Sporting Kansas City has signed Portuguese defender Nuno André Coelho, the club announced on Tuesday. Coelho will occupy an international roster spot pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 Visa.
Per club and MLS policy, terms of the deal will not be disclosed. Coelho was acquired as a discovery signing.
“Our intention during the offseason has been to add players to each of our lines,” Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes said. “Nuno comes to us with a tremendous amount of experience and adds another dimension to how we want to play as a team.”
Coelho, 30, has played more than 160 matches during a 12-year professional career in Europe, including seven appearances in the UEFA Champions League with Portuguese clubs SC Braga and FC Porto. The 6-foot-4 center back most recently played for Balikesirspor of the Turkish Super Lig during the 2014-15 season.
“I am very excited to join Sporting Kansas City,” Coelho said. “This is a club with a very good reputation and I think it will be a perfect fit for me.”
A native of Penafiel, Portugal, Coelho made his professional debut at age 18 with FC Porto B, the reserve team of 27-time Portuguese first division champion FC Porto. The defender scored three goals in 27 games for the Portugal U-20 and U-21 national teams from 2005-2008, including four appearances at the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada.
Between 2006 and 2009, FC Porto loaned Coelho to Portuguese clubs FC Maia (2006), Portimonense SC (2007-08) and CF Estrela da Amadora (2008-09), making his top-flight debut in the Primeira Liga with Estrela. Coelho spent 2006-07 on loan at Standard Liege of the Belgian first division, featuring in a pair of UEFA Champions League qualifiers and helping his team to a third-place finish in the Jupiler Pro League.
During his final campaign at FC Porto in 2009-10, Coelho started in a UEFA Champions League Round of 16 clash at Arsenal FC (England) and helped his club win the Taça de Portugal, the country’s premier knockout competition. He was named to the Portuguese Men’s National Team for the first time in August 2010, joining the squad for 2012 UEFA Euro qualifiers against Cyprus and Norway.
Coelho moved to Sporting Clube de Portugal for the 2010-11 season and in his third appearance scored a vital goal against Danish side Brondby IF, propelling Sporting into the UEFA Europa League group stage. He joined SC Braga the following year and helped the club finish third in the 2011-12 Primiera Liga. Coelho’s performances earned him a second stint with the Portuguese national team in September 2012, and he was on the substitutes bench for a pair of 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Azerbaijan and Luxembourg.
Coelho’s 2012-13 campaign was highlighted by six starts in the UEFA Champions League and a 2013 Taça da Liga title, Braga’s first domestic cup since 1966. He played 90 minutes in the final as Braga beat his former club FC Porto 1-0. Coelho made an additional 26 appearances for the club in 2013-14 before joining Balikesirspor in July 2014.
Coelho is the sixth addition to Sporting Kansas City’s roster for the 2016 season, along with Homegrown Player Daniel Salloi, goalkeeper Alec Kann, and midfielders Lawrence Olum, Justin Mapp and Brad Davis. Visit SportingKC.com/tracker to view all of Sporting KC’s offseason roster moves.
Nuno André Coelho (KWAY-yoh)
Hometown: Penafiel, Portugal
Birthplace: Penafiel, Portugal
Acquired: Signed by Sporting KC on Jan. 26, 2016
Previous Club: Balikesirspor (Turkey)