|This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (March 2014)|
Nocerino in action for the Italian national football team in 2012
|Full name||Antonio Nocerino|
|Date of birth||9 April 1985|
|Place of birth||Naples, Italy|
|Height||1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|2003–2004||→ Avellino (loan)||34||(0)|
|2005||→ Catanzaro (loan)||21||(0)|
|2005–2006||→ Crotone (loan)||15||(0)|
|2006||→ Messina (loan)||11||(1)|
|2014||→ West Ham United (loan)||10||(0)|
|2014||→ Torino (loan)||5||(0)|
|2015||→ Parma (loan)||20||(3)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of January 8, 2017.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 11 September 2012 (UTC)
Antonio Nocerino (Italian pronunciation: [anˈtɔːnjo notʃeˈriːno]; born 9 April 1985) is an Italian footballer who plays as a midfielder for Major League Soccer club Orlando City SC. Prior to joining Orlando City, he played for several clubs in Italy, in particular Juventus, Palermo, and Milan, as well as English side West Ham United. At international level, he has also represented the Italian national team, winning a runners-up medal at Euro 2012, and was also a member of the Italian team that took part at the 2008 Olympics.
He started playing at the age of five years at a small club in his neighbourhood, coached by his father. When he was 13, he joined the Juventus youth academy. He made his professional debut with Avellino in Serie B on 11 September 2003, drawing 0–0 with Parma.
In August 2004 Nocerino was sold to Genoa in a co-ownership deal for €450,000; in a separate deal Domenico Criscito and Francesco Volpe joined Turin also in co-ownership deals for a total fee of €1.9 million in June 2004.
His first match in Serie A came on 12 February 2006 for Messina, beating Sampdoria 4–2. His first goal in Serie A for Messina was scored on 7 May 2006 against Empoli; it was then stricken off when the game was forfeited. In summer 2006 half of the registration rights of Nocerino was sold to Piacenza from Genoa.
Piacenza and Juventus
In the 2006–07 Serie B season, at Piacenza, he started regularly, playing 37 games and scoring six goals. In June 2007, Juventus bought back 50% registration rights of Nocerino, from Piacenza for €3.7 million.
He made his official debut with Juventus playing in the starting XI on the opening day of Serie A against Livorno, which Juventus won 5–1. His performances saw coach Claudio Ranieri play him in the first half of the season. In the second half, with the arrival of Mohamed Sissoko, his opportunity to play diminished. He made 32 league appearances and four in the Coppa Italia.
On 30 May 2008, he moved permanently to Palermo as part of the transfer that took Amauri to Juventus. Nocerino was priced at €7.5 million. He made his debut in the Rosanero shirt in a 3–1 victory against Roma on 13 September. In the 2009–10 season, with Walter Zenga as coach, he started again regularly in the first XI. On 23 September 2009, in the home game against Roma, he scored his first goal in Serie A for Palermo. His only other goal that season was scored against Lazio on 21 February 2010.
With the arrival of manager Delio Rossi, he was assigned the task of offensive midfielder, leaving the defensive midfield work to Giulio Migliaccio. He was also used as coverage of the left wing when full-back Federico Balzaretti pushed forward. He closed his second season with Palermo with 35 appearances and two goals in the league, plus three appearances in Coppa Italia. Playing the quarter-finals in the Coppa Italia, which Palermo won on penalties against Parma, marked his 100th appearance for Palermo. He finished this eason with 49 appearances in all competitions, being the most used player in the team and scoring four goals, all in the league.
In the beginning of the 2011–12 season, after playing two matches in the Europa League's third qualifying round against Swiss side FC Thun, he left Palermo, making a total of 122 appearances and scoring six goals during his tenure.
Nocerino made his Milan debut in the first 2011–12 game of the season on 9 September 2011 coming on as a 68th-minute substitute for fellow debutante Alberto Aquilani in a 2–2 home draw against Lazio. He made his UEFA Champions League debut in the next game on 13 September, when Milan drew 2–2 against FC Barcelona.
