LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., – Approximately 500 local children got a kick out of this year’s Florida Cup International All-Star Game, hosted at Walt Disney World Resort. The game featured former international soccer players, celebrities, and a pregame and halftime show in which these young soccer fans were the stars.
“Attending the Florida Cup All-Star Game, meeting soccer stars, and taking part in the pregame and halftime entertainment was a thrill and an honor for our kids,” said Jose Bastias, senior service director at the Walt Disney World Clubhouse of Boys & Girls Club of Central Florida, which was one of the invited groups. “With the help of the Florida Cup and Walt Disney World Resort, our kids were inspired by the talent, passion and dedication of the athletes and event staff.”
Before play began, former professional athletes met with children from After School All Stars, Englewood Neighborhood Center and three local Boys & Girls Clubs to tour their clubs and share a motivational message. As guests of the Florida Cup at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, the children got to take part in the pre-game festivities. They met Disney characters, danced on the field and helped present Ronaldo, a world-renowned soccer superstar from Brazil, with the “Mickey” trophy. During halftime, 20 of the children were selected to participate in soccer drills on the field.
In addition to providing this unique experience to local children, the Florida Cup will auction soccer balls autographed by All-Star Game players to raise funds for Central Florida nonprofits. Disney also supports the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida in a variety of ways, from grants to assistance with facility improvements to its sponsorship of the Walt Disney World Clubhouse in Orlando.
As a company with 74,000 Disney Cast Members who live and work in Central Florida, Walt Disney World Resort is committed to investing in its local community. Disney is focused on improving the quality of life in Central Florida, with a special interest in helping children and families. Disney contributes to the local community in many ways – through the millions of dollars in taxes it generates for local governments, the leadership it provides on important community issues, the cash and in-kind support it provides local nonprofit organizations and the thousands of volunteer hours given by Cast Members.