The Orlando City Soccer Club is a professional American soccer club situated in Orlando, Florida. The club competes in the Major League Soccer (MLS) and is the 21st franchise in the league, under the ownership of Brazilian businessmen Flavio Augusti DA Silva and Phil Rawlins.
Originally, the owners’ full intention of joining the Major League Soccer (MLS) for the next 3 to 5 years had been announced back in the year 2010, by one of the owners Phil Rawlins along with his investor group, the Orlando City Soccer Club.
On February 25, 2011, Orlando City had aired a formal meeting between the Orlando City Soccer Club and commissioner Don Garber regarding the expansion plan for the city. During the meeting, a list of agendas was out including the Orlando’s market place demographics, the local corporate and fan support, and the making of a roadmap for the upcoming MLS franchise in the city.
The second meeting between the club officials and commissioner Don Garber was set on November 10, 2011, which was done for further discussions about the franchise expansion. Unfortunately, the longed MLS expansion was granted to New York City in the year 2013.
On August 31, 2012, Philip Rawlins stated in the Orlando Business Journal that the club would probably get the league’s approval by 2013, which would be scheduled to play for the MLS 2014 or MLS 2015 season. Also, Rawlins added that in order for them to acquire the league’s expansion, they would need to comply a 22,000-seat soccer specific stadium in Orlando.
After some time, the city of Orlando bought the downtown land for $8.2 million to complete the construction of the $110 million soccer stadium. But, the fulfillment of the soccer stadium at that time was cut short due to some issues. On October 22, 2013, the use of the $20 million tourist development tax funds was approved to build the MLS soccer stadium, to be situated in the downtown Orlando, Florida.
Orlando City SC was finally launched as the league’s 21st expansion franchise on November 19, 2013. The newly awarded expansion club revealed its first logo on May 13, 2014 and had announced a partnership with the Benfica on June 9, 2014. Along with the team’s partnership with Benefica, Orlando City had also agreed two players from the S.L Benfica Juniors U-19 Development Team.
As part of the team’s preparation for their 2015 inaugural season, Orlando City SC recruited the former Brazil international Kaka as their first player, getting him out from his previous team Sao Paulo FC until the beginning of the 2015 season. During the last quarter of 2014, an extension contract had been signed for Kaka’s existence in the club until the end of the 2017 Major League Soccer (MLS) season.
On March 8, 2015, the club hosted its first MLS game held at the Citrus Bowl against the New York City FC, which gathered a large crowd equivalent to 62,510 spectators. In comparison to other MLS clubs, the Orlando City FC has one of the largest fan bases in Orlando, in fact, the club sold nearly 13,000 tickets prior to their 2015 inaugural season.