UCF to host the Florida Cup in 2017

Filed under: Florida Events,Florida News,Orlando News,Orlando Sport,Sport |

Florida Cup 2017 Press Conference, UCF, Orlando, Florida - 26th July 2016 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

The Florida Cup, the largest international sporting event held each year in the Sunshine State, and the University of Central Florida (UCF) today announced that the home of the Knights – UCF’s Bright House Networks Stadium (BHNS) – will be one of the host venues for the 2017 Florida Cup.

The event will take place Jan. 7 – 21, 2017 across several venues throughout Florida, with BHNS hosting multiple matches including the final on Jan. 21. Commencing immediately after the conclusion of UCF’s home football schedule, BHNS will undergo enhancements along the corners of the playing area to extend the turf and create a full size regulation soccer pitch for the Florida Cup and future soccer events.

Florida Cup 2017 Press Conference, UCF, Orlando, Florida - 26th July 2016 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

In addition, Florida Cup officials announced the following initial participating teams in the tournament:

  • SC Corinthians Paulista (BRA) – The Sport Club Corinthians Paulista, or simply Corinthians, is one of Brazil’s most popular clubs. Its fans are known as “Fiel”, which means loyal, and is composed of approximately 30 million people. Founded in 1910, Corinthians is Brazil’s Serie A defending champion and 2012 FIFA World Club Champion, defeating EPL side Chelsea. This will be Corinthians’ third appearance in the Florida Cup.
  • Bayer 04 Leverkusen (GER) – Bayer 04 Leverkusen is a German club founded in 1904. Since 1979, the club has been a part of the Bundesliga, Germany’s first division. The club has also continuously qualified and competed in the UEFA Champions League, securing their place in the 2016-2017 edition, the highest profile club soccer competition in the world. This will be Bayer’s third appearance in the Florida Cup.
  • Barcelona Sporting Club (ECU) – Barcelona is the most successful football team in Ecuador, having won the Serie A title a record 14 times, most recently in 2012, and leading the championship this season. They are also the first Ecuadorian club to make it to the Copa Libertadores finals, having done so twice. Barcelona was founded on May 1, 1925, by Eutimio Pérez, a Spanish immigrant who named the club after his home city of Barcelona. This will be Barcelona’s debut in the Florida Cup.

Additional teams from around the globe will be announced in the coming weeks.

Florida Cup 2017 Press Conference, UCF, Orlando, Florida - 26th July 2016 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

“BHNS was designed to host first class sporting events, and hosting the Florida Cup opens new doors for exciting future opportunities for UCF,” said UCF Athletic Director Danny White (pictured above.)  “We will make additional investments to create a first class playing surface for all Florida Cup events, and will position BHNS as a premium venue for hosting big-time sporting events in Central Florida. We are thrilled to partner with the Florida Cup and look forward to a successful tournament.”

Florida Cup 2017 Press Conference, UCF, Orlando, Florida - 26th July 2016 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

“This is an exciting moment for the growth of the Florida Cup in Central Florida and we are proud to partner with UCF,” said Florida Cup CEO Ricardo Villar (pictured above.) “Broadcast live in over 170 countries, the Florida Cup is the largest international sporting event held in Central Florida every year. Global clubs from four continents, including the world’s biggest soccer countries – Germany and Brazil – will face each other at the highest levels of competition. World renowned stars like Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and others will showcase their talent in Orlando, and at the University of Central Florida.”

Villar continued, “The Florida Cup secures the City Beautiful’s reputation as a leading global soccer destination by building upon the passionate fan base for the city’s professional teams. More importantly, the tournament also delivers annual significant economic benefits to the community, and substantial international awareness around the globe.”

The tournament will feature two distinct formats in 2017:

  • FC Challenge – A Davis Cup-modeled competition similar to the format during the Florida Cup’s debut in 2015, with Clubs representing Countries, each vying for points to secure the tournament title for their home nation. This phase will occur from Jan. 7 – Jan. 14.
  • FC Playoff – A single-elimination round of international teams where only one remaining champion will thrive. This phase will occur from Jan. 15 – Jan 21.

Through community partnerships, the Florida Cup will bring a festival atmosphere and activities to Orlando designed to engage all sports fans, the details of which will be announced in the coming weeks. Over 10,000 international visitors are expected to travel to the City Beautiful again, representing over 36,000 room nights to the community.  The Florida Cup has grown from four teams from two countries in its first year, to over ten teams from four continents – creating a truly global tournament. The event’s roster of sponsors represents global brands and local businesses, all aligned to bring the very best soccer talent to Central Florida.

Tickets for the Florida Cup will go on sale at the end of August. Fans interested in attending the matches can visit www.FloridaCup.com/tickets to join the advance sale list to receive first notification when tickets are available. Additional venues for the Florida Cup will also be announced in the coming weeks, as well as more participating Clubs.

Comments from participating teams:

 Florida Cup 2017 Press Conference, UCF, Orlando, Florida - 26th July 2016 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

Gustavo Herbetta, Marketing Superintendent for SC Corinthians: “We are proud to be here again, in our third year at the Florida Cup. We are here because this event provides us with the best conditions to prepare our team for the season in terms of location, the city of Orlando, weather and excellent facilities like UCF. The tournament also provides several opportunities for our brands and sponsors, and to connect with our local and global fans as we have 35 million fans all over the world.”

Roberto Navarrete, Marketing Director of Barcelona SC: “We’re very excited to be here – and we want to thank UCF for giving us the opportunity to play at a magnificent venue like Bright House Stadium. I can assure you that our fans in the U.S. and the rest of the world, especially Ecuador, are going to show up and make this event successful. Our objective is to position our club on the international level. This past weekend we secured a berth for Copa Libertadores. This tournament will prepare us well for that championship. It will be a good test for our players, for our club. and a great opportunity for us to engage our fans here locally.”

Michael Schade, Chief Executive, Bayer 04 Leverkusen: “The U.S. has been and will always be a great stage for Bayer Leverkusen. The last two years we spent a very valuable training camp in Orlando. On one hand it was a welcoming opportunity to meet our fans overseas. Usually our supporters in USA and Mexico follow us on Bayer 04-TV or on our social media platforms. Now they had the chance to visit us in Florida and get up close and personal. On the other hand, we had perfect conditions ensuring we went well-prepared in the second half of the season. The pitches were in good shape, the weather was great and the facilities fit. The games during the Florida Cup were important for our Coach. We had the opportunity to compete on a high level and it worked out for us. In both seasons we scored better in the second part of the season and qualified for the Champions League – a very good omen. Therefore, it would be great if the Florida Cup 2017 would be our third [qualification] in a row.”


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