FC Dallas

FC Dallas Announces Updates to First Team Technical Staff

February 22, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
FC Dallas News Release

FRISCO, Texas - FC Dallas announced today several updates to the club's technical staff ahead of the 2024 Major League Soccer season. André Zanotta has signed a new multi-year deal and was named FC Dallas' new Chief Soccer Officer and Sporting Director. FC Dallas named Sandro Orlandelli as its new Technical Director and re-signed Director of Scouting Leonardo Baldo to a new multi-year contract.

Zanotta's promotion follows a historic offseason during which FC Dallas shattered its club transfer fee with the acquisition of Petar Musa from S.L Benfica, alongside spearheading FC Dallas' talent development partnership with the historic Portuguese team.

"We are excited for André Zanotta to be the Chief Soccer Officer of FC Dallas," FC Dallas President Dan Hunt said. "Soccer has such a global footprint, as the game evolves over time, so does the business side of the game. As Chief Soccer Officer, Zanotta will be in charge of all things related to the soccer business. The role of technical director has changed in the global game, we see it happening in MLS. The transition to Chief Soccer Officer gives André the credit that he deserves because he does an outstanding job running our entire soccer business from top to bottom here at FC Dallas."

During Zanotta's tenure, he has overseen the record-breaking transfer of Ricardo Pepi to German club FC Augsburg, wonderkid Alan Velasco's transfer from Independiente of Argentina and has played an integral role in building the first-team roster, managing the salary cap and recruiting on-field, coaching and support staff talent to the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Sandro Orlandelli assumes the role of Technical Director after Zanotta's promotion. Orlandelli brings a wealth of experience, having served as Sport Club Internacional's Technical Coordinator. Following Red Bull Bragantino's takeover by Red Bull GmbH, Orlandelli was named the first-ever Technical Coordinator at Red Bull Bragantino. Orlandelli oversaw Natan Bernardo de Souza's transfer from Flamengo for $3.7 million. Natan was later sold to SSC Napoli of Serie A for $10.8 million. Orlandelli also oversaw the club's largest sale of Claudinho to Zenit St. Petersburg for $12.9 million.

"We're excited to bring Orlandelli to FC Dallas as the Technical Director," Hunt said. "Orlandelli's volume of work is very substantial, working for great clubs around the world like Arsenal. He's had a lot of success in developing players and that's truly what the role of the Technical Director is. We think given his experiences working at different clubs both in Europe and in South America, he will help FC Dallas and our DNA here in developing young talents and raising them through the ranks from academy to North Texas, then to FC Dallas."

At FC Dallas, Orlandelli will work closely with the academy director and academy, the second team coaching staff, as well as the first team coaching staff. Orlandelli will oversee the player pathway and will assist FC Dallas' Director of Scouting Leonardo Baldo. Orlandelli will also assist in the player development partnership with Benfica to enhance the development pathway at FC Dallas.

"Orlandelli has unparalleled experience in developing talented players. He worked with high profile players at top clubs across Europe and South America as well as working with the youth national teams of Brazil," FC Dallas Chief Soccer Officer André Zanotta said. "Orlandelli has a proven track record of finding and developing players. From the physical, technical, tactical and mental aspects. I'm very excited to have him here at FC Dallas and help the pathway from academy to the second team to the first team."

Prior to Orlandelli's stint with the Brasileirão clubs, Orlandelli was hired by Jose Mourinho to join Manchester United as a first team scout. Before joining United, Orlandelli was a Senior Scout for the Brazilian National team. Orlandelli has also worked as Clube Athletico Paranaense's football director and was the Chief Scout and Technical Director at Santos Futebol Clube.

Orlandelli started his scouting career as a South America scout for Arsenal Football Club where he spent nine years with the London club. At Arsenal, Orlandelli helped scout and sign Denilson, Carlos Vela, Wellington Silva and Emiliano Martinez.

FC Dallas also re-signed Director of Scouting Leonardo Baldo to a new multi-year contract. Baldo and the scouting department were responsible for scouting 2024 FC Dallas signings Patrickson Delgado, Enes Sali and Petar Musa.

"Leonardo Baldo has been doing a great job at FC Dallas since his arrival," Zanotta said. "Baldo has managed the signings of talented players across the globe for the FC Dallas Academy, North Texas SC and FC Dallas. We aim to have continuity at the club. Baldo finds players, identifies talent and with our team of scouts, Leonardo does really well. I'm happy that we can keep him here for longer."

"I'm really proud and excited for the opportunity to be part of this next cycle," FC Dallas Director of Scouting Leonardo Baldo said. "Our scouting department achieved almost all the goals we set at the beginning of this journey, and we still have room to keep evolving. As a club we are all here committed to fight for titles with all of our efforts. I thank the club, Andre and the owners for their trust. I'm looking forward to the next chapter."

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