Orlando City Still Eyes MLS in 2015

Club owners still confident MLS will come to Orlando
by Danny Morales   |   Thursday, June 27, 2013

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

Orlando City has been trying to join Major League Soccer (MLS) since the day Austin Aztex FC relocated to Orlando and the club was rebranded as Orlando City SC.

With the MLS currently not having a franchise south of Washington, D.C., or east of Houston, Orlando has decided that the time is now to make the leap from USL PRO to America’s top soccer league.

Back in February, the club picked up steam in its “MLS to Orlando” bid when they announced the newest member of their ownership group, Brazilian businessman Flavio Augusto Da Silva. During his first press conference as the club’s newest investor, Augusto Da Silva expressed the franchise's plan to be announced to join MLS in 2013 and play in the MLS starting 2015.

Despite hitting a few bumps in the road to securing a new soccer-specific stadium near downtown, the club’s owners are confident that their original timeline for “MLS to Orlando” can still be a reality.

“We still believe in that in 2015 we’re going to be playing the first game of MLS, maybe here in (the) Citrus Bowl,” said Da Silva in a one-on-one interview before Orlando City’s match against Fluminense FC.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer has already confirmed that the City of Orlando has purchased land bordering W Central Blvd, S Terry Ave, W Church St and S Parramore Ave in downtown Orlando and that the location would be the ‘perfect spot’ for the new soccer-specific stadium that the MLS has wanted the club to have in place before expansion.

Orlando City is still waiting to get city and county funding secured for the club’s new stadium, but according to local reports, that could happen before the end of the summer.

“It’s just a matter of numbers,” said Da Silva. “We are really confident that until the end of this year we’re going to start building our specific soccer stadium.”

But Orlando City’s owners aren’t the only ones who want to join the MLS. David Beckham recently visited Miami to see if that was where he wanted to take his expansion team that was promised to him in his last contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Orlando knows that there is no time better than the present to do what the Portland Timbers did and jump from the USL to MLS.

“We know that the opportunity is now,” said Da Silva. “We also know that we are not the only smart people in the world. … Everybody wants to get this opportunity, but we are also confident that the next franchise is going to be us.”

A Brazilian David Beckham?

Da Silva has been very adamant about bringing what he calls the “Brazilian David Beckham” to play for Orlando City once they reach MLS.

Earlier in June, former FIFA World Player of the Year and current Real Madrid midfielder Kaka visited the club’s training facility in Sanford, Fla. Kaka is represented by Octagon Brazil, which is a company where Da Silva’s business partner, Alexandre Leitao, is president of.

“Of course it makes sense with our connections in Brazil, for instance Kaka is an Octagon player, so we work for them, so he’s in the roster of our players,” said Leitao in a one-on-one interview back in February after Da Silva was announced as Orlando City’s newest owner.

"I hope so, we have dreams,” said Da Silva. “I'm a dreamer actually so I would like to have Kaka on the team.”

NEXT UP: June 29 – Orlando City vs. Richmond Kickers, Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Fla. 7:30 p.m. EST, TBD.

Danny MORALES

Nationality:
USA
College:
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.
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