Brazilian soccer legend Ronaldo – a three-time winner of the FIFA World Player of the year award, and former club player for Barcelona, Inter Milan and Real Madrid – will attend a ground-breaking ceremony on March 31st for his latest R9 academy, at the new vacation home resort Balmoral Resort Florida in Haines City, near Orlando, Florida.

The new academy, to be spread over 5 acres, will encompass a full-sized professional soccer field, three training fields, class rooms, an auditorium and more, and is seeking to attract young players from all over the world to learn the special Ronaldo technique. According to the developer of the academy and the adjacent resort, Irish entrepreneur Garrett Kenny of Feltrim Group, the building of this facility is symbolic of the growth of soccer in the US and in Florida; “Central Florida is truly an international location and so it’s only natural that the world’s most popular sport would find a home in Orlando. We are thrilled that a great star like Ronaldo is opening an academy with us in our new Balmoral resort.”

Ronaldo himself stated, “We are excited to move into the US market, especially in Florida, where soccer has a great influence in the community. Ronaldo Academy’s focus is more than forging athletes, is to develop youth through soccer. The Balmoral project is a perfect opportunity for us to do that, and I’m excited to be with Garrett during the groundbreaking ceremony in late March.”

The groundbreaking of the new R9 academy will coincide with the opening of the first phase Balmoral vacation home resort; a development of 245 vacation homes and a $5 million amenities area which will include a water park, clubhouse, restaurant, wedding pavilion and games room featuring the world’s largest Pac-Man arcade console.

The academy at Balmoral will form part of a larger masterplan development, currently slated to include the resort, the academy, in addition to a private boarding school and sports complex. The R9 academy is scheduled for completion by December 2017.