On 15 October, he scored his first goal in the 3–0 home victory against former club Palermo, completing a great team move led by Antonio Cassano and Robinho. Due to the injury crisis, he played regularly until picking up his fourth caution of the season on 6 November, resulting in a suspension. On 26 October, Nocerino notched a hat-trick for Milan in a 4–1 win against Parma. On 25 February 2012, Nocerino scored against title chaser Juventus in the 1–1 draw, putting his goal tally to eight for the season.
Nocerino scored in Milan's Second-Leg Champions League Quarter-final tie against Barcelona just after the half-hour mark to level the match at 1–1 after Lionel Messi opened the scoring with a penalty. The game ended 3–1 on the night and also on aggregate to Barcelona. After A.C. Milan's elimination from the Champions League and failure to defend their league title, manager Massimiliano Allegri reject speculation that Nocerino would be sold. Forza Italian Football named Nocerino as the signing of the season, due to his goalscoring attributes.
In the summer of 2012, Nocerino took the A.C. Milan squad number 8 following the departure of Gennaro Gattuso to join Swiss club Sion. He said it was 'an honour' to receive the number 8 shirt as a worthy to successor to Gattuso.
On 16 December 2012, Nocerino scored a goal 35 seconds into the game in which Milan defeated Pescara. After the game, Nocerino told the press that he would like to dedicate his goal to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Nocerino said, "... everything I did today was only for them." However, as the season progressed, Nocerino is considered leaving the club in the summer if he cannot be guaranteed a regular starting place.
In the summer of 2013, Nocerino changed his squad number to 23 following the departure of the former captain Massimo Ambrosini. Following the sack of Manager Allergi, Nocerino made 11 appearance in 2013–14 season and reacted with shock when he left A.C. Milan on loan. At the time of his transfer, he was linked with a move to Torino.
West Ham United (loan)
On 25 January 2014, he signed for Premier League club West Ham United on loan for the remainder of the season. Nocerino made his first appearance for West Ham against Chelsea on 29 January coming on as a substitute for Kevin Nolan in the 80th minute in a 0–0 draw at Stamford Bridge. Having made ten appearances for the club, Nocernino's loan spell with West Ham United came to an end despite his wish to stay.
Nocerino was presented with the No. 22 jersey during half-time of the first match for Orlando City, against Real Salt Lake on 6 March 2016.
Nocerino played for Italy's under-20 in the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship and with their under-21 in the 2007 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship. He captained the Italy under-23 side in their triump over Chile to win the Toulon Tournament for the first time in the team's history. He also competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics as captain of Italy's Olympic squad. He received his first call up to Italy's national team by Roberto Donadoni on 17 October 2007 in a friendly against South Africa. Nocerino was selected to Italy's final squad at the 2012 Euro Championships. He played in the quarter finals against England, where he had a goal disallowed for offside, and subsequently scored in the penalty shootout which Italy won 4–2.
Style of play
Compared to Gennaro Gattuso during his time at Milan, Nocerino is a quick, energetic, and hard-working player who is primarily deployed as a ball-winning defensive midfielder, or as a box-to-box midfielder, although he can be deployed anywhere in midfield. During his time at Juventus, he was played as a deep-lying playmaker on occasion, and even as a winger, although his preferred role is that of an attacking central midfielder. With the Italian national team, under Cesare Prandelli, he has also been used in a new role on occasion, as a false-attacking midfielder. Nocerino is primarily known for his pace, stamina, strength, and his tenacious tackling ability, as well his adeptness at reading the game. He is also capable of being an offensive threat due to his tendency to make attacking runs into the box, as well as his eye for goal and powerful and accurate shot from distance. He has also recently improved his distribution, as well as his technical and creative skills, which make him capable of providing assists for team-mates.
On 18 September 2007, it was reported that Nocerino was hit by a car after leaving a restaurant in Turin and was hospitalised for scans when he suffered minor concussion and bruising. The following day, Nocerino was discharged from the hospital and monitored for a few days.
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