Archive for the ‘Vincenzo Bernardo’ Category

Bernardo’s Napoli Chances Looking Up

April 17, 2009

Napoli primavera striker Vincenzo Bernardo seems to be inching closer to a chance to dress with the first team in Serie A action sometime before the season ends. After practicing most of the season with the first team, the New Jersey native has been spending more time playing each week with the primavera (reserve) squad and but drawing more attention from the Napoli management and local media.

In today’s primavera friendly match against Napoli’s first team, (which normally ends 7-0 for the first team) Bernardo scored in a 5-1 losing effort for the youngsters, drawing praise from Coach Roberto Donadoni in the process.

Donodani has a history of experimenting with young players so the chance that Bernardo could suit up sometime this spring could be on the upswing.

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Bernardo Scores Against Ancona

March 22, 2009

In Italian primavera (reserve) action, Vincenzo Bernardo played in the second half of Napoli’s 5-0 romp over Ancona, scoring one goal and assisting on another.

Coaching Change At Napoli Could Benefit Bernardo

March 17, 2009

After a superb five year coaching stint at Napoli, Edy Reja brought the Partenopei from the depths of Serie C all the way back near the top of the Serie A table. He did so with shrewd purchases and strong attacking football – all with a budget dwarfed by the bigger clubs in Italy.

But in 2009 with whispers of Champions League in the air, Napoli’s tires went flat with an eight game winless streak and an unsettled clubhouse. Sometimes the one who got you where you are isn’t necessarily the one to take you to the next level so Napoli’s management opted to replace Reja with former AC Milan great Roberto Donodoni.

Of course Reja was the one who took a shine to young American primavera striker Vincenzo Bernardo last fall after watching him score against his first team while causing some unexpected trouble for his defense in practice. Reja had the club sign Bernardo to a professional contract and has since had the New Jersey native train with the first team almost every day.

Now with Reja out of the picture, we’ve got to wonder what this will mean for Bernardo’s future chances at Napoli. In January, the club turned down several loan offers from Serie B clubs as well as teams in England, Belgium, and Romania since they wanted an ironclad deal that he would play (and were even willing to provide financial incentives to ensure he saw plently of playing time). Instead, the 19 year old remained at Napoli training with the first team while making occasional appearances for the primavera (reserve) side.

When asked about the new coaching situation at Napoli, Bernardo stated: “I’m grateful to coach Reja both for the chance with Napoli and for all I’ve learned from him. I’m looking forward to learning from Coach Donadoni and I remember watching him back he he was playing for the Metrostars.”

Word out of the Napoli camp is that Donadoni has seen Bernardo in training with the first team and it appears he is remaining with that group for now – a good sign.

As Napoli’s chances for earning a Champions League and UEFA Cup positions start to fade, the chances that Bernardo could actually suit up at least once for the Napoli first team seem to be increasing. When teams hit the end phase of the season well clear of the relegation zone and out of the running for a European spot (the limbo zone), managers are more likely to experiment with young players and to start laying the groundwork for the future. After last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Reggina (which was nearly a loss before Ezequiel Lavezzi saved a point), Napoli now appears more firmly entrenched in the limbo zone.

While this does not mean Donadoni is ready to start experimenting yet, don’t be surprised to see him give a few more young players a runout in the San Paolo as the season fades. Whether one of them is Bernardo remains to be seen but hey, you never know.

Comments and Predictions

February 28, 2009

I’m still in the songwriting mode these days (since it pays much better than soccer writing) so once again, I’ll let some musicians help out with a few predictions and comments.

What will David Beckham be doing this year?

What do you make of recent reports that Vincenzo Bernardo is not committed to playing for the US U-20s?

What Are Your Thoughts On the New MLS Season?

Will Freddy Adu Ever Get A Start With AS Monaco?

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New York Stars Fall To Dukla Prague in Viareggio Opener

February 12, 2009

The New York Stars (a select team from the metro New York area) fell to Dukla Prague 5-2 today in Pisa during their opening match of the prestigious Torneo Viareggio.

SSC Napoli’s Vincenzo Bernardo, on loan for the tournament, went the full 90, drawing a penalty and then scoring from the PK spot. Later, Bernardo carried deep into the Dukla Prague penalty area again and had his cross cleared out by the Dukla defense. The clearance fell to the feet of Chris Alesci, who cracked an 18 meter shot for New York’s second goal. Alesci normally plays for the PDL’s Westchester Flames.

