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Pro soccer is coming to Orlando — in 2011

The United Soccer Leagues’ First Division will include a franchise in Orlando.

March 04, 2010{sodEmoji.|}By Jason Lucas, For the Sentinel

The countdown can begin.

On Thursday, the Orlando Titans — part of the National Lacrosse League — announced that club owner Steve Donner will own and operation a new franchise in the United Soccer Leagues' First Division, beginning in April 2011. The First Division is taking this year off while its teams compete in the United States Soccer Federation Division 2 Pro League.

"We believe that the two teams can help one another," Donner said. "The Orlando area has done a great job supporting the Titans so far, and I think it definitely made the USL take notice.

"We looked at several different options, including indoor soccer and hockey, but in the end, professional outdoor soccer made the most sense in terms of being able to utilize our staff on a year-round basis without a lot of overlap in the seasons."

The announcement was made at a news conference that feature Donner, USL CEO Alec Papadakis and Central Florida Kraze coach Joe Avallone. The Kraze belong to the USL Premier Development League.

"Our local youth players now have a full progression of soccer to aspire to,'' Avallone said.

The soccer team's name, venue and colors will be the initial focus. The franchise plans to announce a player development agreement with a European pro team in the near future.

Fans can establish season ticket seating priority in the new franchise with a fully refundable $50 deposit per seat. Call the Titans office, 407-601-6516, for details.

The team also has set up a Web site, orlandoprosoccer.com for those interested in receiving updates.

Edited by Draculus
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Sounds awesome!!!! I just hope they play within the limits of Downtown Orlando (Florida Citrus Bowl).

I just hope to GOD that the City of Orlando make the FCB a world-class venue or just sell it to private investors.

Unfortunately neither is likely at this point. No investor wants it and the money just isn't there to fix it.

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Pro soccer in Orlando might be closer to being a reality

Rumors began today that Orlando is one step closer to housing a professional soccer club.

Inside Minnesota Soccer reported earlier today that Austin Aztex would be moving to Orlando to become a team here. It would compete in the newly formed USL PRO league, bascially a third division in American professional soccer.

Austin, which has ties to Stoke City in the EPL as an American feeder club, is owned by Phil Rawlins, who sits on the board at the English club.

Since the club’s inception, it has had a player/training practices sharing relationship with the Potters.


Edited by DeepEyez
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Orlando City Joins USL PRO

Will Forge Partnership with England's Burnley FC

Monday, October 25, 2010ORLANDO, Fla. —Professional soccer is coming to Orlando in April. On Monday, Orlando Sports Holdings (OSH) announced that it had acquired the franchise rights to the United Soccer League’s Austin Aztex franchise and will move the team to Orlando.

The franchise will play under the name Orlando City Soccer Club and will compete in the new USL PRO beginning in April, 2011. OSH President, Phil Rawlins, will lead the franchise as its majority owner. The other major owners behind OSH include Brendan Flood, majority owner of Burnley F.C., and Dan Williams of Charlotte, N.C.

USL PRO is committed to being the strongest, most visible, and best operated professional soccer league in North America and the Caribbean below Major League Soccer. The league will feature a Board of Governors responsible for making all major decisions for the league including expansion, competition format and commercial strategy. Its regional format and national footprint will boast upwards of 18 teams in 2011 and Orlando will find several local rivalries. USL prides itself on providing major-league entertainment at affordable prices.

Rawlins, who was majority owner the Aztex, will retain Austin head coach Adrian Heath and the majority of the 24 players currently on the Aztex roster.

There's more....

Edited by DeepEyez
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Orlando City Soccer Club won the USL Pro Championship this week, making Orlando a realistic choice for an MLS team in 2013.

From Goal.com (http://www.goal.com/...es-for-the-20th)

Orlando, Florida

Population rank: 79th

Sports franchises: NBA

Current soccer franchise: Orlando City Soccer Club (USL)

Positives: Orlando City just won the USL championship in the past week over Harrisburg City. During the season, the club averaged over 6,000 in attendance, with a high of 11,220 in the championship game. The club actually had a winning record against MLS teams in the preseason, defeating both the Philadelphia Union and Toronto FC. Home games are currently played in the Citrus Bowl, which seats 70,000 and recently underwent renovations. Orlando City is owned by director of English Premier League club Stoke City, Phil Rawlins.

Negatives: With the two failed franchises in Florida, it would seem that the MLS is hesitant to return to the Sunshine state. However, that does not seem to be the case for Orlando, which has not fielded team like Tampa and Miami. While the city might not routinely bring 36,000+ to the football stadium like Seattle, Orlando has shown it can provide the numbers Commissioner Garber wants in a new team.

Robison’s take: Orlando has surged past the other cities listed over the past year. With a successful 2011 season, both in play and in attendance, the overwhelming support for the city’s introduction to MLS has escalated the club to the top of the ranks along with New York and St. Louis. This looks like this could be the destination of the next franchise in 2013.

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I think Kaley between Orange & Division would be a great spot. My rationale, after doing some very light research, is this:

- Area would be served by LYMMO South Expansion, and SunRail

- Good visibility from I-4

- Adjacent to the south end of all of the renderings of Orlando Health's campus/SunRail development

- Speaking of which, Orlando Health has been the main sponsor of Orlando City, yes?

- Could leverage the NID (Neighborhood Improvement District) that is forming in the area as well as the Downtown South Main Street program.

- I copy/pasted the Citrus Bowl into the areas on a Google Map and it fit easily. The actual stadium would be smaller if not the same size. I'm assuming that with the transit options and Orlando Health garages, they would not need to have an excess of parking - maybe just one event garage with ground floor retail.


LYMMO South Corridor Proposed Refined Alternatives (PDF)

SunRail station and Development Plan (PDF)

Downtown South Neighborhood Improvement District

Edited by Downtown Steve
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I think it is unrealistic that Orlando will build an MLS-specific stadium before joining MLS. Many residents that have no interest in progressing Orlando already complain left and right about the existing venues package, which isn't even close to complete. I think when it comes to MLS in Orlando it's Citrus Bowl or nothing. The Seattle Sounders are one of the most popular MLS teams and they play at Qwest field, so it's a possibility. I would love to see MLS come to Orlando, but I don't see a new stadium until MLS arrives and proves to be a success.

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I agree, if they can't even get the somewhat historically important Citrus Bowl renovated, they probably won't be building anything anytime soon. But then again, the Marlins got their new, impressive, but tax-payer-funded stadium -- despite the fact that baseball isn't at its peak in popularity right now. Although, having an MLS team seems like a valid possibility.

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Just wrapped up a entry that sums up my knowledge on what is happening with the Citrus Bowl. It looks at the history of the sportsplex, the current discussions on both soccer and baseball, and I finish with a short summary of what I think the best plan going forward would be.

What if: The Citrus Bowl fix

Let me know what you think and if I missed anything.

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This came out on Oct. 12. Looks like its moving forward, closer to I-drive. Disappointing that they won't choose a parcel closer to Downtown and the core of the city and that they are marketing for tourists and not Orlando residents. I hardly ever muster the will to go down into the fray of International Drive.


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