Orlando City Soccer Club

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This article is about the Orlando City Soccer Club team from the USL Pro. For the MLS team, see Orlando City Soccer Club (2015).
Orlando City
Orlando City 2012.svg
Full name Orlando City Soccer Club
Nickname(s) The Lions
Founded 2010
Stadium ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
Lake Buena Vista, Florida
Ground Capacity 5,300[1]
Owners Flavio Augusto da Silva
Head Coach Adrian Heath
League USL Pro (2011-2014)
2013 USL Pro Regular Season: 2nd
Playoffs: Champions
Website [[1] Club home page]
Current season

Orlando City Soccer Club are an American professional soccer team based in Orlando, Florida, United States. They currently play in USL Pro, the third tier of the American soccer pyramid, and have been announced as a Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion franchise for 2015.

The club will be the first MLS franchise located in the state of Florida since the Miami Fusion F.C. and Tampa Bay Mutiny folded following the 2001 Major League Soccer season.[2]

The team was originally founded in 2008 as the Austin Aztex FC before relocating to Orlando, Florida and has consistently been one of the most successful lower-division teams in the United States.[2] They will play their home games at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in the 2014 season, after playing at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium for three years.[3] The team's colors are red, purple, gold and white. Their current head coach is Adrian Heath.

In 2013, the team's ownership announced their MLS expansion bid had been accepted, and that the team will join MLS in 2015 as the league's 21st expansion franchise.[2][4][5][6][7] At that time, the USL Pro team will move to Louisville, Kentucky, and become Louisville City.[8]

Ownership[edit]

The club's majority owner is Flavio Augusto da Silva. Da Silva, founder of the Wise Up ESL program, joined the club's ownership group on February 17, 2013.[9] After the club's successful expansion bid into Major League Soccer, da Silva became the club's majority owner.

There are numerous other individuals in the ownership group, including Phil Rawlins, the club's President; John Bonner, the club's chairman and Brendan Flood, a board member of English Championship club Burnley.

History[edit]

Formation[edit]

The ownership group, originally identified as Orlando Pro Soccer, was announced on March 4, 2010, and was initially affiliated with the Orlando Titans National Lacrosse League team. However, the Titans ran into financial difficulties. Steve Donner left the Titans club after the 2010 NLL season to focus on the soccer effort. In October 2010, the Orlando Pro Soccer USL rights were purchased by Phil Rawlins, a board member of English Premier League club Stoke City, who moved the Austin Aztex organization to Orlando. The team was announced on October 25, 2010. Rawlins stated at the press conference that he intends to bring a Major League Soccer franchise to Orlando "within 3–5 years", and intends to bring international matches to the city as well. Rawlins announced that the Aztex organization would remain intact in Orlando, with Adrian Heath being retained as manager and most of the team's players returning as well. On January 23, 2013, Orlando City signed a two year deal to be the official USL Pro affiliate of Sporting Kansas City.

Inaugural season[edit]

Orlando City's first preseason began with three matches against Major League Soccer teams. They also faced BK Häcken of the Swedish Allsvenskan before a series of matches against local colleges Rollins, UCF, Stetson and USF. They opened their first season on April 2, 2011, at Richmond, and played their first home game on April 9 against F.C. New York. They finished the regular season top of the American Division on 51 points, which resulted in the USL Pro Regular Season title. On September 3, they played the Harrisburg City Islanders in the 2011 USL Pro Championship. This match ended in a 1–1 draw, and after extra time the score was still tied at 2–2. Orlando went on to win 3–2 in penalty kicks making them the 2011 USL Pro champions.

2012 season[edit]

In 2012, Orlando City repeated as Regular Season champions, but exited the playoffs in the semifinals with a 4–3 loss to Wilmington Hammerheads.

2013 season[edit]

In their third year in USL Pro, the Lions took second place in the regular season. Their first game in the playoffs was a 5–0 win against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. The semi-finals were a 3–2 win over the defending champions, the Charleston Battery. The finals was a 7–4 win over the Charlotte Eagles. This marks Orlando City's second championship in 3 years.