Today’s two goals were the first ever scored by the New York Stars, a perennial participant. In the past, they’ve normally been beaten 6-0 or 7-0, so a 5-2 losing result is still a sign of real progress.

The Stars face an even stiffer test on Saturday when they take on Fiorentina in the second round.

Bernardo Stays At Napoli But European Interest Remains

February 7, 2009

It looks like American forward Vincenzo Bernardo will be staying with SSC Napoli this spring after turning down several offers from throughout Europe. Bernardo had drawn interest from Spain, England, Romania, Belgium, Greece, and among several Italian Serie B and C teams. The strongest offer came from Serie B side Brescia which offered to buy joint ownership (50-50) of the young player – an offer Napoli refused.

So, Bernardo will stay with the club this spring, training 70-80% of the time with the first team but will be loaned out short term to the New York Stars to play in the prestigious Torneo Viareggio. While he remains available for the US U-20 team, some interesting whispers are coming out of the Castel Volturno clubhouse; that the Italian national team has asked the club for information on Bernardo.

If true, this comes as no surprise since not 48 hours after this article appeared on Soccer Times, a televised report appeared on Sky24 (Italian national news channel) claiming that the US was “calling up young Italian players” in a tone which indicated the Stars and Stripes were poaching foreign youth players. They seem to conveniently forget that the next great hope of the Azzuri, Giuseppe Rossi, was born in the same US state as Bernardo, New Jersey.

It only makes sense that someone from the Italian youth program would want to know more about Bernardo and possibly Nazzani since both are up and coming players within their Serie A teams’ reserve systems. So, I wouldn’t read to much into it…yet.

Bernardo Loan Deal Drawing Closer

January 11, 2009

SSC Napoli primavera striker Vincenzo Bernardo appears even closer to a loan deal for the second half of the season.

The new twist, as he told LFV, is that instead of possibly going to a Serie C side, there is a good chance the 18 year-old New Jersey native could end up in Serie B.

We’ll find out more in the coming weeks as he and his agent consider options, bearing in mind their priority to find a club where he can play every week – but also one which will support any possible callups for US U-20 World Championship qualifiers. Stay tuned.

Speaking of Serie B, American Danny Szetela and his Brescia team were snowed out of their match with Sassuolo which will be rescheduled for January 27th. Brescia has been tinkering with a 4-3-3 formation which may leave Szetela as the odd man out. We’ll find out more this weekend in their match against Pisa. Meanwhile, in Serie C action, Gabe Ferrari and his Perugia team will be looking for three points in today’s road match at Benevento.

In other news, Carlos Bocanagra went the full 90 for Rennes as they vaulted themselves into second place (at least for today) with a 1-0 home win over upstart Grenoble. Freddy Adu did not dress for AS Monaco’s 2-1 loss to FC Nantes. And, rounding out the Americans in southern Europe, Jozy Altidore did not play in Villarreal’s 3-3 draw with Valencia. A late penalty by Villarreal’s other New Jersey native, Giuseppe Rossi, saved the point for the Yellow Submarine.

Happy Thanksgiving Soccer Fans!

November 27, 2008

Well, I’m off with my wife to the other side of Italy for a few days to check out the heel of the boot. We hope soccer fans everywhere have a great Thanksgiving and we’ll be back up online this weekend.

In the meantime, check out my new article at Soccer Times which gets more in depth on a few American players (pictured here) which readers have said they’d like to know more about. To find out who they are, check the link above.

Photo by Rodrigo Erades

Szetela Watches From The Bench As Brescia Drops Another

November 8, 2008

Brescia continued its slide in Serie B, losing its second match in a row, this time to 15th place Piacenza, 1-0. American Danny Szetela appears to have fallen out of favor with coach Nedo Sonetti, having been bumped by 23 year-old Marco Zambelli the past two weeks. Of course the more Sonetti seems to tinker with the lineup, the more inconsistent (and less successful) the side has been. So, Szetela may be able to work his way back into the mix – we’ll see.

Elsewhere in Italy, Gabriel Ferrari’s Perugia side takes on Foggia tomorrow afternoon in Serie C competition. Meanwhile, Vincenzo Bernardo and the Napoli reserves take on Bari in reserve league play. Bernardo leaves for Madrid next week to join the US U-2o squad for a training camp. This week, LFV will chat with Bernardo before he leaves for Madrid to discuss, among other things, what its like to train each week with two of Serie A’s hottest young strikers: German Dennis and Ezequiel Lavezzi.

