Caio Zanardi Appointed Strikers Head Coach

Experienced tactician taking coaching reins in addition to GM duties
Fort Lauderdale Strikers Staff | Dec 2, 2015

The Fort Lauderdale Strikers announced Wednesday that Caio Zanardi will be the club’s new head coach. Zanardi brings a proven track record to the role of head coach, which he will assume along with his general manager duties.

“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,” Strikers CEO Sean Guerin said. “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.”

Zanardi joined the Strikers as general manager in July. He helped engineer a mid-season turnaround for the club that reached The Championship Semifinals. In addition to assembling the 2016 roster, Zanardi will lead an expanded soccer department, oversee all aspects of player development, and shape the club’s youth soccer programs.

“I’ve enjoyed my time here so far, and I’m excited to implement my philosophies as head coach,” Zanardi said. “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.”

The Brazilian’s credits include certifications in countries with two different philosophies and distinct playing styles. Zanardi 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 with the Brazilian Football Confederation (Confederação Brasileira de Futebol) as head coach of the Brazil under-17 national team, posting a 40W-9D-6L record in 55 matches. Under Zanardi, Brazil was crowned champions of the 2015 South American Under-17 Football Championship, earning qualification to the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Brazil and Zanardi also won the 2014 Nike International Friendlies, culminating with a 4-1 victory over the United States. Brazil swept the tournament’s individual awards, with players claiming the Golden Boot, MVP, and Golden Glove, along with Zanardi earning recognition as best coach.

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 U-17 team. Zanardi worked his way up the ranks and, in 2003, at the age of 29, he became the youngest coach in Palmeiras B history. Zanardi led Palmeiras to a state championship in 2001.

Between 2004 and 2006, Zanardi served as U-20 and first team head coach of Clube Atlético Juventus and Pão de Açúcar. In 2007, the Brazilian coached Paulista F.C. before joining Al-Nasr Sports Club, a top team in the United Arab Emirates. Zanardi served six years as soccer director for the Dubai-based club.

The 42-year-old speaks Portuguese, English, French, and Italian.

Fort Lauderdale will announce the rest of the technical staff later this month.

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