Written by Nathan Wertheimer
Orlando, FL – On the Campus of UCF at Brighthouse Network Stadium (BNS) the two top teams came to complete on Saturday, January 21, 2017. These two teams were from the same city back home in Brazil, which are San Paulo Football Club and Corinthians Football Club. Both teams brought their A-game to the soccer field.
The Florida Cup has not existed very long; it is only their third season of operation. Their slogan is “Where clubs become nations.” This international soccer tournament ran from Jan 8-21, 2017, and was held a variety of cities in Florida including Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, and Orlando. Back in 2015, FC Koln from Germany won the inaugural Florida Cup. Then in 2016, Clube Atletico Mineiro from Brazil won the second Florida Cup. Who will it be this year’s winner, you’ll just have to read more to find out.
When I arrived at BNS, I was thinking to myself where are all the crowds for this great international soccer tournament in our very own backyard. The stadium parking lot was not even full with cars and tailgaters. But there was some tailgating in the parking lot going on. Upon game time, the crowds started filling the stands in the low bowl. Both teams’ fans had separate side to watch from. There was a large presents of Law Enforcement and Security on hand for this game. There were no incidents involving Law Enforcement at this game. At one point, I thought the crowds were going to storm the field during the fight, but luckily that did not happen.
During the game, it felt like the early days of USL Orlando City team playing. The crowds did not fill the entire stadium. Only 7,500 fans attended this game. Most of these fans were local Latinos. These fans brought their home team spirit to this game. At some point during the game it was loud. One fans was banging on his drum. To rally the team many fans were banging their feet on the metal bleachers and chanting. The first half of the game was a very physical game. The international soccer is a much rougher game than the MLS soccer style of play. There was incident involving a conflict between both teams where San Paulo FC bench was cleared. One of their plays was given a red card from the Corinthians. Plus, a yellow card was given to one of the San Paulo FC players too. After this incident, the game went back to normal.
During half time at the game DJ Alok, is a renowned Brazilian Super-DJ, who performed his tunes in front of the crowd. Some of the crowd was dancing to his beat. DJ Alok previous performed at the Coke-Cola Orlando Eye during the week. They had huge crowds for these fan day events.
At the end of the game in regulation time, the final game score 0-0. This game could not be called for a draw and or have two co-champions. Then the players took a rest before the soccer shoot-out at the North end of the field. It was quite exciting to see who would become the next 2017 Florida Cup Champion. San Paulo FC beat the Corinthians FC 4-3 in the soccer penalty shoot-out. Here is the break from the shot-out. Corinthians: Fellipe Bastos (saved), Sao Paulo: Joao Schmidt (goal). Corinthians: Giovanni Augusto (goal), Sao Paulo: Cicero (goal). Corinthians: Marcel (saved), Sao Paulo: Araruna (saved). Corinthians: Paulo Roberto (goal), Sao Paulo: Junior (goal). Corinthians: Marlone (goal), Sao Paulo: Gilberto (goal).
When the game was finally over, the referees called the San Paulo FC the champions. The teams huddled together for a big hug and congratulated themselves. Then celebration moved to the center of the field where there was a trophy ceremony and presentation that was made. One could see the look on the player’s faces that they were thrilled they had won the tournament. After the team celebrated their victory, there was a press conference with both head coaches taking questions from the media inside UCF Athletic Building. I was quite surprised by English speaking local media did not attend this game and or press conference. I was one of the few journalists who spoke English at the press conference. I asked the same question to both coaches in English. My question to them was what did you think of the stadium and crowds in the stands. The Corinthian coach did answer me, but only spoke in Portuguese. There was no way to get his answer translated. On the other hand, San Paulo FC coach spoke some English. He was impressed with the facilities and the crowds and hoped to be back next year. The rest of the press conference was spoken in Portuguese. Next year I hope organizers will have a translator is available at each press conference.
With the conclusion of this year’s 2017 Florida Cup tournament, look for more changes to next year’s tournament. Florida Cup will be brain storming on how to get better local attendance for each games. The Florida Cup will need an aggressive marketing plan to show case their soccer tournament worldwide neat year.. However, the Florida Cup did make money on the television broadcast rights in different markets around the world. Plus, the tournament increased attendance over last year.
For more information on this soccer tournament please go to www.floridacup.com . If you like this article, then like it on our Otownfun WordPress account. For more great events, please check us out at www.otownfun.com .
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Some sources of information came from Florida Cup 2017, The Maneland,