Miami FC on Thursday named Paul Dalglish as its new head coach, replacing Italian legend Alessandro Nesta, who left the team after last season to pursue other options.
Dalglish is the son of another soccer legend, Scotland international and Celtic and Liverpool forward Kenny Dalglish. Paul played in the English Premier League and the Scottish Premiership before heading to Major League Soccer in 2006. He won the MLS Cup twice with the Houston Dynamo in 2006 and 2007.
Since his playing days, Dalglish has coached in MLS, NASL and PDL. He was an assistant coach with the Dynamo in 2009, head coach of the Tampa Bay Rowdies in 2010, head coach of the PDL champion Austin Aztex from 2012-13, assistant with Real Salt Lake of MLS in 2014, and then spent two seasons as head coach and general manager of the NASL’s Ottawa Fury FC.
Miami FC had a record-breaking season in 2017, reaching the U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals, winning both the NASL Fall and Spring Season Championships and finishing as the NASL's overall points leader. The team lost in penalty kicks to the New York Cosmos in the NASL Championship Semifinals.
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But Dalglish will have some rebuilding to do.
In addition to losing Nesta in the off-season, the team lost two of its biggest scoring threats. Brazilian forward Stefano Pinho, a two-time league MVP, signed with Orlando City of MLS. Pinho led Miami with 17 goals last season and scored four goals in the U.S. Open Cup, including a hat trick in a fourth-round upset of Orlando. Ghanian midfielder Kwadwo Poku left for the Russian Premier League, where he is playing with FC Anzhi Makhachkala.
Other players who did not re-sign with the club include Michel, Jonathan Borrajo, Calvin Rezende, and Brad Rusin. Among the players still on the roster: forwards Jaime Chavez and Vincenzo Rennella; midfielders Michael Lahoud, Dylan Mares, Ariel Martinez, Richie Ryan, Robert Baggio Kcira; defenders Hunter Freeman, Rhett Bernstein and Gabriel Farfan; and goalkeeper Daniel Vega.
Miami FC is scheduled to open the 2018 season in mid-August, as the NASL moved from a Spring to a Fall start to align with the international calendar and also to give the league time to add a few teams, as only five of last season’s eight teams remain.