According to a report from Italian sports publication Gazzetta Dello Sport, New York City FC midfielder Andrea Pirlo will retire at the end of the current season, with his contract expiring in December.
In an interview with Gazzetta, Pirlo lamented that he has no more cartilage in one of his knees and even had Juventus’ doctor look at it during his former club’s tour of the U.S., to no avail. Injuries have kept Pirlo off the field for much of the season, relegating him to a bench role.
“You just realize that the time has come,” Pirlo reportedly said. “Every day you have physical problems, you can not train as you would because you always have some stuff (wrong). At my age, that’s enough. It’s not that you can go on forever to 50. I’ll do something else.”
NYCFC made a big splash in July 2015 when they signed the legendary Italian midfielder from Juventus on a free transfer, but while the 36-year-old has had some brilliant moments in MLS, he also was part of some NYCFC lowlights, especially on the defensive end.
That being said, he currently has one goal and 18 assists in his MLS career through 60 games, with 58 starts.
When asked about what he’d like to do in the future, Pirlo deflected a suggestion that he could become an assistant coach for Antonio Conte at Chelsea this winter, though he didn’t rule out coaching entirely.
“I do not know yet,” Pirlo said. “I’ll be back in Italy already in December. Conte’s assistant? They say things. I have ideas, but give me time to decide.
If Pirlo does enter the coaching ranks, there’s a couple of directions he could go. Former teammates Filippo “Pippo” Inzaghi coached AC Milan for a year in just his second year of coaching, and is currently at Venezia, while Alessandro Nesta has opted for a lower level, starting his managerial career coaching Miami FC in the North American Soccer League.
“There is no right or wrong way,” Pirlo said. “It depends on the opportunities that you offer. If you coach a first team right away, it’s hard to refuse. I repeat: for now I do not have that intention. After 25 years of football I will be at home with my family (two twins were born in August ). To keep fit I will play golf (handicap 10) and tennis.”
Of course, it wouldn’t be a story on American soccer without a question on bringing promotion/relegation to the American pyramid. And if he hadn’t said it already, now we know Pirlo is a fan of promotion/relegation.
“Absolutely agree,” Pirlo said. “If there was more pressure to avoid losing and falling back than to win, quality would rise. If MLS does not change the rules by liberalizing the market, there will never be a team like Real Madrid. “
Startup company Socceroof aims to grow the beautiful game in NYC
New York City is fast-paced. It’s one of the social and financial capitals not just in the United States, but also on a global scale. For that reason, the congestion associated with the Big Apple has made it difficult for soccer players — both young and old — to find a place to play on a regular basis.
Hopefully that will change in the near future though, with the help of Socceroof — a startup company co-founded by Jean-David Tartour and Jerome Meary, as well as general manager Jonathan Lupinelli that aims to bring a wide-ranging group of soccer fanatics the ability to find soccer solace in the “Concrete Jungle.”
The company is financially-backed by several of soccer’s most-recognizable figures, including Manchester United’s Anthony Martial, Gerard Houllier (global football figure in charge of Red Bull’s teams throughout the world) and former Paris Saint-Germain owner Patrick Sayer.
“Socceroof is more than a facility, it’s a community that brings soccer enthusiasts and players together both online and offline. Socceroof will change the way you think, play and experience soccer,” reads the mission statement on the company’s website.
Socceroof’s unique blueprint features a number of small-sided soccer fields located on building rooftops, with the first project set to launch in Brooklyn in November or December of this year.
Pro Soccer Talk had the opportunity to meet up with several of Socceroof’s founders and visit the company’s first site — which provides an exquisite view of New York City’s skyline.
“Our idea is to provide a high-caliber environment for players from across the city,” Meary told PST. “There simply aren’t a lot of places to go in New York where players can find top venues to play soccer, especially during the winter months. With this project, we hope to provide assistance to those people while also offering a fun environment for adults that could tap into the city’s existing nightlife.
