Academy Soccer News: Cosmos at Winter Showcase Where East Meets West
For the first time, Cosmos Academies from New York City and LA meet each other and players and coaches have a chance to share experiences.
The soccer world is talking about the Cosmos Academies. Perhaps more well known on the West coast by their former name LAFC, Cosmos Academy West traveled to the Winter Showcase and met up with their Eastern half for the first time.
SN talked with TEDDY CHRONOPOULOS, Academy Director – Cosmos Academy West and GIOVANNI SAVARESE Academy Director – Cosmos Academy East.
Just so you have a bit of background, Teddy Chronopoulos joined The New York Cosmos in August 2010 and helped form Cosmos Academy West, in August 2010 and helped form Cosmos Academy West, based out of Pomona, CA. Chronopoulos is a 2x MLS All-Star who has played for the New England Revolution and New York Metrostars. His coaching career also dates back to 2001 with various stints at the high school, club and academy level. He was also head coach of the US Soccer Development Academy in 2007 and is a former member of the U.S. National Team.
The Italian Venezuelan Giovanni Savarese moved to the United States over 20 years ago to play for Long Island University and went onto the MLS to play for the New York Metrostars and the New England Revolution. He has also played overseas for teams in Italy and England, as well as his native Venezuela. He is a former member of the Venezuela National Team. In addition to his role at The New York Cosmos, which he joined in August 2010 as Academy Director for Cosmos Academy East, Savarese is also a soccer commentator for ESPN Deportes.
INTERVIEW with the Directors of Coaching:
What makes Cosmos Academy so different? Why are having two academies, one either side of the coasts so important?
GIOVANNI SAVARESE “It is important and unique that we are able to reach coast to coast; we are in two major cities, New York and LA. Both cities are well known around the world, and both offer a big pool of players to choose from. And these are very diverse cities, which makes it even more special."
How was the Winter Showcase?
TEDDY CHRONOPOULOS “This is the beginning of our soccer season and the Winter Showcase was great. This week was really special. This was the first time our academies East and West got to meet. It was a great opportunity for our coaches to meet. All the Cosmos coaches share the same philosophy; a passion and dedication to developing good players.”
The goal of Cosmos Academy?
GIOVANNI SAVARESE “We want to prepare players to play for the NY Cosmos. To prepare soccer players for the next level. Our goal is to develop professional soccer players who enjoy playing soccer. Not just players who play hard, but give a good performance. Years ago, when fans watched the NY Cosmos play, they enjoyed an amazing and entertaining game of soccer. We want to grow players to play the way the Cosmos played, and in the 4-3-3 formation.”
TEDDY CHRONOPOULOS “Our end goal; developing players for the first team (of the New York). Along the way, there are a percentage of soccer players who will end up going off to college, but our end goal is to develop pro players who want to play in the MLS.”
What makes Cosmos Academy West so special?
TEDDY CHRONOPOULOS “We are developing our kids to play for professionals teams. It is going very well, it is a process. Our Academy is fully funded by the Cosmos and we look for those elite players who can make a difference. We have a long term commitment to our players and look for great performance on and off the field.”
What is the difference between Cosmos East and West?
GIOVANNI SAVARESE "Different mentality. For instance, with better weather, you have more chances to play soccer, you can be more relaxed, you play more often – the mentality of NYC is unique; our players have influences from the Caribbean, South American, European, and other countries; all together mixed together in this melting pot of youth players – all of them with the same soccer mentality and sense of urgency.”
”Cosmos East has broader diversity, there are simply more different backgrounds united by the same mentality. Players on Cosmos West are primarily Hispanic.”
TEDDY CHRONOPOULOS “The difference really is ethnicity. The Cosmos West is more Latino, the East has more diversity. Also, the impact of the weather makes a difference. In California, soccer is 12 months a year. The Cosmos East’s next game is not until March. We are lucky to be able to play year round the game we love.”
What were some of the ideas you discussed at the Winter Showcase with Cosmos East?
TEDDY CHRONOPOULOS “As this was the first time we all were together, it was a great exchange of ideas. We even explored merging teams together…the best of the best. Every team has its strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps when we play Dallas cup in April, we might combine our Cosmos West and Cosmos East players to make a best of team.”
