In only four years, Orlando City SC has joined Major League Soccer, captured some of the most engaged fans, brought a National Women’s Soccer League franchise to Orlando and built its own privately funded stadium. Now the Club has decided to boost its ownership group with the addition of Albert Friedberg from the FCMI group of companies.
"The U.S. soccer market has shown signs of great strength, which we’ve seen at both the club and league level. We have been approached by interested investors over the years, but I committed enough capital to carry out each step of this project so far and kept expansion opportunities on the back burner,” said Flávio Augusto da Silva, majority owner of Orlando City SC. “Today, however, we have taken the opportunity to become partners with an experienced and strategic investor in Albert, who, in addition to financial contributions, brings strong business and finance knowledge to help with projects that lie ahead for the improvement of our product on and off the field.”
Friedberg is the founder and President of Friedberg Mercantile Group Ltd., a Toronto-based investment firm. He is the principal strategist of the firm and is the sole manager of two mutual funds that bear his name. In addition, he serves as chairman and president of the FCMI group of companies, his family holding entities, which are involved in a wide range of investments that include real estate, mining and forestry operations.
Born in Lyon, France in 1946, Friedberg was raised in Uruguay. He earned his B.S. (Business) at Johns Hopkins University, an M.B.A. (International Banking) at Columbia University and a Ph.D., (Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations) at the University of Toronto. Friedberg was also a minority shareholder in The Celtic Football Club (Scotland) from 1994 to 1999.
“I am delighted to be part of Orlando City SC, one of the best managed and most financially solid teams in MLS. I am extremely gratified to have partnered with Flávio, whose vision and integrity are legendary, and with his very experienced team. Under their able direction, Orlando City SC will be certain to share in the explosive growth that I see ahead for soccer in the U.S.,” added Friedberg.
Da Silva continues as majority partner and chairman of Orlando City SC. He has held this position since acquiring the Club in 2013 and has led it to its current successful state.
In Brazil, Da Silva is the founder of Wiser Education, a holding company that controls WiseUp, an English school network. The network is made up of more than 400 schools and 10,000 employees.