Some may be unfamiliar with the new development in the Orlando sports market, but the latest wave of sports has taken hold of many dedicated fans, developing a near cult in its attempt to drive the organization to the MLS. This team, known as the Orlando City Soccer Club, plays in the third tier, the USL Pro, of the professional soccer leagues in the United States. In their first season in Orlando, the 2011 OCSC Lions made some astonishing accomplishments that have surely caught the attention of Major League Soccer’s Commissioner Don Garber: USL Pro Season Champions, USL Pro Post-Season Champions, USL Pro Coach of the Year, USL Pro MVP, USL Pro Organization of the Year, and many more individual awards. The first year domination of the established USL Pro has surely turned heads and has brought up conversation that the Orlando City Soccer Club Lions should indeed be considered for the 20th addition to the MLS in the coming couple years.
There are many concerns that must be addressed to this young organization before they move forward in their steps toward the MLS. Some may consist of stadium needs to fan support and corporate sponsorships. First, the main issue that seems to be persistent with moving to the MLS is the stadium compatibility with soccer customs. Currently, OCSC uses the Citrus Bowl as their main venue. This facility is undoubtedly old and hurting for a renovation, but would an American football designed stadium be fitting for a first tier professional soccer team? Another issue that the organization seems to have a better grasp on is the fan support. Is there enough Orlando support to this squad with room to grow? The answer to this seems to be a solid YES. The opener for the 2011 season had nearly eight thousand strong, with nearly twelve thousand attending the closer in their championship victory. The fact that this squad was able to get nearly twelve thousand into seats in a city where the main attraction is Dwight Howard is astonishing because this team is in a far inferior league, not to mention they were competing with the season opener for UCF football. This shows that they already have a concrete support with plenty of room to grow as soccer is slowly growing on Americans due to the recent craze over the Men’s and Women’s World Cups. All in all, there are many issues that still need to be addressed as Don Garber, the MLS commissioner, makes his way to Orlando in the coming month. Orlando City Soccer is surely something you will want to check out when their season starts in April. After all, Dwight Howard may be spending his last season in the sunshine state, so if you want to see a successful franchise, you may have to make your way from the basketball court to the futbol (soccer) pitch.