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Soccer is not just another exclusively Brazilian passion. And, in Florida, the sport fell into the arms of Americans. A proof of that is the success behind Florida Cup, which comes to its third edition, from January 8-21. The competition has become the largest annual sports event in Florida and is broadcast live to over 170 countries, outreaching more than 650 million domiciles. Besides remarkable international soccer, the news goes to the dispute system, with two different competitions, and the Fan Fest, which will take place every single evening. Fourteen teams take part in the contest, which will be held in stadiums across Orlando, St. Petersburg and Fort Lauderdale. I talked exclusively with the Florida’s Cup president, Ricardo Villar. He talked about what the third event edition will feature, an event that is already in the calendar of huge soccer fans. Created in 2015, the Florida Cup is the main pre-season competition for Brazilian soccer teams nowadays. What are the teams taking part in the 2017 event? Some teams still have to confirm their participations, but for now, I can say that we will have major soccer teams like Corinthians, Atlético Mineiro, Vasco, São Paulo, Bahia, Bayer Leverkusen (Germany), Wolfsburg (Germany), River Plate (Argentina), Estudiantes (Argentina), Barcelona de Guayaquil (Equator), Millonarios (Colombia) e Rowdies (United States). Those are soccer teams aiming at a preparation with a mixture of excellent training conditions, different soccer schools, besides the chance of internationalizing their respective brands. What will be the new contest rules for the participating teams?

a estreia de Rogério Ceni como técnico do São Paulo. Por falar em ídolos, assim como aconteceu em 2016, Ronaldo e Ronaldinho Gaúcho também já confirmaram presença. Importante dizer também que este ano vamos ter eventos pensados exclusivamente para ajudar as famílias das vítimas do acidente com o avião da Chapecoense. O All Star Game já virou tradição. Quem vai participar esse ano do jogo que reúne famosos de diversas áreas? Ainda não posso confirmar os nomes, mas garanto que haverá muita gente interessante em campo. Ex-jogadores, atletas de outras modalidades, craques em atividade... Como será a Fan Fest? Será uma mistura de entretenimento, música, comida e muito mais. Foi a maneira que encontramos de celebrar o futebol. O evento só foi possível graças a uma parceria com a I-Drive 360, a casa da roda gigante Orlando Eye. A Fan Fest começa no dia 7 de janeiro e segue até o dia 22, um dia após a decisão do campeonato. Teremos atrações diárias, com atividades familiares, eventos dos clubes participantes do torneio e música ao vivo, incluindo shows noturnos com artistas renomados. Florida Cup De 8 a 21 de janeiro | From January 8 to January 21

This is one of the greatest news: we are going to hold two different competitions! The Florida Cup Challenge 2017 will be a round-robin tournament with three rounds, similar to Davis Tennis Cup. Each team will play two matches and will struggle for points to their countries. With victory, the team earns three points, draw is worth one point, and a win by penalty shootout is worth an extra point. The country that achieves the greatest score wins. On the other hand, the Florida Cup Playoff 2017 will be a tournament with teams from five countries playing in a single-elimination tournament, which only the winners proceed to the next round until the grand final contest. Outside the pitch, what are the main event attractions? Many will be available. The president of Estudiantes, considered one of the world’s best defensive midfielders, Juan Sebastián Verón, for instance, announced he is stepping back into the pitch at Florida Cup. Besides, we will watch Rogério Ceni’s debut as the coach of São Paulo. Talking about idols, just like what happened in 2016, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho Gaúcho have also confirmed their presences. It is important to say that this year we will hold events exclusively to help the victims’ families from the Chapecoense airplane crash. The All Star Game has become a tradition. Who are the participants of this year’s match that gathers famous folks from various fields? I still cannot confirm the names, but I assure you many interesting people will mark presence. Former players, athletes from another sports, current soccer stars… What about the Fan Fest? It will be a cross between entertaining, music, food and a lot more. This is how we decided to celebrate soccer. The event was only possible thanks to a partnership with I-Drive 360, home of Orlando Eye. Fan Fest begins on January 7 and goes up until January 22, a day after the tournament finals. Several attractions will be available throughout the event days, including family activities, events realized by the participating soccer teams and live music, with renowned performers singing at night concerts.

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