Strong Orlando Ties to the NASL Champion San Francisco Deltas
Orlando, Fla. - Nov. 13, 2017 - Last night, the North American Soccer League (NASL) crowned their 2017 champions, the San Francisco Deltas. The first-year team defied initial expectations and external challenges to beat defending champions the New York Cosmos at historic Kezar Stadium in San Francisco.
Why is that relevant to the Orlando market some 2,900 miles away? Because one of the architects of that championship team, responsible for helping define the club's philosophy, technical department and team culture, as well as identifying the head coach who would eventually lead the club to victory, is none other than local soccer guru and CEO of the Florida Cup Ricardo Villar.A former international professional player for over a decade, Villar was hired by the owners of the Deltas in May of 2016 as a sports consultant to help build the new team. In addition to laying the groundwork for the club's identity, Villar was influential in convincing the successful young manager Marc dos Santos to join this new project. “Villar flew me into Orlando and presented a clear and ambitious project,” recalled dos Santos. “He convinced me to take on this challenge. Given the adversities faced with a first-year franchise, I am extremely proud of this championship.”
The San Francisco Deltas was built on a salary cap half the size of their final opponent, the New York Cosmos, and one-third the size than league favorites the Miami FC, the club that advanced to the quarter-finals of the U.S. Open Cup earlier this season. “When dealing with smaller budgets, our margin of error becomes smaller in the decision-making process,” Villar mentioned.
The new experience, however, is one that Villar relishes. "It was an honor for me to work with the Deltas alongside Director of Soccer Operations Todd Dunivant and CEO Brian Helmick to establish the foundation for success at the club," said Villar. “Our support was given in full to Coach dos Santos to build the best team possible. He is a proven winner and commanded a team committed to succeed against all odds. All the credit goes to him and the boys."
An Orlando resident since 2014, Ricardo Villar has spent his entire life on and around the soccer pitch. A graduate of Penn State University in Industrial Engineering, Villar grew up in the Sao Paulo Academy, the same youth program as former Orlando City Captain Kaka, before playing professionally in Europe and ending his playing career with FC Dallas of MLS.
He founded the Florida Cup with partner Ricardo Silveira for its debut in 2015. Brazilian executive Reinaldo Medrano joined the duo ahead of the 2017 Florida Cup. Now approaching its fourth year, the Florida Cup has grown into one of the most highly anticipated international tournaments on the soccer calendar, drawing top clubs from Europe and South America to the Sunshine State each and every year.
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PHOTO CAPTION: Florida Cup CEO Ricardo Villar, San Francisco Deltas CEO Brian Helmick and Director of Soccer Operations Todd Dunivant.