While David Beckham and his team of investors continue to negotiate for a MLS stadium deal next to Marlins Park, Miami’s other new pro soccer team, Miami FC of the NASL, announced Monday that Italian legend Alessandro Nesta will be its coach when the team begins play in April.
Nesta, considered one of the premier defenders of all time, was a member of Italy’s 2006 World Cup-winning team and played in two other World Cups. He played for Italian Serie A clubs Lazio and AC Milan, and from 2000 to 2003 was named the league’s Defender of the Year. He also was named to the FIFA 100, honoring the best players in soccer history.
He left Italy in 2012 and played for the Montreal Impact of the MLS until he retired in 2013. He has owned a home in Miami for 10 years, lived here part-time for seven years, and three years ago, when he signed with MLS, he and his family made Miami their permanent home.
He lives here with his wife, Gabriela, and three children — Sofia, 8; Tommaso, 7; and Angelica, 1, “my one American child, born in Miami Beach,” he said.
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“We are incredibly thrilled to bring Alessandro on board with Miami FC,” said Paolo Maldini, Miami FC co-owner, who played alongside Nesta. “As a former teammate and personal friend of Alessandro, I have a great amount of respect for his talent and believe he will bring out the best in our players.”
Nesta, 39, will begin scouting players immediately for Miami FC’s inaugural season.
“I’m really excited for this new chapter in my career and very happy to be in Miami, a city I have loved for a long time,’’ Nesta said. “When I played in Italy, every time there was vacation, I came to Miami. I love the weather and the beach. It’s also a very easy place to raise children.”
He said he is eager to get back to working in the sport. From now through December he hopes to find “the best 25 players I can get,’’ and the team will begin training in January. He is looking for players mainly in South America, the Caribbean and the United States.
“The biggest challenge going from player to coach is that now I’ll be in charge of everything, not just 90 minutes of playing,” he said. “From what I have seen, the players here run fast and are good athletes, but they need better organization.”
Miami FC will play in the second-tier American league that includes the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. It has not been announced where they will play, but sources said Florida International University will likely host most matches, and there might be a few games at other existing stadiums. The team’s primary owner is Riccardo Silva, a sports media magnate with offices in downtown Miami.