Timbers welcome new head coach Giovanni Savarese to the Rose City

Updated: Jan. 8, 2018 at 5:13 PM PST
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - It has been an offseason of change for the Portland Timbers, including adding new head coach Giovanni Savarese, who made his local debut Monday at Providence Park.

In addition to moving from the Big Apple to the Rose City, Savarese is stepping up to the big leagues of American soccer.

The upcoming season will be his first time as an MLS head coach after spending the past five years leading the NASL’s New York Cosmos.

The 46-year-old Savarese becomes the third permanent manager in the Major League Soccer-era of the Timbers, with the former member of the Venezuelan national team replacing Caleb Porter, who departed after five years in Soccer City.

While never coaching in MLS, Savarese did play for three different MLS clubs in the early days of the league.

After leading the Cosmos to three league titles, Savarese and the Timbers are banking on his tactical approach and multilingual background - Savarese speaks Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and English - to help PTFC again raise the MLS Cup.

Now on his third day in the Rose City, Savarese said he already learned rule Number One of living in Portland while getting a haircut.

“I went to cut my hair, so, of course, it was raining… So I bring my umbrella, and the lady who was cutting my hair goes, ‘You’re not from here, from this town, right.’ And I said, ‘Yes, you know, because of my accent,” he told reporters. “’And she said, ‘No, no, no, because you have an umbrella. You should know people here do not use an umbrella.’”

Savarese is a married father of two daughters, 16 and 12 years old, who will finish up school before moving out to Oregon.

In addition to the change at the top, club officials said Monday many roster moves are still to come.

The club has a lot of money to play with after the trade of Darlington Nagbe to Atlanta, and owner Merritt Paulson told FOX 12 that while it was hard to let him go, the player needs to want to be here to be successful.

Training camp for Savarese and the Timbers kicks off next month in Tucson, Arizona. The club will begin the MLS regular season with a five-game road trip starting in Los Angeles on March 4 before heading home to Providence Park on April 14.