Orlando City took to the training pitch on Tuesday in a relaxed and lighthearted mood as they started to prepare for their upcoming friendly against the Puerto Rican National Team on Saturday. Head Coach Jason Kreis spoke after training, speaking about the team’s mentality heading into the match.
“It’s about getting the group together for one more week, enjoying each other's company for one more week and going out and hopefully putting on a really good performance for the fans,” Kreis said. “I’m really hopeful that the fans can respond this week and buy tickets and recognize that this this is an incredibly important charity that we’re playing for and we we will go about the game with that kind of spirit, that we’re looking to put on a show.”
The game, which 100% of the proceeds will go to charity to help the victims of the Hurricanes Irma and Maria, holds a special significance for all the players and coaches. The match allows them to use their jobs to help those in need and for Kries, it’s just another event that makes the city of Orlando such a special place.
“I think it's a tremendous effort that our club president, really I think Alex (Leitao) has been the driving force in this, has put this great effort to put this game together to get all the sponsors involved, to donate the majority of their services for this game and now the players and the coaches we want to give something as well so it's a really special place, Orlando. There’s no doubt about it.”
As they prepare for the game, midfielder Antonio Nocerino went above and beyond the call of duty, purchasing 100 tickets from his own pocket to help the cause. For him, it’s vital to help out those in need and it’s just another opportunity for him to do his part.
“For me it’s normal,” Nocerino said of his generosity, “My family, whatever the situation, likes to help the community and help the foundation. My family is happy for the 100 tickets and I hope the people are coming to the game, because it’s important for Puerto Rico. They have such a big problem and Orlando is ready to help. I understand the game is a friendly and the Orlando community has a big heart, so I hope the people are coming to watch the game and help Puerto Rico.”
After hearing what his player had done, Jason Kreis lauded his midfielders efforts and challenged the rest of his team to follow in the Italian’s example.
“It’s fantastic,” he said, “I think we do a lot of talking about how important the character of the players is to us as a team. It’s not just about what they can provide for us on the field, it's also about what type of men we’re looking to have in this team and what that means to us. It’s very important to us and i’m very pleased Antonio can do that. Hopefully the other players can follow suit and maybe look at that as a little bit of a challenge.”
The Lions will train for the rest of the week as they get set to play one final time this season against the Puerto Rican National Team on Saturday, November 4th at 7:30. Tickets are still available here.