2014 season[edit]

The fourth year in the USL Pro will also be their last year in the league. In the preseason they competed in the 2014 Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic taking 2nd in their group with 3 draws and drawing in the 3rd place match against the New York Red Bulls

Major League Soccer[edit]

On October 25, 2010, Phil Rawlins and his investor group of the club, announced their intentions of joining Major League Soccer within the next 3 to 5 years.[10] On February 28, 2011, Orlando City announced it met with commissioner Don Garber and league officials concerning expansion. Topics covered included the demographics of the Orlando marketplace, the local corporate and fan support for soccer, and developing a roadmap for a future MLS franchise in Orlando.[11] Orlando City team officials met with Commissioner Don Garber again on November 10, 2011 for further discussions about joining the MLS as its 20th club - which ultimately went to New York City - in 2013.[12]

On March 1, 2012. Garber visited Orlando to meet with city and county officials. He stated, “It’s not a matter of if, but when,” when addressing Orlando’s chances of joining MLS.[13] On August 31, 2012, Rawlins told the Orlando Business Journal the team could get the Major League Soccer approval as early as fall 2013, and be ready to play in the league by 2014 or 2015. Rawlins said to make that happen, the league had asked the team to explore building a 22,000-seat soccer-specific stadium. “They didn’t say we had to have a stadium built before we could join, but they at least would like a plan that it’s happening.”[14]

The team's ownership continued to work on a Major League Soccer expansion bid for several years. On November 19, 2013, they announced their bid had been accepted by MLS and were awarded an expansion franchise to begin play in the 2015 MLS season.The Brazilian legend Kaká is expected to be in team at the start of 2015 MLS season.[2]

Orlando City's USL Pro license was acquired by minority owner Wayne Estopinal in June 2014. Estopinal will move the USL Pro team to Louisville, Kentucky, for the 2015 season, becoming Louisville City FC. The team will be Orlando City's USL Pro affiliate, with James O'Connor becoming that club's manager.

Colors and badge[edit]

Orlando City's original logo (2011)

The logo was unveiled during local morning news on Orlando TV station WOFL at 7:00am EST on December 16, 2010, and was officially launched at 10:00am with the team's website.

The club adopted the nickname "Lions" from previous uses of the nickname in Orlando, particularly the Orlando Lions. The colors are shades of red, purple and gold, and are the same colors used by Serie A club ACF Fiorentina (which is not involved with Orlando City). The colors used represent pride in city and team.

The branding was developed by Dixon Minear Design Marketing, the same firm that created the original branding for the Orlando Magic.[15]

Their home kit, white shirt with red shoulders and solid white shorts, was unveiled at their inaugural home friendly, and used without a kit sponsor through the 2011 Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic. Their away kit consists of a red shirt with white armpits and solid red shorts. At the home kit unveiling, they also announced Orlando Health as their kit sponsor. Their kit brand is Lotto.

Stadium and attendance[edit]

Main article: Orlando City Stadium

Orlando City played their games at the 70,000 seat Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium, located in Orlando, Florida. The club's 2012 season drew an average of over 6,900 fans per match, the highest average in the league. On February 15, 2013, the team announced that Fifth Third Bank had purchased naming rights for the stadium for Orlando City matches.

Due to the Citrus Bowl refurbishments, the team is playing the 2014 season at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.[3][16] 2014 has seen the club's lowest average attendance, averaging just 4,657 people a game as of July.[17]

Highest Orlando City S.C. Attendance

  • 20,886 – September 2013, USL PRO Championship match v. Charlotte Eagles[18]
  • 11,220 – 2011, USL PRO Championship match[18]
  • 11,127 – June 23, 2013, friendly against Fluminense (Brazil)[19]
  • 10,889 – July 2011, friendly against Newcastle (England)[19]

Record[edit]

Season Division League Regular Season Playoffs U.S. Open Cup Attendance
(reg. season)
Attendance
(playoffs)
2011 3 USL PRO 1st Place Champions 3rd Round 5,265 9,043
2012 3 USL PRO 1st Place Semi-Finals 3rd Round 6,606 7,887
2013 3 USL PRO 2nd Place Champions Quarter-Finals 8,053[20] 12,761

Developmental system[edit]

From the advent of Orlando Pro Soccer, the team allied with the Central Florida Kraze of the USL Premier Development League to assist player development. Following their successful first season, Orlando City acquired controlling interest in the Kraze, and renamed them Orlando City U-23. The team has a legacy that includes several current and past MLS players, and won the PDL Championship in 2004.