“We want to give easy access for everyone in the area. And we believe we can do that. It’s the first really big facility in New York.”
Socceroof is following in the footsteps of a similar project currently thriving in Europe, France in particular, previously created by Tartour. The company, LE FIVE, features 22 venues throughout Europe that have focused on providing players of all ages with world-class facilities to participate in small-sided matches while also giving adults the ability to socialize and relax in a mature setting.
In addition to the 10 fields throughout the Brooklyn site, the company’s first venue will also feature an indoor and outdoor bar area to go along with two decks that overlook Manhattan.
“We have seen the success of the project in Europe and realize that it’s time to help grow the game further here in the U.S., where there is so much potential for soccer’s already-growing culture,” Meary stated.
While the group’s primary focus is aimed towards helping develop the city’s youth players, Socceroof also plans to tap into other areas as well, including corporate get-togethers and adult leagues.
The company also believes that its backing from Major League Soccer will help further its partnerships will local youth clubs and potentially with the two local professional teams as well, in New York City and the New York Red Bulls.
Both Meary and Lupinelli have experience working with the U.S.’ first-division league and hope that their resources will help with the growth of their new venture.
For Lupinelli, he also feels that Socceroof has the opportunity to build something unique when it comes to the company’s community outreach.
“I’m really excited to give back in the area and help develop soccer in New York,” Lupinelli said. “There’s obviously tons of interest in soccer and we want to help players reach their full potential.”
Another way that Socceroof plans to enhance the playing experience for players is with the development of the company’s web application.
The goal of the application is to follow trends already set forth by social media tycoons like Facebook and Twitter in order to connect fellow players and also allow them to track their progress on a game-to-game basis.
“The app will allow you to track your performance, build your dream team, schedule pick-up games, join leagues and ultimately define your own soccer experience,” Lupinelli said.
“The goal for the web app is the “gamification” of soccer. Players will be able to grade each other and their stats will evolve depending on performance results. It’s a little like FIFA (the video game) in real life.”
Below is a brief video of how the first complex will be set up.
Should Jack Harrison further impress scouts in his home nation during this week’s EURO U-21 action, the New York City FC man will have less of a choice in his destination than you may think.
Harrison, the 20-year-old ex-Wake Forest star and former Manchester United Academy product, could even be asked to train with Man City in the near future in order for Pep Guardiola to get a closer look.
“City will have first dibs on Harrison at New York if he continues his rapid progress. It’s sure to rub United up the wrong way after what happened to him as a kid. He’s having a great time over in the US. City are hearing positive things from the execs in New York and that Harrison is an exciting late bloomer.”
We’re curious as to what formal dibs Man City could have on the MLS star, and how playing for a City affiliate of sorts may have changed Harrison’s youth allegiance.
Patrick Vieira’s playing days reputation as a field general already gives him a leg up on a lot of competition for managerial jobs, so it’s no surprise that his success at New York City FC has moved his name even higher up the queue when a job becomes available.
Vieira admitted that Saint Etienne came calling this offseason before settling on former Watford and Maccabi Tel Aviv boss Oscar Garcia, but that the move was not at the right time for him.
The ex-Arsenal midfielder said he’s too busy enjoying his project at NYCFC, though he did admit, that he’ll be prepared for the next step once the right opportunity presents itself. From RMC:
“I have gained a lot of experience during my two seasons in New York,” said Vieira, who denied any contact with his former Arsenal club, “I feel ready to face the challenges. have a group that allows me to flourish, I have no reason to go elsewhere. “
The 41-year-old has won 43 percent of his matches at NYCFC, neither a small feat in the league or at a club that had struggled to debut under Jason Kreis. He’ll end up somewhere else sooner rather than later, and perhaps his ambitions could lead him elsewhere if his goals are achieved with NYCFC in this season’s MLS Cup Playoffs.
Vieira has won league titles with Arsenal, Juventus, and Inter Milan as a player, and a managerial title in a league with relative parity would certainly shoot his star upward.