With less than two months to go before their inaugural match, Miami FC executives and coaches have been busy assembling the roster, the front office and a marketing campaign. Training began a few weeks ago at St. Thomas University under coach Alessandro Nesta, the former Italian star.
General manager Cesar Velasco likes what he has seen.
“We are going to be competitive from Day One,’’ said Velasco, who worked previously at FC Dallas of Major League Soccer. “Nesta is not only coaching, he is teaching.’’
Miami FC, the new North American Soccer League team, has signed a combination of young players and veterans with international experience.
Among the notable players:
▪ Two-time Honduran World Cup midfielder Wilson Palacios, 31, who has played for Stoke City and Tottenham in the English Premier League.
▪ Forward Dario Cvitanich of Argentina, 31, who has played for Banfield, Ajax, Pachuca, Boca Juniors and Nice.
▪ Matuzalem, the 35-year-old Brazilian, who played in Italy with Parma, Brescia, Lazio, Genoa and Bologna.
▪ And goalkeeper Mario Daniel Vega, who won two titles with River Plate in Argentina from 2007-13.
The up-and-coming players include twin midfielders Calvin and Conner Rezende, Davie natives who played at University School, played college soccer at the University of Virginia and St. Francis University, trained in Spain and Italy, and are back home to begin their professional careers.
Miami FC opens its first season on April 2 against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at Lockhart Stadium.
Its first home match at FIU Stadium is on April 9 against the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
Season tickets are available at MiamiFC.com and single-game tickets will be available soon.
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Adriano signs on with Miami United
Former Brazilian World Cup player Adriano, 33, will try to resurrect his career with Miami United of the fourth-tier NPSL.
Adriano played in the 2006 World Cup and scored 27 goals in 48 matches for Brazil.
He had an impressive pro career with Parma, Roma and Inter, with whom he won four Serie A titles.
He has been bouncing around smaller clubs the past few years, battling injuries, weight gain and off-field issues.
Mexico vs. Senegal at Marlins Park
The Mexican national team will play a friendly against Senegal at 8 p.m. on Wednesday at Marlins Park, and Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio is using the match to evaluate players leading into World Cup qualifying.
Osorio, a Colombian, is 2-0 since taking over the Mexican national team in mid-October, with wins against El Salvador and Honduras.
Among the experienced Mexico players on Wednesday’s roster are Cruz Azul goalkeeper and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Jesús Corona, and 2011 Gold Cup winner and Tigres UANL defender Jorge Torres Nilo.
Some of Mexico’s younger players are Tigres forward Jurgen Damm, and Chivas Guadalajara defender and former Real Salt Lake star Carlos Salcedo.
Tickets for the match are on sale via Marlins .com/soccer as well as at the Marlins Park box office.
Strikers to China
The Strikers will take a two-week preseason trip to China to play a few exhibition matches and hold a tryout for Chinese players.
They will be there from Feb. 28 to March 12.
“The Strikers are a global brand, and our upcoming trip to China highlights the lofty ambitions of the club,” Strikers managing director Luis Cuccatti said in a statement. “We believe in growing our brand and exposing our players and fans to the best soccer has to offer.
“[Part owner] Ronaldo and the Strikers see immense, untapped potential in China,” Cuccatti added.
“The sport has grown exponentially in the country, and our goal with the tryout is to provide Chinese players an opportunity to join the Strikers. There is talent in China, and we fully expect to sign a high-quality player from the competition.”
EPL: Leicester City (53), Tottenham (48), Manchester City (47), Arsenal (45), Manchester United (40)
La Liga: Barcelona and Atletico Madrid (51), Real Madrid (47), Villarreal (44), Sevilla (36)
Serie A: Napoli (53), Juventus (51), Fiorentina (46), Inter (44), Roma (41)
Bundesliga: Bayern Munich (53), Dortmund (45), Hertha Berlin (35), Schalke 04 (33), Bayer Leverkusen and Monchengladbach (32)
Ligue 1: PSG (66), Monaco (45), Nice (39), Angers (37), Lyon, St. Etienne and Caen (36)
On the tube
Sunday: Levante vs. Barcelona (5:55 a.m., BEIN, BEINÑ), Arsenal vs. AFC Bournemouth (8:25 a.m., NBCSN), Chelsea vs. Manchester United (10:55 a.m., NBCSN, TELEM), Pumas vs. Pachuca (1 p.m., UNI, UNID), Granada vs. Real Madrid (2:25 p.m., BEIN).