The Orlando City Pro Academy U-15/16s enjoyed a strong victory over the U-17 India national team Monday, but a much stiffer test awaited today.
Up against the U-17 Uruguay national team, Orlando City fell 3-1 in what Academy Director David Longwell called the “hardest game they have ever played in.”
It was to be expected that a team as strong as Uruguay would present such a challenge to City’s youngsters. But instead of the result, Longwell pointed to the valuable experience of playing against a “top, top national team.”
And what better place to go through such an experience than in the Estádio Atlético Paranaense – one of the best stadiums in all of South America. It was the first on the continent with a retractable roof and hosted four games during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Paranaense’s world-class stadium is matched by its spectacular training facility, which boasts two hotels, two restaurants and two thermal pools, as well as a weight room and laundry facility.
“Paranaense have been unbelievable hosts,” Longwell said. “From the moment we got to Brazil, they’ve been incredible welcoming and helpful. Our boys have learned so much from their Club and will continue to soak it all in. I couldn’t ask for any more.”
The trip is one of many exchanges between Orlando City and Atlético Paranaense. In November, just days after the partnership was formally announced, Lions head coach Jason Kreis went down to Curitiba to see for himself what all the buzz was about Paranaense’s heralded development academy.
The U-15/16s will see Paranaense’s developing players tomorrow when they take on Atlético’s U-17s at 4pm local time in the final match of the international tournament.