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Former Orlando City midfielder Antonio Nocerino joins Lions’ academy staff

The former midfielder will now turn his attention to coaching as he takes on roles with the Lions’ U-15 and U-17 teams.

Former Orlando City midfielder Antonio Nocerino (23) signed celebrates after scoring a goal during the 2017 season. He has retired and is joining the Lions' academy coaching staff. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel)

Former Orlando City midfielder Antonio Nocerino is returning to the club as a member of the development academy staff.

Nocerino, who announced his retirement as a player on Thursday, will become the coach for the academy’s under-15 team while also assuming assistant duties for the under-17 squad. Nocerino will arrive during a transition period for the Orlando City development program, which has integrated itself with the first team at its new facilities in Kissimmee and added a new academy director, Marcelo Neveleff.

“We are very happy and proud that Antonio has chosen Orlando City to start his coaching career,” Neveleff said. “Hopefully we can help him to grow in the profession, but also, he will be great for our players because he will be able to transmit all of his knowledge as a player to help them develop. But, even though Antonio had a decorated playing career, we are also looking forward to helping him grow and learn as a coach so he can best help shape the next generation of players.”

Nocerino played for two seasons with Orlando City, joining the club ahead of the 2016 season. He scored one goal during 52 Orlando City appearances. He left the Lions in 2018 to finish out his career with Benevento in the Italian Serie B.

Before coming to Orlando City, Nocerino played at three top-flight clubs — Juventus, Palermo and AC Milan. A native of Naples, Italy, he came up through the Juventus youth academy before making his professional debut in Avellino in Serie B.

He debuted for Juventus in 2007, where he notched 36 total caps before making the move to Palermo, where he netted six goals across 122 appearances during his three-year stint with the club. In 2011, Nocerino was acquired by AC Milan, where he spent the next five years of his career. The midfielder scored 12 goals during 74 appearances with the Red and Black.

A mainstay of the Italian national team, Nocerino also earned 19 caps for his country, wearing the captain’s armband throughout all four of the team’s matches in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He also led the team to the finals of the 2012 UEFA Euro championship.

Despite spending most of his career in his home country, when Nocerino announced his retirement this week on social media, he did so with a picture from his days in Orlando. He owns a home in Central Florida and vowed to remain close to Orlando while closing out his career in Italy.

View this post on Instagram

È arrivato il momento di dire addio al mio grande e unico amico il Calcio. Una decisione sofferta ma ponderata, la mia soddisfazione e aver realizzato il sogno di mio padre che poi è diventato anche il mio. Volevo ringraziare i miei genitori e le mie sorelle che con il loro sacrificio e il loro amore mi hanno aiutato a diventare quello che sono, mia moglie la mia roccia e i miei figli che amo più della mia vita. Un ringraziamento va alle società dove ho giocato, gli allenatori che ho avuto, i compagni di squadra da qui ho imparato tantissimo e i tifosi che con il loro supporto e il loro amore verso il giocatore e soprattutto l’uomo mi hanno portato sempre a dare quel qualcosa in più. Ho deciso di affrontare una nuova sfida, quella dell’allenatore. Una sfida bella, nuova, difficile ma che troverà in me lo stesso spirito, passione, amore e professionalità che ho avuto da calciatore. Con affetto Antonio Nocerino 23

A post shared by Antonio Nocerino 23 (@antonocerino) on

He will now turn his attention to the new challenge of coaching at the academy level. Nocerino has already obtained his UEFA B coaching license and is now working towards earning his UEFA A license. Although he expressed his sadness at stepping away as a player, Nocerino also said he is excited about returning to Orlando to begin the next step of his career.

“I am a proud Italian, but Orlando is my home,” Nocerino said. “I am thankful for the opportunities Orlando City has given me, both as a player and now as a coach. My idea is to grow step-by-step. I want to work with the Orlando City academy, get as much experience as I can with the objective in mind to grow, get more coaching licenses and one day be ready for the challenge of being a professional head coach. I am very excited for this new opportunity.”




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