2015 Golden Ball Winner Stefano Pinho Joins Minnesota

The Brazilian forward scored 16 goals with seven assists last season to pick up Golden Boot honors as well
Minnesota United Staff | Dec 3, 2015

As it prepares for the 2016 NASL season, Minnesota United has bolstered its record-setting offense by announcing the signing of Brazilian forward Stefano Pinho, pending USSF approval. Pinho was the 2015 Golden Boot and Golden Ball winner while playing for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. 

“We are really excited to get a player of Pinho’s quality and his specific skill set,” Minnesota United Sporting Director Manny Lagos said. “We had a fantastic offense last season with a lot of quality and we did a great job scoring goals, but you’re always looking to add finishers, you want guys that are hungry to score. Pinho is someone we identified that brings all those key qualities to the table and we are very excited to add him to our already potent offensive roster.”

Pinho made a name for himself in the NASL last year during his time with the Strikers. His 16 goals led the NASL last year and earned him the 2015 Golden Boot for most goals during the season. With seven assists on the year as well, Pinho proved to be a vital part of the Strikers' success, which led to him receiving the 2015 Golden Ball award as the league’s most valuable player. Pinho was also honored with a spot in the 2015 NASL Best XI and made the Team of the Week seven times while being named Player of the Week four times.

“I am very excited to be joining Minnesota United and the amazing players and coaching staff,” Pinho said. “The club has an amazing history and I want to be a part of their story and their success. I will do my best to bring the fans of Minnesota lots of goals and championships.”

The 24-year-old Brazilian striker grew up in São João Nepomuceno, north of Rio de Janeiro, and came up through the Fluminense Academy. He joined the first team in 2009 where he trained with the top team before being loaned to Brazilian Série B club Guaratinguetá, followed by another short stint with Madureira.

2013 saw Pinho make his first trip to the U.S. to participate in the MLS Combine. He was the top striker at the combine and was drafted by the Colorado Rapids in the 2013 SuperDraft, but was unable to reach an agreement with the club.

In 2014, Pinho was once again loaned out, this time to MYPA in the Finnish Veikkaausliiga. He found his scoring touch with the club, netting 11 goals in 20 appearances, which he would carry over to his next loan move with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

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