Earlier today, New York City FC announced the addition of former FIFA World Cup winner Kléberson to the coaching staff. The Brazilian was most recently the assistant coach of Philadelphia Union II, and has worked as a coach at the prestigious Philadelphia Union Academy since 2016.
Even if he is not a player, Kléberson could turn out to be the key signing of the summer. NYCFC has five Brazilian players after adding Designated Player Thiago Martins in the offseason and Gabriel Pereira in March, and Kléberson will provide a key linguistic and cultural link between the locker room and the club.
He will help fill the void left by former head coach Ronny Deila who left NYCFC for Standard Liege last month and took on assistant coaching. Efrain Juarez with him. Juárez was loved and respected in the dressing room, and his language skills were important for a 10-player roster from Latin America.
Kléberson will also bring his pedigree as a player and coach. The former midfielder was a key member of the Brazil squad that won the 2002 FIFA World Cup and started in both the quarter-finals against England, the semi-finals against Turkey and in final against Germany. Kléberson provided one of the assists in Brazil’s 2-0 win over Germany, carrying the ball down the left and then flicking it across the top of the box to Ronaldo.
Kléberson also won the 2014 prize America’s Cup with Brazil, and played club with Manchester United, Beşiktaş and Flamengo. He finished his career in the United States, playing for the Philadelphia Union, Indy Eleven and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
“I am very happy to be part of New York City Football Club,” Kléberson said in a statement issued by NYCFC. “It’s a big club, a big organization. The way the team plays makes me want to join them so much. I’m here to help guys become even better players, I’m here to do my best to help grow the team and to help the team win more MLS cups.
Kléberson goes on to say that he believes in the NYCTC style of play. “We have a lot of guys who are very comfortable with the ball, really technical players,” Kléberson said. “Growing up playing on the streets, I’ve always loved having the ball at my feet. I feel like I can contribute a lot, in terms of the details, to have the opportunity to create more, to score more goals and having fun with the ball.