Downtown soccer stadium edges closer to reality


Ty Wright / Valencia Voice (File)

With the help from the city and county, the team hopes to start construction on the stadium come the end of the year

Valencia Voice

Orlando City SC will hope to get the last missing puzzle piece later this month when City and County officials will vote on the final funding for a soccer-specific stadium, which will guarantee entrance to Major League Soccer.

The City of Orlando will vote on Monday, Oct. 7 and Orange County Commissioners will finish off the long awaited decision when they vote on Tuesday, Oct. 22.

“We are excited as we begin this final step of securing a downtown soccer stadium for the Central Florida area,” Orlando City President Phil Rawlins said in a statement. “We encourage all of our fans to call their commissioners to show their support in the upcoming weeks.”

Despite set backs in Tallahassee earlier in the year, the club hopes to have a stadium approval by the end of the month and begin building by the end of the year.

Both Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs agreed to recommend the Tourist Development Tax (TDT) to City and County officials back in August.

Orlando City plans on being ready to join the MLS in 2015, alongside New York City FC, who was named the No. 20 expansion team. Since then, Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber announced four more teams will be added to the league, making no secret that he wants to expand to the Southeast.

If both City and County officials vote for the final funding for a new downtown soccer stadium, the Lions will begin their inaugural season in MLS playing in a refurbished Citrus Bowl before moving into the new downtown stadium by mid-season.

Since the start of 2013, OCSC has made large efforts to attain a major league side. From bringing in Brazilian investor Flavio Augusto Da Silva to former MLS executive Brett Lashbrook to spearhead operations regarding further MLS expansion.