The Portland Timbers have signed head coach Gio Savarese and his staff to multiyear contract extensions, the club announced Tuesday. Savarese was appointed the club's third head coach heading into the 2018 season.
Savarese, assistant coaches Carlos Llamosa and Miles Joseph, goalkeeper coach Memo Valencia and video/data analyst Shannon Murray, have been rewarded for their success, leading the Timbers to MLS Cup final last year, falling to Atlanta United 2-1.
“When Gio took the Timbers job last year he was on a short initial contract,” said Timbers owner Merritt Paulson in a statement. “This extension is a well-deserved reward for Gio’s faith in his own coaching ability and, more so, an acknowledgement of the fact Gavin Wilkinson and I are delighted with Gio and his entire staff, both on and off the field. We expect Gio to be our on-field leader for years to come. The current Timbers club culture has never been better and Gio is a top-quality coach and an even better person. We are lucky to have Gio and his staff here in Portland.”
This season, the Timbers navigated a 12-game road trip to start the campaign as Providence Park underwent renovations and are gaining momentum.
“We are extremely pleased to make today’s announcement, ensuring the services of Gio and our entire Timbers coaching staff for years to come,” said Timbers GM and president of soccer Gavin Wilkinson. “Quite simply, Gio and his staff have done a tremendous job guiding the Timbers to success in a relatively short period of time, reinforcing an incredible team culture and leading the club to a Western Conference Championship and its second MLS Cup appearance in their first season with the club. Moreover, these extensions are a testament to the staff’s overall dedication and hard work, as even through the inevitable challenges incurred over the course of any soccer season, they have remained focused and passionately committed to the improvement and ultimate success of this club.”
Savarese, 47, has compiled a 21-18-2 record over his first year and a half as an MLS head coach. Prior to joining the Timbers, the Venezuelan enjoyed a successful spell managing the New York Cosmos from 2013-17. He is the New York Red Bulls fifth all-time leading scorer despite spending just three seasons with the club.
“I am extremely honored and proud to have the opportunity to continue to be a part of the Portland Timbers family, a club that shares my enthusiasm and passion for the game. I thank Merritt, Gavin and the entire Timbers organization for the trust and support given to me from the first day that I arrived,” said Savarese. “I am delighted to continue to work with our entire technical staff and players for years to come. Our work is that of a collective group from top to bottom, and together we will continue to constantly give everything we have to the success of this club for our city and for our fans, who are so deserving.”