AUSTIN, Texas – Austin Bold FC was introduced to the North American soccer landscape on Friday morning as the side based in the capital of Texas that is set to join the USL for the 2019 season unveiled its brand and jerseys at a ceremony at the Circuit of The Americas.
Bold FC also announced Marcelo Serrano as its Head Coach, along with the first three players who will take to the field next spring at the club’s 5,000-seat stadium in the heart of Circuit of The Americas, the premier destination for entertainment and motorsports in the United States.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for soccer to succeed in Austin,” said Bold FC General Manager Roberto Silva. “We will have first-class facilities, a 5,000-seat soccer specific stadium, concessions that include adult beverages, and we're recruiting players of an incredibly high caliber. This is a fantastic chance for the game to grow and flourish in this market and we are excited to bring all of it to the great soccer fans in Austin.”
A native of Brazil, Serrano brings more than eight years of professional and international coaching experience, having developed players in the United States, Brazil and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Serrano currently serves as the head coach and general manager for the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) men’s senior national team. Hired in 2017, he will lead the team during CONCACAF Nation’s Cup qualifications beginning in September 2018, while also guiding Austin Bold FC as it heads into its inaugural season.
Serrano will lead a squad that will include striker Kléber Giacomazzi de Souza Freitas, better known as Kléber, midfielder Marcelo Saragosa and left-back Edson Braafheid.
Kléber, nicknamed "Gladiador" (Gladiator) for his courage and determination, arrives from his native Brazil where he recently played with Coritiba FC. Kléber has scored 194 goals in his professional career, which includes playing time with Dynamo Kyiv of the Ukrainian Premier League and Palmeiras and Grêmio of the Brazilian Championship A Series. In parts of four seasons with Coritiba, Kléber appeared in 91 matches and netted 41 goals, including 23 in the 2016 season.
Marcelo Saragosa is a nine-year veteran of Major League Soccer, including winning an MLS Cup and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with the LA Galaxy. He most recently played with the Tampa Bay Rowdies, serving as the captain for the 2015 campaign. Saragosa started his career at the age of 12 with Portuegessa, then joined the acclaimed São Paulo FC youth academy the following year, working his way onto the senior team at 20 years of age.
Edson Braafheid joins Austin Bold FC after last playing for FC Utrecht of the Eredivisie, the premier division in the Netherlands. The Dutch national was selected to the Netherlands’ 2008 Summer Olympics squad and played in the 2010 World Cup final in South Africa. Braafheid’s professional career includes time with Bayern Munich in the German Bundesliga and Lazio in the Italian Serie A.