Orlando City Soccer introducing new ownership to the club

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Photo Credit: Danny Morales

Flavio Augusto Da Silva is now a new owner of the Orlando City Soccer Club.

ORLANDO – Flavio Augusto Da Silva was announced as the newest member of the Orlando City Soccer Club’s ownership group on Monday afternoon at a press conference in the Fairwinds Tower Room at the Amway Center.

Da Silva is a wealthy entrepreneur who was born in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. He started out in 1995, when he got a $10,000 loan at the age of 21. Silva then founded his company, which he called Wise-Up.

After recently selling his company in a multi-million dollar deal, Da Silva shifted focus to his real passion: soccer.

Phil Rawlins will remain the president of the team, but the plan is for Da Silva to eventually become the majority owner of the club.

The organization has stressed that should the Major League Soccer franchise be announced by the end of 2013, the club could potentially begin playing as a MLS team as early as the 2015 season.

“We are already working toward MLS,” said Da Silva after the press conference. “But on the field we’ll still be playing in the other league [USL Pro].”

One of the requirements to make the leap to the MLS will be building the club a soccer specific stadium in downtown Orlando.

“Downtown Orlando is like a requirement for the MLS,” said Da Silva. “Because they have a proven business motto and it’s very important for them to have a stadium in a location downtown.”

Rawlins mentioned during the press conference that the club doesn’t need the stadium finished by 2015, but does need to have a plan in place before making the jump to the MLS.

Augusto Da Silva and his business partner Alexandre Leitão choose Orlando partially because of the amount of Brazilian tourists who come to the area each year.

According to Visit Orlando, Brazilian tourists’ average length of stay was nine days when visiting Orlando in 2011, while spending an average of $1,800 per trip. That’s nearly $700 more than the average overseas visitor.

Club president, Phil Rawlins also mentioned during the press conference that Da Silva’s plan is to bring what he calls a “Brazilian David Beckham” in to play for Orlando City in the future.

“Our goal is to bring a real soccer star from Brazil or from Europe,” said Da Silva when asked about possibly trying to sign Brazilian stars such as Ronaldinho or Kaka. “But of course from Brazil we have great connections and we are going to bring people of this level.”

“Once we get into the MLS,” said Rawlins. “Yeah, we’re looking to bring a Brazilian Beckham here, or maybe two to develop the franchise with us.”

Orlando City now has an ownership group which has ties to Brazil and England, two of the world’s most soccer enthusiastic nations.

“You’ve got two of the major soccer countries in the world in the same boat, plus the United States,” said Rawlins after the conference. “This is happening, this is real. This game has taken off in this country and Orlando is a great, great place to be and to build that into development.”

The club opens up the 2013 USL Pro season on April 14, at home against the Rochester Rhinos.