Sporting Kansas City sign ex-Porto, Braga defender Nuno Andre Coelho

Nuno Andre Coelho - Sporting Kansas City signing - 1/26/2016

Sporting Kansas City added some experience to their backline on Tuesday, when the club announced that they’ve signed Portuguese center back Nuno André Coelho.

Coelho will occupy an international roster spot in the 2016 season. Per league and club policy, further terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The 30-year-old Coelho has played more than 160 matches during his 12-year professional career. He’s spent most of his career in his native Portugal, starting his career with Porto in 2005 before moving to Sporting Clube de Portugal in 2010. He played one year at Sporting CP, moving to Braga in 2011 for a three-year stint.  

He went on three loans during his five years at Porto, including a successful stay at Belgian club Standard Liege for the 2006-07 season. Coelho has been without a club since playing for Turkish Super Lig side Balikesirspor in the 2014-15 season.

“Our intention during the offseason has been to add players to each of our lines,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said in a statement released by the club. “Nuno comes to us with a tremendous amount of experience and adds another dimension to how we want to play as a team.”

A former Portuguese Under-20 and Under-21 international, Coelho has experience playing in the UEFA Champions League, appearing a total of seven times in the competition for Porto and Braga. The 6-foot-4 center back has been called to the Portuguese senior national team on several occasions, but has never appeared as a full international.

Coelho joins Matt Besler, Ike Opara, Erik Palmer-Brown and Kevin Ellis as SKC’s center backs. Besler will no doubt be a week-in, week-out starter for Kansas City in 2016, but Coelho is expected to challenge Opara, who missed most of last year due to injury, and Kevin Ellis, who, at 5-foot-9, is somewhat undersized for a center back, for minutes as SKC navigates MLS, CONCACAF Champions League and US Open Cup play in 2016.

Tuesday’s move marks the sixth addition to SKC’s roster this offseason, with Coelho joining goalkeeper Alec Kann, midfielders Brad Davis, Justin Mapp and Lawrence Olum and Homegrown signing Daniel Salloi as Sporting’s new additions.