German and Brazilian clubs headline expanded field; Tournament highlights Central Florida’s attractiveness among international soccer clubs; Event begins extension of Disney’s relationship with 2SV Sports
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Brazilian and German soccer powerhouses will again headline the 2016 Florida Cup at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort from January 9-21, 2016.
Two-time FIFA World Champion SC Corinthians, four-time Brazilian Champion Fluminese FC, led by superstar Ronaldinho, and Champions League club Bayer 04 Leverkusen are returning from last year’s event along with newcomer and five-time German Cup Champion FC Schalke 04. The final field for the event, which will be organized by ESPN Wide World of Sports and 2SV Sports, is expected to be announced in September.
The Florida Cup in 2016 will also include a panel discussion featuring club and league representatives discussing a variety of soccer-related topics, including youth development, sports marketing and global league structures, among other topics.
The 2016 Florida Cup marks the beginning of a broader relationship between Disney and the event. As a part of its five-year agreement with 2SV Sports, the Disney sports complex will be the official venue for the tournament and ESPN Wide World of Sports will jointly collaborate with 2SV Sports on the management and operation of the event, which will have an expanded field starting next year.
“Our goal is to turn Florida in January into the main soccer pre-season destination for renowned international clubs.’’ said Florida Cup CEO and former professional soccer player Ricardo Villar. “The Florida Cup serves as an ideal platform for clubs who are looking to internationalize their brands in an emerging soccer market, while finding optimal preparation conditions tied to quality international competition.”
Last year, the Florida Cup, which was televised live in more than 127 countries, made a dramatic debut punctuated by intense national pride and high-scoring offenses. In all, there were 12 goals scored in the four matches.
“The training camp in Orlando last January was ideal and it played a big role in the club’s early success this season,” said Edu Gaspar, executive director of S.C. Corinthians Paulista, which has a multi-year commitment to play in the Florida Cup. “We are looking forward to coming back in the upcoming years.’’
The Florida Cup is part of a host of prestigious soccer events at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which is the official preseason training home of AS Roma. Among the 11 soccer events at the Disney complex are the Disney Soccer Showcase, the Disney Soccer Academy, the Disney Cup International, the Disney Memorial Day Soccer Shootout, the Disney 3v3 Soccer Championship, the Disney Pre-Season Soccer Kickoff and the Disney President’s Day Soccer Festival.
“Soccer fans who visit ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex will experience a world-class soccer venue that offers family-friendly entertainment,’’ said Maribeth Bisienere, senior vice president of Disney Sports Enterprises. “As the appeal of soccer continues, we hope to strengthen our collaboration with 2SV Sports and expand the Florida Cup to attract even more international teams and their fans to Central Florida.’’