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Servando Carrasco on Fort Lauderdale CF: "If I Want to Really Get the Best out of My Teammates I Have to Set the Example First"

July 17, 2020 - Major League Soccer (MLS) News Release

Fort Lauderdale CF today announced its inaugural roster ahead of its Club debut this Saturday at 8 p.m. ET when it takes on Greenville Triumph SC. The team consists of a number of promising young talents, many coming through the Inter Miami CF Academy as non-professional registrations. Despite the squad's relative inexperience, the team is spearheaded by veteran leadership in 14 players with professional experience, including midfielder Servando Carrasco.

"I think it's a very exciting project. Any time you get a chance to build something from day one it should be something that fills you with pride," said Carrasco. "We have a collection of great young players, some veterans too, and we're really excited to get this season going on Saturday."

The midfielder is coming off of a productive 2019 season in MLS in which he made 16 regular season appearances and one postseason appearance for the LA Galaxy. Now, he is ready to take on a new challenge as the veteran leader of a young expansion franchise.

"I think about leadership, I think about when I was a freshman in college, and then when I was a rookie in the pros, I always looked up to the guys that led by example. So if I want to really get the best out of my teammates I have to set the example first," he added. "It's not so much about what you say, it's about what you do. It's habits, doing the details during training and trying to prepare the team to play during the weekend. We've had a very long preseason, it's been close to six months, and guys are itching to play. We've built a pretty good culture so far, but at the same time that can only take you so far. Now it's a matter of trying to put what we've learned during the preseason into these games. We're all pretty excited to get going."

"First and foremost, this is a group with a lot of promising young talent. I think the message to those guys is that talent has gotten you here, now in order to get to that next level you need to marry that with hard work, with dedication, with doing those little things right. It's about showing up to training, never taking a day off, never taking a play off. I think as you teach them these values, that's only going to translate to that game day. It's one thing to do it in training, but in order for these guys to make the next jump they need to be consistent, consistent in games and consistent in training."

Carrasco is joined by a cohort of hungry young teammates looking to find their footing in the North American professional landscape as 12 Inter Miami CF Academy players are registered to the Fort Lauderdale CF roster. They are joined by Ian Fray, a 2002-born defender, and Francisco Raggio, a 2002-born midfielder, both of whom signed professional contracts after coming through the Academy, becoming the first graduates of the program designed to develop South Florida's premier talent to the First Team level.

"I feel like competing in the Academy and training [at the Inter Miami CF Training Center] every day has helped me get to where I am now," said Fray. "It's all professional from the Academy up. Coming to this facility and training with the coaches, every day is intense, and it has helped me get to this point....Our goal is to win as much as possible, and my personal goals are to keep developing my game and keep getting better every day with the coaches helping me."

"It feels special signing my first professional contract at such a big Club like this one. It's obviously something very special for me and all the sacrifices my family has made for me," added Raggio. "The Academy helped me grow a lot. Starting in the Academy for about six or seven months, all the coaches there helped me become a better player and a better person like we always say here. I think it just keeps moving up, starting from the Academy we all have the same goals and ambitions as the coaching staff. As players, we keep the same energy."

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