Fort Lauderdale Strikers Announce Technical Staff

Phillip Dos Santos joins club as assistant coach
Fort Lauderdale Strikers Staff | Dec 15, 2015

Fort Lauderdale Strikers Head Coach and General Manager Caio Zanardi today announced the technical staff for the 2016 North American Soccer League (NASL) season. Phillip Dos Santos has been appointed assistant coach, while Ricardo Lopes returns as goalkeepers coach. Cassiano Costa will serve as strength and conditioning coach. Zanardi also announced that Bruno Costa will join the Strikers as assistant general manager and lead the team’s scouting efforts.

The Strikers will announce plans for creating a youth development program, including staff positions and the head coach of Fort Lauderdale Strikers U-23, which will begin play this spring in the National Premier Soccer League.

Dos Santos, 37, joins the Strikers from 2015 NASL Championship finalists Ottawa Fury FC, where he served as technical director and assistant coach for two seasons. Phillip worked alongside his brother Marc, who was named 2015 NASL Coach of the Year.

“Phillip is a high-level professional who shares my passion, methodology and approach to the game,” said Zanardi. “He brings a vast knowledge of the league and its players. Phillip is a fantastic addition to our technical staff.”

Born in Canada and raised in Portugal, Dos Santos played until age 27 before following in the footsteps of his father and brother into the coaching ranks. Dos Santos’ experience includes time in Europe, North America and South America.

Dos Santos holds an “A“ License from the European Union of Football Association (UEFA) and has worked with Canada’s national teams. This includes serving as a scout for the under-17 team, assistant coach of the U20s, and head coach for the U21 national team. He credits time with storied Portuguese club FC Porto as formative to his coaching philosophies.

“The Strikers are an historic club in U.S. soccer, and one that has been successful in the NASL,” said Dos Santos. “After speaking with Caio, it didn’t take much to convince me to join. The club has ambitious and passionate people throughout the organization. I can bring a lot to the Strikers, as well as grow a lot within the structure of the club.”

Dos Santos speaks English, French, Portuguese and Spanish. He holds Canadian and Portuguese citizenship.

The hiring of Bruno Costa as assistant general manager and head scout boosts the Strikers player development and recruitment efforts. With a resume boasting roles as head scout for the entire Brazilian Football Confederation (Confederação Brasileira de Futebol) since 2012 and general youth manager of Fluminense and Figueirense in Brazil, Costa brings vast experience to the position.

Costa, a native of Brazil, attended high school in Florida and earned sports management degrees at both Florida International University in Miami and Universitário da Cidade in Brazil. He received specialization in soccer technical management from Universidade do Futebol in 2013, an M.B.A. and specialization in sports management from the CBF in 2015.

Ricardo Lopes returns for his sixth season as the club’s goalkeepers coach. A coach in the U.S. since 1991, and a scout for the United States Soccer Federation (USSF), he holds a FIFA coaching license from Brazil and a USSF “C” License. A former goalkeeper for Fluminense, Lopes was three-time state champion of Rio between 1983 and 1985.

Cassiano Costa -- no relation to Bruno Costa -- joins the Strikers as strength and conditioning coach after spending four years as assistant head of physical conditioning at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Costa has served as head strength coach for Corinthians and Palmeiras in Brazil, and has worked with European sides AFC Ajax and Tottenham Hotspur.

A native of Brazil, Costa has a Ph.D. in sports biomechanics. He holds masters degrees in sports physiology from the University of São Paulo and sports injury prevention from the University of Galicia. Costa speaks five languages: English, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.

“Ricardo Lopes knows the NASL and is well-respected in South Florida by the club and our fans,” said Zanardi. “Cassiano’s accreditations and experience with top clubs will help us keep our players fit and healthy as we transition to a 12-month season. Bruno will help bring it all together from the pitch to the front office, and spearhead all of our scouting efforts.”

Zanardi also announced the following technical staff assignments: Current Strikers employee Sean Barrett will manage team operations, while Victor Cardoso will transition into a similar role, handling international operations.  Claudio Lopez will remain equipment manager. Bruno Mazziotti will consult with the team and work on team athletic performance.

The technical staff is in the midst of preparation for the Florida Cup, which kicks off for the Red & Gold on January 10, 2016, against German Bundesliga side FC Schalke 04 at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando. Fort Lauderdale will face 2015 Copa Sudamericana champions Santa Fe of Colombia one week later at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Fla.

Lockhart Stadium will serve as the host of two Florida Cup games.  The first is January 13 when Schalke squares off against Brazilian side Atlético Mineiro.  One week later, January 20, Brazilian squads Fluminense and Internacional meet.

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