MLS to Orlando almost a reality


Danny Morales / Valencia Voice

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs (left) and City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer sign soccer balls in honor of the vote.

By Valencia Voice Staff

ORLANDO — Florida braces itself for the return of MLS after 12 years.

Orlando City SC has moved one step closer to becoming an Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise thanks to a 5-2 vote from the Orange County Board of Commissioners in favor of using Tourist Development Tax (TDT) to build the club’s new multi-purpose stadium.

The County leaders agreed to give Orlando City $20M in TDT money to help construct their downtown stadium, which is a requirement for MLS expansion.

The vote comes one day after MLS president Mark Abbott visited Orlando and told one reporter that all the club needed for expansion to be final is approval of the new stadium.

“We’d like Orlando to be the next expansion team,” said Abbott in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel on Monday. “We have in place a number of the factors that we think are needed to be successful, a strong leadership group and a strong fan base. Once we finalize (a stadium plan), we will have a Major League Soccer team here.”

Now the next move is to negotiate with the MLS and an announcement could be made as soon as November.

The multi-purpose stadium is set to be built near the Amway Center in downtown Orlando in the Parramore neighborhood. If all goes as planned, the club will be playing in the MLS for the 2015 season.