GIOVANNI SAVARESE “We are exploring the possibility of combining the LA and NY academies best of the best for the Dallas Cup in April.”
And what about coaches?
GIOVANNI SAVARESE “Coaches enjoyed learning from each other at the Winter Showcase and sharing their experiences. Coaches can travel back and forth, this is very beneficial, but our coaches definitely do the same things, all our coaches are on the same page.”
What is important for a coach to accomplish with a player?
GIOVANNI SAVARESE “We want our players to know how to think on the field and solve problems, giving them a better situation. Our coaches do not over coach, they allow players to make mistakes, correct the athlete in a positive way. The coaches do not yell. The players need to know what we are looking for from them, with respect and a positive attitude. We are dedicated to always showing class; to the fans, the players, to the game.”
What should a reader do if they want to see if they think their player is good enough to join the Cosmos Academy?
GIOVANNI SAVARESE “Parents should contact us and let us know they are interested in having their player reviewed. We will contact the player’s coach and may invite the player to a try out or do a training class. We are looking for great soccer players who are good people.”
“Great soccer players do not come with a specific height or race, Cosmos Academy is open to good soccer players from all different backgrounds, countries, religions, all our players are learning from each other. This is a great experience for the players. I encourage anyone from all backgrounds, religions and races to try out with us.”
How Does College fit into the road of becoming a Professional Soccer Player?
GIOVANNI SAVARESE "Interesting questions. I believe that kids should go to school and should be educated. But when we are talking about soccer, and we are preparing the players for a professional level, I feel that the college environment does not award every player the ability to focus the full year on developing soccer skills. There is a different maturity level between a player on the pro track and a player who is oriented towards earning a college scholarship to a great school.”
“Players in a professional environment will develop differently than players in college. In a pro environment, you are competing with other guys around you who are serious about soccer and that pushes the players to become better player. It is a chance to taste the next level.”
TEDDY CHRONOPOULOS “Big story this weekend, the captain on the U17 was offered a full ride at the University of Akron, and he was playing alongside of another player who was going to play professionally. It is interesting to see that the idea of players ‘making it’ means different things; the captain was thrilled with his offer, while other players only want to be pros.”
GIOVANNI SAVARESE “The U.S. Residency Development Academy in Florida is lucky to have players with them on a constant basis. Cosmos Academy needs our players to be responsible to their commitment as they are not with us all the time. There are advantages to our program over a residency one. Being close to home and around what they know, players are able to maintain their level of confidence. Sometimes, when you send players away from home, they might not be as confident and therefore not able to give you what you are looking for in development.”
|GIOVANNI SAVARESE Academy Director – Cosmos Academy East
What do you think about youth soccer in America?
TEDDY CHRONOPOULOS “There are big differences between the development of youth soccer the U.S. and other countries. For instance, last year U20 National Team consisted of all-American kids who were in college or in the MLS. Typical American-raised soccer player is different than players raised abroad. Typically kids outside of the U.S. play more soccer, and play soccer independently and not only in organized sports groups.”
“U.S. Soccer has begun to explore recruiting players who were raised playing soccer outside the USA. There are over 400 ‘American’ kids who have dual passports (U.S passport as well as another country’s) and grew up playing soccer in other countries. This year, the team has players who grew up playing soccer in other countries as well.”
What is the difference between being a young soccer player and growing up in the USA and, for example, South America?
TEDDY CHRONOPOULOS “South American kids grow up with the ball at their feet – our kids have so many choices, so many options of how to spend their time. Many grow up with an Xbox controllers in their hands. Instead of playing soccer on the streets in pickup games, they are playing FIFA soccer lying on a sofa.”
What is next for Cosmos West players?
TEDDY CHRONOPOULOS "In January 23, our teams compete against the CDA, the California Development Academy from up north."
Is there a soccer tip you want to share with our readers? What about staying in top shape over the holidays?
TEDDY CHRONOPOULOS “Sure. Eat lots and run more! Seriously, we are only off for a week at Christmas break, so our players are not away for long. But in general, kids tend to have bad eating habits, a lot of kids need to pay more attention to conditioning. Our soccer players train 4 times a week, many should be training 5 or 6 times a week. We have a real regime that our youth soccer players have to follow. My recommendation for players: Get in the gym and stay in shape.”