Orlando City Makes MLS Move Official

MLS Commissioner Don Garber awards Orlando 21st MLS franchise
by Danny Morales   |   Monday, November 25, 2013

Purple Pride – column on Orlando City SC (OCSC) & the Orlando & Central Florida area soccer scene.

ORLANDO — Major League Soccer is coming to Orlando, and the rolling out party was one for the ages.

Orlando City SC officially announced their move to join the MLS during a  three-hour party at the Cheyenne Saloon in downtown Orlando, the same exact location where it was announced that the preliminary rounds of the 1994 World Cup would be played in Orlando.

Now with the jump to MLS official for 2015, the first steps of building a championship team started on Thursday when owner Flavio Augusto Da Silva traveled to Europe to speak with a top-class player in hopes of getting them to come to Orlando in 2015.

“I came to win,” said Da Silva during his speech before the announcement. “I came to put Orlando City on the map.”

Da Silva didn’t mention specifics about what part of Europe he was going to or who the player actually is, but he said that it would be a “soccer star.”

“I can not say it yet, because we are under the FIFA rules,” said Da Silva, when asked about the player he is going to speak with. “But I can tell you, I can guarantee you that we are going to bring soccer stars.”

The club hopes to break ground on their new multi-purpose stadium as early as spring 2014 and the club would prepare to play their first game in the stadium during the second half of the 2015 MLS season. Orlando City will play the first half of their inaugural MLS season in the newly-renovated Citrus Bowl.

Orlando City’s jump to the MLS will mark the return of top-tier soccer in Florida since 2001, when the Miami Fusion and Tampa Bay Mutiny both folded. But MLS commissioner Don Garber thinks the league can succeed in Florida this time around.

“It’s good to be back and I’ll think we’ll be in other cities in the years to come,” said Garber when asked about the MLS’s return to Florida. “We believe we need two full teams in Florida.”

Commissioner Garber also dropped hints that David Beckham’s hopes of bringing his MLS franchise to Miami could soon be a reality.

“Now I’m convinced Miami would be a great market,” said Garber after Orlando City was announced as the league’s 21st franchise. “If we could get a stadium in downtown Miami and get the right ownership. … Even though we left that market 10 years ago I think we’d go back for a different scenario and be successful.”

While most of the big news is over with for the club, the transition into the MLS begins, and it started on Monday when Orlando City announced they were extending their long time partnership with Orlando Health, making them the first MLS franchise to already have a jersey sponsor before admittance into the league.

Club President Phil Rawlins also told reporters Tuesday that Orlando City will keep purple in their team colors and the club’s name will not change when they make the jump to MLS. The one thing that will change is Orlando City’s three lion crest.

No matter the changes that come Orlando’s way, it’s a historic move for MLS. Now with 21 teams set to play in 2015, the league looks only to be growing and expanding forward.


Valencia College
Club Domestic:
Orlando City
Club Foreign:
Real Madrid
Former athlete turned journalist who remembers the days of the Miami Fusion and Tampa Bay Mutiny, Danny now writes Orlando City news while chronicling the clubs move to become an MLS franchise.