Also after their 2011 season, Orlando City acquired controlling interest in the Florida Soccer Alliance youth soccer club, renaming them Orlando City Youth Soccer Club. That club has several teams competing in the USL Super Y-League.

Club culture[edit]

The club has three major active supporters groups, two of which are under suspension after an incident during a road game against the Tampa Bay Rowdies:

  • The Ruckus is the oldest of these groups, whose basis was formed in 2009 as the "Orlando Soccer Supporters Club" without an affiliation to any particular soccer team. They occupy section 120.
  • The Iron Lion Firm, which separated from The Ruckus prior to the start of City's first season. They own section 121.
  • The Orlando Natural Riddim Section is a Trinidadian drum band that occupies section 109 and plays drums and other percussion instruments throughout home matches.

The team also has several smaller groups that represent themselves at home games. These include the Space Coast Alliance, which involves the father of player Dennis Chin.

The two largest supporters groups—The Ruckus, and the Iron Lion Firm—announced on November 18, 2012, that they were beginning discussions regarding the unification of the team's supporters groups.[21]

Prior to the start of the 2014 season, the Iron Lion Firm and The 407 announced a merger of the two groups resulting in a larger group retaining the Iron Lion Firm name and logo.

Rivalries[edit]

Orlando City's main rivalry is with the Tampa Bay Rowdies with whom they contest in the The I-4 Derby.

Broadcasting[edit]

Orlando City aired several games locally on Bright House Sports Network with Jeff Radcliffe handling the play-by-play and Edmundo Rodriguez providing color commentary. Two regular season home games also appeared nationally on FOX Soccer Channel as part of USL Pro's broadcasting contract. All home games and many away games are broadcast online via USL Live. When BHSN also airs the match, their feed is used for the USL Live feed.

The team's weekly radio program, "OCS Live", airs on WYGM "740 the Game" every Tuesday night during the season, and is hosted by team communications director Adam Soucie.

Club news and player interviews can also be heard on the "Orlando City Soccercast." A podcast hosted by Dan Dennis and Tom Vann.

Their May 14, 2011, home match was broadcast on radio in Spanish by WIWA "VIVA 1160". The match was used as a "test broadcast"; it is unknown if they will air further games.[22]

During 2012, several matches were aired on radio on WYGM, as well as on WWFL 1340 "Onda Mexicana Radio" in Spanish.

Players and staff[edit]

Current roster[edit]

As of April 25, 2014.[23]

No. Position Player Nation
1 Goalkeeper Gallardo, MiguelMiguel Gallardo (captain)     Mexico
2 Defender Turner, TylerTyler Turner      United States
3 Defender Rusin, BradBrad Rusin      United States
4 Defender Redding, TommyTommy Redding      United States
6 Midfielder Pulis, AnthonyAnthony Pulis      Wales
7 Defender Burke, BryanBryan Burke      United States
8 Midfielder Mbengue, AdamaAdama Mbengue      Senegal
9 Forward Gentile, GiuseppeGiuseppe Gentile      United States
10 Midfielder Álvarez, YordanyYordany Álvarez      Cuba
11 Forward Hertzog, CoreyCorey Hertzog      United States
13 Midfielder da Luz, AustinAustin da Luz      United States
14 Defender Boden, LukeLuke Boden      England
15 Forward Chin, DennisDennis Chin      Jamaica
16 Midfielder Quinn, AodhanAodhan Quinn      United States
17 Midfielder Ceren, DarwinDarwin Ceren      El Salvador
18 Midfielder Molino, KevinKevin Molino      Trinidad and Tobago
19 Defender Jean Jacques, BitieloBitielo Jean Jacques      Haiti
21 Goalkeeper Woszczynski, CarlCarl Woszczynski      United States
22 Defender Valentino, RobRob Valentino      United States
23 Defender Clark, JustinJustin Clark      United States
24 Midfielder O'Connor, JamesJames O'Connor      Ireland
26 Goalkeeper Diaz, RafaelRafael Diaz      United States
27 Midfielder Span, BrianBrian Span (on loan from FC Dallas)     United States

