Orlando City SC’s Rawlins, Kaká excited for new Lake Nona facilities

Rasesh Thakkar, who is managing director of Tavistock Group, began the official announcement for Orlando City Soccer Club’s new Lake Nona training facility with a crowd-pleasing speech, as evident by the flurry of cheers. His and Tavistock Group’s expectations and hopes were high.

“Today we’re honored to extend our passion to the sport of soccer, to do whatever we can to help our friends at Orlando City, to help build an MLS dynasty, destined to rule the league,” Thakkar said.

For Orlando City founder and president Phil Rawlins and Lions team captain Ricardo Kaká, the new facilities are key to the success of the second-year Major League Soccer team. Rawlins said in order to build a world-class club, it’s necessary to have world-class facilities.

“It’s really just more of what we have,” Rawlins said. “That’s the thing we needed. We’re three professional teams … It’s about expanding our footprint.”

Kaká said it’s important to have impressive facilities for not only current players, but also for recruiting purposes. Despite playing in top-notch clubs across the world, the 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year said this will be one of the best facilities that he has ever trained in during his career.

“It’s amazing,” said Kaká, regarding the planned Lake Nona training facilities. “Not too many teams can afford that.”

But the new facilities will have to wait until March 2017, the estimated planned completion date of the new training facility. Until then, Orlando City looks forward to the upcoming 2016 MLS season. For Kaká, his expectations are the same as Rawlins’: playoffs.

“We came within one weekend of [making the playoffs],” Rawlins said. “And, I think, given the injuries that we had, given everything that went on in the season, that was a tremendous effort by the guys. But we knew we had quality within the squad, and quality on our coaching staff to do that. And so, for this year, the goal doesn’t change.

“We can make the playoffs, and we will make the playoffs.”

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