Italian midfielder Antonio Nocerino arrived in Orlando yesterday and had his physical. Today, he took the pitch with his new teammates in purple for the first time at the club's Sylvan Lake Park training center. Nocerino participated in some light workouts, no doubt still feeling a jetlagged from what he said was a long flight on Friday.
Following the training session, the Italian met with the media for the first time to talk about his first day, his decision to come to Orlando, and how he fits in with his new team.
"It was an important first training session," he said, speaking in his native Italian through an interpreter. "Overall impression is it's a great team."
Nocerino said he would have liked to have arrived in Orlando sooner to be able to have a chance to play in the opener, but due to bureaucratic holdups, he wasn't able to make it any sooner.
"The important thing is I'm here now and I'm ready to go," he said.
Head Coach Adrian Heath said he didn't get to see a lot from his new player, owing to it being the day before a match.
"We haven't done an awful lot today, with it being the day before (a game) and obviously he's not going to be involved tomorrow, so it's been a really light morning for him," Heath said. "He did all his physicals yesterday. Over the weekend we'll start to up his workload and look to get him involved next week against Chicago."
While he's been working out in Milan, it's one thing to be in shape and another to be match fit. Nocerino said he doesn't expect it to take long to get up to speed.
"I hope very soon. I miss playing a lot," he said. "I'm hoping two maybe three games and I'll be fully match fit."
While it has been speculated that he'll play in the middle of central midfield in a 4-3-2-1 formation, Nocerino said his best position is on the left side of central midfield, where he can play in front of the center man in the formation and use his right foot to send balls forward. But he isn't concerned with his role on the team right now.
"I think I'm going to integrate well," he said. "I've done it before. It's part of my character. It's my position to be a midfielder and I like to get in and score goals. It's ultimately going to be the coach's decision and his opinion that will count."
"My relationship with Kaká was an important factor in coming to Orlando over DC," he said. "Ricky helped the process and it's an experience I've been wanting to have for a long time."
Despite the success of his countryman, Sebastian Giovinco, last season, the newest Lion said that didn't factor into his decision to come to MLS, although he did seek out advice from the Toronto forward.
"Giovinco wasn't a direct influence," he said. "The USA has always fascinated me and it's always been an experience I wanted to have. Talking to Giovinco, talking to Kaká about the growth of the league did influence me."
That fascination with the U.S. was a recurring topic with Nocerino this morning. So what is it about our country that he finds so intriguing?
"Everything," he said. "From the history to the various cities and places. The people. They are so different from Europe. I've always thought it was a great country and the thinking is very different and I hope to spend a long time in the United States."
He got his first taste of the people yesterday upon his arrival, where he was surprised to see such a big reception of Orlando City fans at the airport.
"The fans being at the airport was completely unexpected and it reassured me that I made the right decision in coming to Orlando."