2018will be the Year of Soccer, with the FIFA WorldCupset to take place in Russia in June. But the excitement and passion of the world’s game will kick off in the Sunshine State in earlyJanuarywith the fourth annual FloridaCup, Florida’s largest annual celebration of international soccer. The2018event will take placeJanuary10 – 20, and feature eight of the world’s premier clubs from Europe and South America, bringing several international stars who will represent their countries in Russia2018.
Starting today, theFloridaCupwill begin to unveil its participating clubs via social media at the tournament’s Facebook account over the next two weeks, culminating in a major announcement on October 9 with full event details including the match schedule, venues, travel packages and more. Fans and media can register to receive these updates in real time at www.floridacup.com.
“We are excited to kick off a WorldCupyear with some of the world’s leading clubs and stars playing right here in our backyard,” saidFloridaCupCEO Ricardo Villar. “Our goal is to build off the wonderful success we experienced with the 2017 edition, by creating more entertainment for fans, delivering heart-pounding soccer on the pitch, and driving more tourism and economic benefits for CentralFlorida. We encourage everyone to tune in over the next couple of weeks through October 9 – we promise unique international match ups and other news.”
Today,FloridaCupofficials confirmed the first three clubs that will participate in the annual tournament. They are legendary Scottish Premier League side Rangers Football Club, Brazil’s league leader and returning for the fourth time to theFloridaCup,Sport Club Corinthians Paulista, and perennial Colombian powerhouse Club Atlético Nacional. Participating teams will start to arrive inFloridaonJanuary6.
• Rangers FC become the first U.K.-based club to participate in theFloridaCup, expanding the event’s fan reach further into Europe. Rangers have won more league titles and trebles than any other club in the world, capturing the Scottish Premier League title 54 times, the ScottishCup33 times and the Scottish LeagueCup27 times. It won the treble, or all three titles in the same season, an incredible seven times. Rangers were the first Scottish club to reach a UEFA tournament final, and won the EuropeanCupWinners'Cupin 1972 after being runner-up twice in 1961 and 1967. Rangers more recently secured a third runner-up finish in the UEFACupin 2008.
Rangers Manager Pedro Caixinha commented: “Rangers Football Club is delighted to take part in such a prestigious tournament. TheFloridaCupwill provide top class opposition for us during the winter shutdown in Scotland and the warm weather training in America will be a huge benefit ahead of the second half of our domestic campaign. It will be a great experience for our players.”
• 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 their fan base reaches beyond 30 million people. Founded in 1910, Corinthians is the 2012 FIFA World Club Champion, defeating EPL side Chelsea. The current squad also brings Brazil National team players Fagner, Rodriguinho and Cassio. This will be Corinthians’ fourth appearance in theFloridaCup.
Corinthians Technical Director Alessandro Nunes commented: “Each year that we have been to theFloridaCup, we had full support and infrastructure to perform our preparation at the highest level. We are are happy to return for the fourth consecutive year.”
Corinthians Marketing Director Fernado Sales also added: “It is an event generating rich media content. Aside from the international games, there is a very interesting parallel program and a unique opportunity for our brand.”
• Current Libertadores champion, Club Atlético Nacional of Medellin is the country’s most popular and successful club. The club has won 16 league titles, three Copa Colombia and two Superliga Colombiana, and a total of 21 domestic titles. Los Nacionalistas were also the first Colombian club to win the Copa Libertadores in 1989 and, after winning the title again in 2016, is the only Colombian side to win that prestigious tournament more than once. It has the most international titles of any Colombian club, having also won the Copa Merconorte twice, the Copa Interamericana twice, and the Recopa Sudamericana once, for a total of seven international trophies and grand total of 28 titles across all competitions.
Atlético Nacional President Andrés Botero Phillipsbourne stated, “In the last few years, theFloridaCuphas notably grown its impact on the world of soccer. We are proud to participate in the next edition set to take place inJanuary2018, as we prepare for the many objectives we hope to achieve both locally and internationally in the coming season."
About The Florida Cup
TheFloridaCupis the largest international soccer celebration held annually inFlorida. It is a global platform that combines sports and entertainment. Broadcast live in 2017 to over 140 countries, the tournament reached over 50 million viewers. Globally recognized soccer clubs from Europe and Latin America will convene in CentralFloridafor this premier tournament – a final tune-up before the start of their respective campaigns and the kickoff for a WorldCupyear. For more information on theFloridaCup, visit www.floridacup.com, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.