Former Cosmos midfielder Sebastian Guenzatti is poised for a new start in Tampa. (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)
By Michael Lewis
Give Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese a big assist in getting his former midfielder Sebastian Guenzatti a tryout with the Tampa Bay Rowdies and getting through some tough times.
Guenzatti, who suffered a season-ending ACL injury in 2016, impressed enough to sign with the United Soccer League team Monday.
Savarese had coached Guenzatti since the Uruguayan native was 15-years-old, playing with Met Oval and the Cosmos Academy before joining the North American Soccer League side in 2013.
“This December, we had some conversations, I thought it would be better for him, for his development to be able to move to a different team,” Savarese said. “I made sure from December until now until the time that he recovered that he was on our payroll. So we kept him on our payroll. We kept him on our insurance. We wanted to make sure he was taken care of to get healthy again.”
Guenzatti reportedly was forced to go through rehab in December without insurance before Savarese stepped in, aided by new owner Rocco B. Commisso.
“Once he got healthy, I made a phone call to Tampa in order for them to give him a look, for them to give him a tryout,” Savarese said after Saturday’s 3-1 home win over Miami FC. “It’s a moment for him to develop with a different team. He’s been with me since he was 15. I thought he needed to find a different environment.”
That environment is the west coast of Florida as he joined former Cosmos teammates Walter Restrepo and Leo Fernandes on the USL side.
“I’ve played here several times and the fans have always created a great atmosphere,” Guenzatti said in a press release. “The club has been great since I arrived and I am looking forward to meeting the fans on Saturday night. I am extremely glad to be a part of the Rowdies family.”
Rowdies head coach Stuart Campbell liked what he saw during the trial. Guenzatti is poised to make his Tampa debut against the Harrisburg City Islanders in St. Petersburg, fla. Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
“Sebastian is another attacking piece that complements the players we already have,” Campbell said in a press release. “He fits in well with the group we have both on and off the field and we’re delighted to have signed him.”