News

Major League Soccer makes it official: Orlando gets a team

Major League Soccer makes it official: Orlando gets a team

ORLANDO GETS A TEAM: MLS Orlando City SC team president Phil Rawlins (left), MLS commissioner Don Garber, (center) and Orlando City SC Owner Flavio Augusto Da Silva (right) as Major League Soccer official announces a expansion franchise agreement. Photo: Reuters

By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO (Reuters) – Major League Soccer awarded its latest franchise on Tuesday to Orlando before a crowd decked out in purple team colors.

MLS Commissioner Dan Garber made the announcement naming the Orlando City Soccer Club the 21st franchise in the league.

“I’m absolutely delighted for the city, I’m delighted for Central Florida, and most of all delighted for the fans who embraced us here for the past three years,” Orlando City Soccer president Phil Rawlins told Reuters.

Rawlins said the Orlando City Lions, a Pro USL team since 2010, will start playing in the league during the 2015 season.

Fans in purple shirts lined up around the block festooned with purple balloons more than two hours early in hopes of gaining admission to a downtown saloon for the celebration.

“It’s huge. It’s going to be great for the city. It’s going to be great for the fans,” said Alicia Spencer, 31, a self-employed Lions fan from Orlando.

Last month, city and county officials approved funding for an 18,000-seat, $81 million professional stadium in Orlando’s fast-developing downtown entertainment district, which is also home to Amway Arena, the arena of the NBA’s Orlando Magic.

The Orlando team will be one of four expansion teams planned by the Major League Soccer through 2020. One new franchise has already been approved for New York, a partnership between the owners of the New York Yankees baseball team and the owners of the British Premier League club Manchester City.

Last week, David Beckham, who starred as a player at Manchester United, Real Madrid and the MLS club L.A. Galaxy, toured potential stadium sites in Miami for the second time in five months as he moved ahead with his plans to bring a MLS franchise to the city.

“I’m looking forward to having a brand new team to cheer for when the Magic aren’t playing,” said Alex Casper, 29, an unemployed cook and fan from Apopka, Florida.

Rawlins said he would welcome a future Beckham team in Miami. “I think any rivalry is a good thing. The fans love it. It creates an interest, a special spark for the game,” Rawlins said.

(Editing by David Adams)

Recent Headlines

in Sports

Tuesday’s Sports Minute

Fresh
griffin

In addition to the latest on the Adrian Peterson case and the Eagles comeback over the Colts, here is a…

in National

FCC sees record feedback on ‘net neutrality’

Fresh
net

The FCC has received a record number of comments from consumers and lawmakers on proposed new Internet traffic rules.

in National

115K could lose Obamacare insurance over immigration

Fresh
obamacare

People in 36 states could lose their health insurance under Obamacare, because of problems involving citizenship.

in Sports

Foles rallies Eagles to beat Colts in Indy

Fresh
colts

Philadelphia rallied for a second successive week to record a 30-27 victory with a Cody Parkey field goal as time expired.

in National, World

Lawmakers move toward urging Syrian rebels, with conditions

Fresh
syria

Lawmakers will begin debating legislation to approve arming and training rebels who oppose both ISIS militants and Syria's government.