2016 OUTLOOK | Miami FC

The expansion side is gunning for the title in 2016
NASL Staff | Mar 22, 2016

Photo credit: Miami FC

Venue: FIU Stadium

Coach: Alessandro Nesta (First year)

2015 Finish: N/A (Expansion team in 2016)

Key Players: Wilson Palacios, Jonathan Borrajo, Mason Trafford, Pablo Campos, Matuzalém

The people running Miami FC may be relatively new to the United States and to the NASL, but they have years and years of experience in soccer – and it was clearly evident as the club cobbled together an impressive roster from a standing start.

Coach Alessandro Nesta, a star at AC Milan and for Italy’s national team, has assiduously built a team with players experienced in Europe and South America (Wilson Palacios and Dario Cvitanich), in the NASL (Pablo Campos, Mason Trafford, Brad Rusin, Jamie Chávez, Dane Richards, and Jonathan Borrajo); and points in between (the Cubans Ariel Martínez and Jorge Luis Corrales; the Brazilians Adaílton and Matuzalém; and the Venezuelan Roberto Alterio). Nesta, a savvy defender in his day, filled out the roster with the late signing of defender Joe Franco, while also adding the experienced Rhett Bernstein to the back line earlier in the offseason.

What They’re Saying: “From when I first started speaking with Miami FC I just felt from the get-go that they were really trying to do things professionally. They have a lot of experience in soccer and, worked with big clubs in Europe. That was a big part of my decision coming here: I wanted to be a part of an organization that wanted to do things the right way. They said they want to win and want to be able to compete from Day 1. It’s one thing to talk the talk, but it seems they’ve walked the walk from Day 1.” –Defender and team captain Jonathan Borrajo

“I believe we all have the same objectives this year. We are a new club, so we have to prove ourselves that much more. Personally, I’m here to help build a winning team and bring a championship home in our inaugural year to all our fans in Miami.” –Defender Mason Trafford

“The NASL is a tough league with some competitive teams but I am confident in what we are building here in Miami FC. My team will be ready and competing for the NASL Championship. We are determined to make a statement in our inaugural year.” –Miami FC coach Alessandro Nesta

2016 Outlook: An expansion team – nearly every expansion team – is usually a work in progress and we can expect much of the same from Miami FC. The club, the only professional soccer team within Miami’s city limits, starts life in the NASL by playing the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in a South Florida derby. Even before the games begin, the technical staff has shown an amazing attention to detail and a clear-cut plan for success. As one of the game’s best defenders over the past 20 years, Nesta brings a keen eye to the touchline and a belief that a team should build out of the back. Still, fans expect to see an attractive, open, entertaining style on the field and Nesta plans to deliver. The club signed Pablo Campos, a proven striker who has scored 52 goals for three teams (Carolina, San Antonio and Minnesota) since 2011 and veteran attacker Matuzalém, who was recently playing in Italy’s Serie A.  

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