Two months to get into a different reality, far on the other side of the World. It took as much for Antonio Nocerino to find in the Orlando City a warm place and a constantly growing championship together with former AC Milan champion Kakà now his team-mate again. We reached him in Orlando, Florida, to discuss about his first months in MLS. Below follow the exclusive interview with Antonio Nocerino by MLSsocceritalia.com
How would you describe your first impact with the american reality?
Positive for sure. It was an important change, a life choice both for me and my family. I believe I did the right choice since I am really enjoying my stay here in Orlando. I am not even having language issues due to my previous six months in West Ham.
What talked you into trying this new experience in MLS? Have you ever followed MLS before?
I was fascinated by Kaka’s choice but it was both with Pirlo and Giovinco entering the league that I started looking with interest at MLS. So I took the chance of entering myself as soon as it showed but I preferred Orlando because of Kaka’s presence. Since I already knew him I thought I could use some help adapting myself in the new environment. But Orlando really is a big family of club and supporters and I’d love to spent the rest of my carrer here. I will play other four years in Major League Soccer.
What’s the weekly training like? Is that really though as they say?
If compared to other european leagues there’s surely less tension during the week but we really train a lot. Someone says “too much” but I don’t mind for I’ve always been training with italian trainers who are among the best. Moreover our trainer is european so I don’t find many differences between here and Italy in that regard.
What’s the feeling of the Citrus Bowl?
Amazing. Our supporters are so cheering and warm that it almost feels like playing into a Premier League stadium. In Orlando people is so passionate about the club that it seems to be in the south of Italy when it comes to team support. It is so also because it’s a constantly growing reality and with the upcoming stadium it will take another quality step.
Is there any team-mate that took your attention or that you think might do good things in Europe too?
I don’t like making names but Molino, Rafael and Carlos Rivas are excellent players that could potentially do very good things in Europe. To compete in Europe is a big jump but because of their quality and age I believe they are those that -if followed- could do brilliant things. Amongst them, Molino surely is almost ready for that.
What does MLS lack of to compete with big european leagues?
To increase tactical level we need better prepared coaches. Europeans got them because of their soccer culture and history and in fact our coach -Heath- help us playing a good soccer. We need to focus on other soccer cultures and that’s why I am here too. I am 31 by now and still want to enjoy myself and be of example or help those team-mates wanting to try the european experience. My openess and friendship with my team and team-mates is granted as It’s always been.
How about Kaka?
Ricardo really seems calm and relaxed. He’s an amazing person and I was really pleased to meet him again. But there’s even Julio Baptista with whom we want to create a big group to train and increase our skills. This team needs to step up mentality and attitude -because that’s what soccer’s all about- more than any other physical-training aspect.
Someone else from the Serie A asked you information about playing in MLS? How about your friend Prince Boateng?
Me and Boateng are very close, but I think he’s good with AC Milan by now. I hope he could get the chance to play here someday for MLS really needs strong players like him.
Speaking about Serie A What’s your opinion about Milan latest coach, Brocchi?
I like him as a person as well as a coach. I met him so I know he’s prepared and knows what he’s doing. I hope he could beat the challenge because he deserves it. And Milan players have run out of alibi: both them and Brocchi are at risk and only the ones giving all themeselves should stay.
I didn’t get to play much when he was my coach but still I haven’t got any problem with him. Players are used to these things: maybe he didn’t like me. Everyone do their own choice I did mine coming here in Orlando and I’m happy with that.
You’ve seen him closely: What do you think of Locatelli, is he really the new Pirlo? On which player should Milan bet for the future?
We need to take it really easy: Locatelli’s got potential but during these years I’ve seen my share of players that could. Cristante and Petagna for example were expected to be of impact for Milan. With young players you need the patience to let them maturate their skills constantly if you don’t want to lose their talent. Anyway, I believe the strongest is Calabria.
Calabria as Donnarumma?
Davide is really a strong player and if he plays his cards well he’ll surely have the career he deserves. Gigio (Donnarumma ndr) is another story. Gigio is just Gigio full stop. Nothing can shake him: a youngster with an elder grip on life. He’s got this gift to save the unsaveable. And only once I saw this gift before in my carrer: in the young Buffon. Guess this sums it all up for me.
Will you, together with Kaka, still follow AC Milan team?
Of course. Every now and then we get the canche to see it and we keep ourselves informed. Milan is always on our hearts.
What’s Orlando City goal for the season?
We need step up our mentality and improve what’s good we did last year. I am here to win but the very first step will be reaching play-offs.