Brazilian football legend Ronaldo was in Orlando over the weekend to launch new R9 soccer academies in the Central Florida area at a special event at the ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World. The former Real Madrid ‘Galactico’ also kicked off the Florida Cup, which features his fellow Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho.
Ronaldo, three-time winner of FIFA’s Player of the Year, said recently “we see a great opportunity to develop soccer in the US…We see lots of kids playing soccer and that’s why we came here to help American soccer grow up. This will be my job”.
Local developer Garrett Kenny CEO of Feltrim Group, who was also in attendance at the press conference, afterwards commented; “This is fantastic news for the area. Having such a prestigious soccer academy by such a world-renowned figure as Ronaldo is a real vote of confidence in the growth of the whole area and also in the growth of soccer in the US.”
The R9 Academies seek to foster the development of a unique method of play associated with the Brazilian star, as well as to help develop its students in various aspects of their lives, not just athletics.
According to Kenny, “We find the approach of the R9 Academy really unique and enriching, and will be of great benefit to young people living in the area and to those who will come from afar to these truly world class facilities.”
Ronaldo was also in town to kick off the Florida Cup, which is an international tournament of clubs hosted in Florida every January. 2016 participants include Corinthians from Sao Paulo, Fluminese from Rio (featuring Ronaldinho), Bayer Leverkusen and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers part-owned by Ronaldo.