side's US Open Cup tie against New York Red Bulls on Wednesday, Savarese showed his New York Cosmos players the documentary film that features the dramatic rags to riches rise that helped elevate Swansea City from League Two to the Premier League.
He said: “It was an unbelievable story - getting to see the club again when they were playing at the Vetch Field, how the city and its people fought to maintain the club whilst almost going out of business.
“To win that fight and make it all the way to the Premier League is remarkable and inspiring.
“I think the New York Cosmos can share some comparisons with that journey, the history, the recovery story - we can relate to it.
"It was great for our guys to see on the big screen, I’m sure it will help inspire them.”
The New York Cosmos head coach also reserved praise for Garry Monk on what was a record-breaking season for the Swans.
“What Garry has done at Swansea is fantastic - he is an extraordinary manager and he’s not drifted from the style or philosophy the club want," added Savarese.
“He has been there for a while, so he know the mentality of the club.
“I believe Swansea has more potential in the Premier League under him and can go further.
“Swansea can also definitely succeed in America - everyone respects what has been done and where they have come from.
“Many US soccer fans have Swansea as their second team – if not their first – and it is because people here enjoy watching their style of play.
“I think promoting Swansea City internationally, building the brand even further than Wales and the English Premier League is a very important and smart move for the growth of the club.”