Something special is brewing in Orlando and a lot of it has to do with Brazilian soccer icons Kaka and Marta. Not often do we see two FIFA World Player of the Year winners playing in the same city – but we do in our City.
These two ambassadors of the beautiful game have brought both firepower and match-winning ability to Orlando City and the Orlando Pride – something one would expect considering their proven quality. Another thing each player brings to the club: unprecedented leadership ability. Maybe not in the traditional vocal aspects of leading, but leading by example and simply by their sheer presence in the club. You probably won’t see these fleet-footed playmakers barking out orders on the pitch or pleading to the referee, but you will see their experience and uplifting personalities boosting team morale all over the field.
The common leadership factor with these decorated Brazilians: a winning mentality. “[Marta] brings to us two very important things: One, of course, her talent, her quality on the field that hopefully will help us a lot in getting our results and our goals that help us win. And secondly, her mentality. Marta is a winner and this is exactly what we need to feel the winning mentality of our club,” said club CEO Alex Leitao during Marta’s welcoming press conference.
The same can be said of Kaka in regard to his positive approach and impact on team spirit.
There is an air of confidence in the squad when Kaka graces the pitch. Antonio Nocerino, formerly Kaka’s teammate at AC Milan, now plays behind him in defensive midfield for the Lions. “I’m very happy because [Kaká] is an incredible player,” Nocerino said following a 2-2 draw versus Sporting Kansas City this past Saturday. “His physicality is incredible, he is incredible with the ball, and he is an incredible example for everyone.”
Marta is much newer to the Orlando City SC family but her impact is already being felt on the field. She has tallied a goal and an assist for the Pride this season and will look to add to her totals this weekend against Seattle. Since her arrival in April, Marta has felt welcomed by her teammates, coaches, and fans. This has allowed her to really settle in and focus on soccer and how she can best help the team win matches.
In her press conference following the home opener against Washington, Marta was asked about the importance of serving as a role model in Orlando for young girls who aspire to play soccer. The five-time FIFA World Player of the Year responded, “It is always important, I have always been doing [that]…I do everything I can to help grow the sport of soccer, and I will continue to do that.”
The intangibles are there with both of these superstars. And the immediate future is glimmering with promise as Kaka and Marta will continue to make their mark in the Orlando City purple.