“Initially, it was just a move to stay in America, for my family and I. I had been abroad for almost 10 years, so with family and stuff, we just decided to settle down in America. The agents worked,” Starikov told TICC at Cosmos Media Day. “My agent helped find a contact with the Cosmos, and from there on it just worked out.”
This move to America initially brought him to MLS debutante Minnesota United, where the striker had an extensive trial that saw him bag a few goals and impress head coach Adrian Heath. Heath said the striker “obviously got some talent.”
“He’s made a good impression,” stated Heath. “He’ll come with us to Portland, I think. We spoke to him today. He’s very happy here. He’s liked what he’s doing. So we’ll take him with us next week and see how he goes from then.”
However, the same report from the Minnesota Star-Tribune mentioned that Heath said the coaching staff needed to “decide if Starikov added more value than the four or five other attacking midfielders the team has already signed”. On a roster that eventually featured Kevin Molino, Bashkim Kadrii and Johan Venegas, Starikov was unable to find a spot.“Everything went well”, Starikov said on his time with Minnesota, “don’t want to talk to much about it. Just didn’t work out in the end. I guess you might say everything is for the better, so I hope it will all work out with the Cosmos and everything will work out alright.”
This led Starikov to the Cosmos, who he joined up with in the Dominican Republic. The striker enjoyed an immensely impressive run of form, scoring one goal and earning a penalty while consistently looking dangerous in the Cosmos attack both as a striker and a winger. Most importantly, however, ise the immense amount of chemistry Starikov seems to already have developed with players around him in the attack. He’s pretty happy about his new teammates.
“In terms of the players around me, of course,” commented the signing. “Everyone is at the professional level they need to be. Everyone is doing their jobs, and it’s good to play with guys that are able to play as well.”
However, the most important part of the Cosmos (and possibly the biggest draw for Starikov) seems to be head coach Giovanni Savarese and his system. One could believe that a player doesn’t like being employed in multiple positions, but Starikov gave a glowing review on the Venezuelan’s tactics and enticing style of play.
“Very important for me is to play in a team that likes to play football, you know? It’s nice to keep the ball, have nice possession and attack like that instead of kicking the ball forward and running after it. For me, it’s amazing to play in a system like that and Gio really wants to enforce it on us that ‘Look guys, we need to play.’ I’m really happy about that.”
Starikov finished his interview emphatically, tying up his feelings about the club with a smile on his face: