Sambafoot Sunday: Brazilian Soccer - Can Kaká Bring Magic to Orlando City?
Sambafoot Sunday by James Nalton. The beat goes on...
North American football has history when it comes to Brazilian imports, and the next big star to land on the continent will be looking to kick start Orlando City, as they move to what is arguably the top division in the region – Major League Soccer.
Kaká will follow in the footsteps of some of the biggest names in Brazilian football when he moves to the expanding league, and will hope that his performances on the pitch will match the hype off it.
In a sporting arena which includes heavyweights such as American football (NFL), Major League Baseball, and Basketball (the NBA), the initial challenge for North American soccer leagues is to drum up interest in this foreign sport. What better way to do this than to sign a big name from the country which once adopted the beautiful game, and raised it as its own.
Whilst players from across the globe have been recruited by the attractively named clubs in the region, Brazilian players have always had an affinity with 'soccer'.
Striker Vavá, whose goals helped Brazil win the World Cup in 1958 and 1962, joined the short-lived San Diego Toros in 1968, but this early coup was just a prelude to what would happen at the New York Cosmos in 1975.
It was the year the Cosmos signed Pelé, in a move which sent shockwaves across the world of football. It improved the reputation of the North American Soccer League (NASL), and the New York Cosmos in particular, as they became an overnight sensation in a city which was attracting big names and celebrities from all walks of life.
Legendary Brazilian right back and 1970 World Cup winner Carlos Alberto followed in 1977, as the likes of Franz Beckenbauer, Johann Cruyff, and George Best also decided to continue their careers in the NASL.
Then, to cut a very long story short, the NASL met with financial problems and declined before meeting its end in 1985. However a strong link between Brazilian football and North American soccer had been formed, with the legacy and legend living on today.
Present day MLS is a whole different league with its own history and legends, but a Brazilian footballer is still a massive draw when it comes to the much needed media and commercial attention.
New York City will also join MLS for the 2015 season, and have so far chosen Spaniard David Villa and Englishman Frank Lampard as their big names, but Orlando believes that they’ve trumped them with the signing of Kaká alone.
They demonstrated their delight with a slightly cheeky tweet, showing Kaká being mobbed on his arrival in Orlando, and Frank Lampard receiving a slightly more low key welcome!
Rumours are circulating that Robinho will be the next star to arrive in Orlando, and there are a whole host of high profile former Brazilian internationals reaching an age where MLS is an option.
Orlando, the city sometimes known as The City Beautiful, appears to be acquiring some true proponents of a beautiful game in an attempt to revive a concept which seems long lost, both in North America and Brazil.
Whilst waiting for the 2015 MLS season to kick off, Kaká will be loaned to his boyhood club São Paulo. His first game back for the club will be the Brazilian Série A fixture against Goiás tonight.