Before the Major League Soccer season begins in March, Orlando City SC and Disney Sports are set to host the Florida Cup, drawing powerhouse teams from Germany and Brazil to the unique tournament.
Two-time FIFA World Champion Corinthians, Champions League club Bayer 04 Leverkusen, four-time Brazilian Champion Fluminense and three-time German Champion 1. FC Köln will grace the soccer capital of the South. The round-robin tournament will begin on January 15, 2015, at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort.
It is a brilliant coup for the MLS club, especially after the soccer-competitive country hosted the International Champions Cup for the past two years running, showing soccer is definitely becoming a crowd-pleaser in the States.
“Orlando City is delighted to help bring premier world class soccer to Central Florida, reinforcing our commitment to fans and the community while further strengthening the region’s reputation,” said Orlando City SC Founder and President Phil Rawlins.
“Orlando City will help present the tournament in 2015 since we are 100% focused on building our roster for the Lions’ historic MLS debut,” said Orlando City Chairman and Majority Owner Flávio Augusto da Silva. “We are looking forward to a successful tournament this year and our possible participation in future years.”
“The Florida Cup will bring a global spotlight to Orlando as the matches will be broadcasted across five continents”, said Florida Cup organizer and 2SV Sports president Ricardo Villar. “The games will air domestically on ESPN Deportes and ESPN 3, in Canada on TSN, and across Asia, Africa, Europe and South America on various networks.”
The four teams will play each other in a special double-header at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, before competing in Jacksonville, treating fans to fiesta of soccer.
While this tournament will only last a few days, it will bring a significant level of interest to Orlando, which is just what the club will be after in its augural season in the MLS.
The 2015 expansion club already has the likes of Kaka on their playing roster, and this tournament is expected to create more exposure for City.