Fort Lauderdale Strikers general manager Caio Zanardi was named head coach on Wednesday. He replaces Gunter Kronsteiner, who was fired last month after leading the team to the NASL championship semifinals.
Zanardi, the former Brazilian Under-17 national coach, joined the Strikers front office in July.
“Caio’s experience on the sidelines is decades long, spans three continents and includes stints with some of the world’s top teams, players and coaches,” said Strikers CEO Sean Guerin. “We have made the postseason four of the last five years, yet a championship has eluded us. We believe Caio is perfectly suited to lead us to a title and implement the systems that will make the Strikers a sustained winner.”
“I’ve enjoyed my time here so far, and I’m excited to implement my philosophies as head coach,” said Zanardi. “I have high expectations for this club. We are assembling a talented soccer department and our goal is to produce a winning team that represents our community and fans. I’m eager to get started.”
Zanardi, 42, earned his A License in Brazil, as well as an FA International License in England. He has studied and learned at the hands of Carlo Ancelotti, Louis van Gaal, Luiz Felipe Scolari, and Fabio Capello. Prior to joining the Strikers, Zanardi spent three years as head coach of the Brazil under-17 national team, posting a 40-9-6 record. Under Zanardi, Brazil was crowned champions of the 2015 South American Under-17 Football Championship and qualified for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
Following a playing career in Brazil with São Paulo FC and Sport Club Corinthians Paulista, Zanardi began managing in 1999 as head coach of the S.E. Palmeiras under-17 team. In 2007, the Brazilian coached Paulista F.C. before joining Al-Nasr Sports Club in the United Arab Emirates. Zanardi served six years as soccer director for the Dubai-based club.