More on the U-20 Camp courtesy of US Soccer Communications:

U-20 MNT TO HOLD TRAINING CAMP IN MADRID, SPAIN: U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Thomas Rongen has named 18 players that will travel to Madrid, Spain, from Nov. 15-23. The team will play games against club teams, with dates and opponents to be confirmed. The squad boasts nine professional players who play in seven different leagues around the world, including a pair from Germany’s Hertha Berlin in Bryan Arguez and Alfredo Morales and a duo from Major League Soccer’s FC Dallas in Josh Lambo and Anthony Wallace. Tristan Bowen of the Los Angeles Galaxy, Jorge Flores of Chivas USA and Abdusalam Ibrahim from Toronto FC round out the MLS contingent. All five of the domestically-based youth players play for clubs from the U.S. Soccer Development Academy: Gale Agbossoumonde (IMG Academies), Anthony Arena (Crossfire Premier), Bill Hamid (D.C. United Academy), Josh Hernandez (FC Dallas Juniors) and Zarek Valentin (PA Classics). Hamid replaces fellow U.S. U-17 Residency player Earl Edwards, who was named to the original roster. The U-20 Men’s National Team is preparing for CONCACAF Under-20 World Cup qualifying, which will take place in Trinidad early in 2009.

U.S. U-20 MNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Bill Hamid (Anandale, Va.; D.C. United Academy), Josh Lambo (Middleton, Wis.; FC Dallas)
DEFENDERS (5): Gale Agbossoumonde (Syracuse, N.Y.; IMG Academy), Anthony Arena (Kenmore, Wash.; Crossfire Premier), Kyle Davies (Daniville, Calif.; Southampton FC), Zarek Valentin (Lancaster, Pa.; PA Classics), Anthony Wallace (St. Petersburg, Fla.; FC Dallas)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Bryan Arguez (Miami; Hertha Berlin), Jorge Flores (Anaheim, Calif.; Chivas USA), Gregory Garza (Grapevine, Texas; Sporting Lisbon), Josh Hernandez (Dallas, Texas; FC Dallas Juniors), Jared Jeffrey (Richardson, Texas; Club Brugge), Alfredo Morales (Berlin; Hertha Berlin), Giuseppe Nazzani (Reggio Emilia, Italy; Bologna FC)
FORWARDS (4): Vincenzo Bernardo (Madison, N.J.; SSC Napoli), Tristan Bowen (Van Nuys, Calif.; Los Angeles Galaxy), Abdusalam Ibrahim (Richfield, Minn.; Toronto FC), Jose Torres (Coronado, Calif.; Loros de Colina)

Bernardo Signs 3-Year Deal With Napoli

September 24, 2008

US national youth team player Vincenzo Bernardo has just signed a 3-year professional deal with Serie A side Napoli which ties him to the club until 2011. Currently with the Napoli reserve team, the 18 year-old New Jersey native saw his fortunes rise this fall after a strong reserve friendly performance against the first team a few weeks ago.

Head coach Edy Reja was so impressed with the young Bernardo’s play in the match that he called him in to train with the first team for a week where he showed well and impressed team scouts (as well as some suitors from England and Spain). By the end of the week, Bernardo’s agent called him to inform him that the club wanted to offer him a professional contract and by last weekend, the deal was done. “Its a dream come true, I’m very thankful” remarked Bernardo after a training session today at the club’s Castel Volturno training grounds.

While Napoli already has a great deal of first team talent at forward, the club indicates Bernardo is likely to be called into first team training when Reja needs to shore up his options, including during UEFA and Coppa Italia weeks and around FIFA international match weeks when the team loses several forwards to national team duty. While they appear to have future plans for him, whether he can crack the first 18 this year remains to be seen but Bernardo is realistic: “There could be a chance at some point but I need to work hard, be patient, and see what happens. Just to be training with the first team is a good experience. ”

On training with players like Argentine internationals Ezequiel Lavezzi and German Denis, or Uruguayan international Walter Gargano, Bernardo remarked that: “It definitely raises the bar on everything you need to do since everyone is watching and you are going up against some really good players – you need to perform. They are not only good players but also great people, they are ready to help you and there is a real good feeling with them.”

When asked if he’ll be getting any future chances with the US National Youth teams, Bernardo stated: “Its always an honor to be called in represent your country. If they call, I’ll be there any time they want me.

In the meantime, Bernardo will continue to train alternately with the reserve and first teams and is looking forward to the reserve team’s first league match against Ascoli on October 11th.