“Eugene is a great addition to the overall squad,” said Cosmos Head Coach Giovanni Savarese in a press release. “He is a young and talented player who can give the team a different look in attack.”
Starikov, who was born in the Ukrainian SSR, grew up Huntington Beach, California. His professional career started at USL PDL side IMG Academy Bradenton, where he scored 12 goals in 5 appearances before moving to Russian giants Zenit St. Petersburg. Since then, Starikov has bounced around his native Ukraine and Russia, last featuring for Ukrainian club Chornomorets Odesa. There, he scored two goals in 10 appearances. Starikov also earned three caps for the United States U-23 National Team in 2012 following a training stint with the senior team the year before. He also recently trialed with Minnesota United. The 28-year-old shined in the DR for the Cosmos, scoring twice and adding two assists in the three game trip.
“I have really enjoyed the preseason with the team and feel very comfortable with the group,” said Starikov. “Signing for such an iconic club it’s an honor and I look forward to having a successful season and to helping the team in any way I can.”The Cosmos also announced the signing of former Tampa Bay Rowdies winger Kalif Alhassan. The Ghanian international scored three goals and assisted on another in 18 games with the former NASL side. Prior to his move to Florida, Alhassan spent one year at Minnesota United, scoring four goals and tallying six assists. Alhassan also bring five years of experience with MLS side Portland Timbers.
“Kalif is a dynamic player who will help us be more competitive,” said Giovanni Savarese. “He will add depth to our squad, as we look forward to preparing our 2017 season.”
Both players, coming off impressive runs of form in preseason with the Cosmos, look to add depth and talent to a Cosmos wing unit that featured only Andres Flores and Walter Restrepo just yesterday.