Brazilian Connection: Number of factors led to Kaka's decision to join Orlando City SC

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. – When foreign stars join Major League Soccer, they are motivated by a variety of factors: a challenge, living in North America, a good salary, and… Donald Duck?

The Disney character didn’t seal the deal for Kaka to join Orlando City SC for the club’s 2015 MLS expansion season, but the Brazilian superstar did reveal during MLS’ media day on Tuesday that he had visited Disney World “a lot of times” in the past and considered Donald Duck his favorite character.

In reality, the main factor that convinced the midfielder to take the plunge and come to MLS was OCSC owner Flavio Augusto da Silva, a compatriot with whom he had a working relationship over a period of several years.

“I’ve always said that one day I would like to play here in MLS,” Kaka told assembled reporters. “I had some contact in the [past] years with the Galaxy and New York Red Bulls, but I started to work with Flavio, he had an English school in Brazil, WiseUp. We started to do some things together, and we started this relationship, and he said to me he wants to buy a franchise in the league.

“And so we start to think [ahead] to this moment, in Orlando. So the moment arrived, and I decided to come to Orlando City, for all these things [because] I would like to play here, one day, and also because a Brazilian and a friend had a club, so everything [came] together.”

Though the main factor in Kaka singing with OCSC appears to be his relationship with Flavio, he said he would have been interested in MLS regardless.

“If I didn’t have an agreement with Flavio, for sure I would have come for another team,” Kaka said.

As for the on-field matters themselves, the 32-year-old said that while his primary goal was always to win a championship, the team’s goal in their inaugural MLS season is to make the playoffs.

And although he recalled playing on artificial turf just once in his career, in a UEFA Champions League game in Russia, Kaka did not appear worried about playing on a turf field for home games in 2015.

“I think it’s not going to be a problem, and I can do it,” he said. “Physically, I’m good.”

Despite the personal relationship that ultimately landed Kaka in North America, he appears to be eager to explore his new home, beyond the confines of Disney World.

“To live in Orlando will be great, for sure,” Kaka said. “Before, I just knew Orlando as a Disney city, and now I’m changing. I’ve been to Orlando twice outside Disney, with friends to know the city.

“And I know that Orlando is much more than just a Disney city. It’s a very nice city and very nice people. I’m happy to live there and live in Florida. A lot of Brazilians go to Florida, to Orlando, so it will be a great time there.”