KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Opening a new training complex in Osceola County may be the final piece of the puzzle for Orlando City SC. Luiz Muzzi, the club's executive VP of soccer oprations, certainly hopes so.
As the Lions on Friday christened their new 20-acre training complex — features four fields (three natural grass and one artificial turf) and a 5,400 seat stadium for their USL team — Muzzi took pride in the fact that the moment represented the completion of the club's infrastructure plans. That in turn, he believes, should motivate the club to work even harder to reach their goals in their sixth season in MLS.
“I think that we always work hard, no matter what. If you put us in a sand pitch, we're going to work hard, but of course when we have the facilities, we have everything that you need,” Muzzi told reporters. “You're much more likely to succeed and we've always been, and I understand that club has worked in phases, and this was actually the final piece.”
Orlando City will share the new training facility with its USL League One side, Orlando City B, and its development dcademy players, which Muzzi said will serve a purpose in terms of integrating the players throughout the season with the hope of producing results on the pitch.
“If you come here and spend a day here, you’ll see OCB players training,” said Muzzi. “We have coaches coming in and out, discussing what they're going to do. Coaches … You have Academy coaches, you have OCB coaches, you have players integrated, you have guys who are going to feel that they're part of something bigger.
“This says that we know that this is going to generate results that we're going to see some of our young guys come up and be very successful.”
Lions CEO Alex Leitao also believes the addition of the Kissimmee complex is transformational and a vital resource for the players.
“It’s game changer,” said Leitao. “We can ask the coaches and the players what a difference it makes in a place that has all the resources they need to succeed. We are glad we’re able to give to our players that possibility.”
Players are expected to report to the facilty on Monday for the first day of preseason camp. And while the Lions currently have 25 players already on the roster (minus those out on loan) who should be excited for their new digs, the facility should also have value in helping the club make future improvements to the squad.
“It is a recruiting tool,” said Muzzi. “It's something that players come here, and they say, ‘Wow, this is going to be my house is going to be where I'm going to live and work.’ The city, not only the facility but the city, and everything that we have here; the stadium they go there and they see everything, and it's unbelievable the number of players that say they want to come here.”