Orlando could be United States’ next big sports city


Danny Morales / Valencia Voice

The City of Orlando has three professional sports teams that have made the playoffs, or are in position to make the playoffs this year.

The city has lost hope in the Orlando Magic and is ready for another professional team to step in and lead them to a championship. Luckily Orlando has a soccer, hockey and an arena football team that are all proving our city to be a true sports town.

In order for the city’s teams to exist they must all work together and help the city realize we are a major sports competitor in the United States. They have to promote and support each other and not compete for ticket sale dominance.

Currently sitting at the top of their division in the Arena Football League are the Orlando Predators. Since the league itself folded in 2009, the team has yet to live up to the old Predators the town once supported so well.

This year however, the organization is first in the South Division at 5-3 and are finally playing to the caliber fans had come to expect from the two-time championship winners.

With a whole new management, coaching staff, and player roster, the team is fully supportive of Orlando’s budding sports teams and hopes to bring the different leagues close to work together.

“We should all work together and get the fans to all the games and support each other,” said Predators quarterback Jason Boltus about supporting all the teams in town, “The city of Orlando is an awesome place to be and when the teams are winning, the fans will come out to the games and be loud and proud.”

With two championship wins in the USL PRO soccer league, and currently 6-0-2 making them first in the standings, are Orlando City SC.

Orlando City has become a staple here in Orlando as a soccer powerhouse and was approved as an MLS expansion team in 2013. The city has even approved of a professional soccer stadium to be built downtown.

With all of Orlando’s teams, except the Magic, doing well and earning some wins for the city, fans are turning out and supporting their hometown teams more and more.

“It’s huge, you’re in this together,” said Orlando City forward Dennis Chin. “You’re playing sports, you’re not playing sports, it doesn’t matter where it is, it’s Orlando we’re all representing the same city, we’re representing the same people, so hopefully we can stick together regardless of the sport.”

Back from a ten year hiatus from the ice, the Orlando Solar Bears returned in 2012 as part of the ECHL, a farming league for the NHL. During their 2013-14 season the team went 43-24 and made it to the first round of the playoffs before being eliminated in April.

Apart from basketball, Orlando has all their sports covered. With all these teams maintaining winning records and playoff berths the fans are returning to the games and helping bring their teams to victory, one game at a time.