Staff[edit]

Notable former players[edit]

Head coaches[edit]

See also[edit]

Other teams have played in the Orlando area in the past:

References[edit]

  1. ^ "ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex capacity". "...the newly upgraded venue holding 5,300 fans."
  2. ^ a b c d "MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER AWARDS EXPANSION TEAM TO ORLANDO". orlandocitysoccer.com. Orlando City Soccer Club. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "GET 2014 SEASON TICKETS TODAY TO GUARANTEE SEAT IN 2015!". Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  4. ^ Schmitz, Brian (November 19, 2013). "MLS officially awards Orlando soccer franchise". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
  5. ^ "MLS awards Orlando new franchise". msn.foxsports.com. Associated Press. November 19, 2013. Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
  6. ^ Wiebe, Andrew (November 19, 2013). "Orlando City SC fans, owners see years of hard work bear fruit, but promise there's plenty more to come". mlssoccer.com. Major League Soccer. Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
  7. ^ Simmons, Roger (November 19, 2013). "It's official: Orlando City Lions are joining Major League Soccer". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
  8. ^ "ORLANDO CITY ANNOUNCES SALE OF USL PRO FRANCHISE RIGHTS TO LOUISVILLE". OrlandoCitySoccer.com. Orlando City SC. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  9. ^ "Brazilian investor to provide $80M to build MLS stadium in...". www.wftv.com. Retrieved April 2, 2013. 
  10. ^ Simon Borg (October 25, 2010). "Investors targeting MLS club for Orlando". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved February 22, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Orlando City Meets with Major League Soccer to Discuss Expansion Plans – OurSports Central – Independent and Minor League Sports News". OurSports Central. February 28, 2011. Retrieved February 22, 2012. 
  12. ^ Andrew Wiebe (November 10, 2011). "Garber: League still focused on expansion team in NYC". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved February 22, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Orlando City put MLS ambitions on show for Commissioner". MLSsoccer.com. March 1, 2012. Retrieved October 25, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Orlando City Lions may score MLS dream with stadium - Orlando Business Journal". Bizjournals.com. August 31, 2012. Retrieved October 25, 2012. 
  15. ^ December 16, 2010 7:08 AM By: Orlando City Public Relations (December 16, 2010). "Orlando City Soccer Club: News". Orlandocitysoccer.com. Retrieved April 2, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Lions To Play Home Games At Disney". United Soccer Leagues (USL). November 5, 2013. Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  17. ^ http://dohertysoccer.com/2014-lower-division-american-soccer-attendances/2014-usl-pro-season-attendance-log/
  18. ^ a b World Soccer Talk, Orlando City Breaks Record Attendance With 20,000+ Fans at USL Pro Final, 8 September 2013, http://worldsoccertalk.com/2013/09/08/orlando-city-breaks-record-attendance-with-20000-fans-at-usl-pro-final-daily-soccer-report/
  19. ^ a b Orlando City Soccer Club, ORLANDO CITY SURPASSES 8,000 PER-GAME AVERAGE IN 2013, 20 August 2013, http://orlandocitysoccer.com/news/?article_id=1557
  20. ^ http://dohertysoccer.com/2013-lower-division-attendances/2013-usl-pro-attendance/
  21. ^ "Timeline Photos". Facebook. November 19, 2012. Retrieved April 2, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Orlando City Soccer Club: Pro News". Orlandocitysoccer.com. Retrieved April 2, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Roster". Orlando City Soccer Club. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
New League
USL Pro Champions
2011
Succeeded by
Charleston Battery
Preceded by
Charleston Battery
USL Pro Champions
2013
Succeeded by
TBD
Preceded by
New League
USL Pro Regular Season Champions
2011
Succeeded by
Orlando City
Preceded by
Orlando City
USL Pro Regular Season Champions
2012
Succeeded by
Richmond Kickers