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Nesta: “Soccer is Changing in America”

As the Head Coach of the Miami FC, Alessandro Nesta, finishes the first season with his team in the demanding NASL, he spends some time with Soccerplus and its readers to share his impressions and ideas about youth soccer in America.

Taking an in depth look back at this first season with the Miami FC, what do you think about their performance?
It was hard at first because I had to understand what kind of players I needed to win games and to win the League. In Italian soccer, you opt for quality players to win, but here you need a more physical kind of player, because every game is a battle. And you win based on the physical aspect more than the technical part. It is a complicated balance.

What are your personal expectations for the future?
Next year, I will still be with the Miami FC. It is a school for me, I learn something new that enriches my personal experience every day. My personal expectation is to go as far as possible as a coach.

You have a son that plays for Juventus Academy.
¿What differences do you see between youth soccer in Italy and the United States?
The first big difference is passion. Here, kids don’t care if they win or lose. The same happens with my son. The second difference is that constricting rules have been set. These rules establish that kids cannot head the ball until they are 12 years old, and it is in that age that kids develop coordination. Not being able to head is a big limitation. It is true that, at home, everyone does what they like better, but I completely disagree.

What advice would you give to a young boy that would like to become a great professional player and lives in the United States?
I would advise him to try to gain experience in Europe. There are many players that go to Norway to close the gap between a European and an American player. Unfortunately, players start developing very late here. It could happen that once he turns 16 he decides that he wants to pursue soccer. And at age 16 for example, in Italy, kids are already focused on becoming professional soccer players. I was already playing in the “A” series at that age. On the other hand, soccer is changing in America and I hope that in the near future, players can be more competitive.

“In Italy, if a kid loses a game, he cries because he does not want to lose.”

“Not heading the ball is a big limitation. Here, they think they can shape big players like Messi, but without that basic formation, you can’t achieve anything.”

WHO IS HE?
Name: Alessandro Nesta
Head Coach of Miami FC
Nickname: Sandro
Place of Birth: Rome, Italy
Date of Birth: March 19th, 1976

TITLES
•    1 FIFA World Cup
•    1 UEFA Championship
•    1 FIFA Club World Cup
•    3 UEFA Super Cup
•    2 UEFA Champions League