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 National

Police seek motive in fatal Washington state school shooting

mp

Authorities are seeking a motive as to why a high school student shot dead a female classmate and wounded four others.

in Entertainment

This weekend in entertainment history

beatles

A look back on some of Hollywood's most memorable moments.

in Local Sports

Cougar & Husky doubleheader on KPUG

pac 12 logo

The Washington State Cougars welcome the Arizona Wildcats and the Washington Huskies host the Arizona State Sun Devils on Saturday. You can hear both games on KPUG 1170.

in Local Sports

Jenn Paul named GNAC Golfer of the Week

western washington logo generic copy/wwu

Western Washington University's Jenn Paul has been named Great Northwest Athletic Conference Women's Golfer of the Week for Oct. 19-25.

in Local Sports

Bellingham routs Wenatchee

bellingham blazers logo

The Bellingham Blazers beat the Wenatchee Wolves on Friday night at the Bellingham Sportsplex.