This is the first in what I hope will be a long series of posts about Orlando City Soccer Club. Enjoy it at your own risk.
By now you’ve no doubt heard that our beloved Orlando City Soccer Club is leaving the USL Pro ranks and is the 21st member of Major League Soccer.
Huzzah! We did it, you guys!
The club has sadly bade farewell to many players who have helped build the club to this level—guys like Miguel Gallardo, Dennis Chin, Jamie Watson and many others, who should long be remembered by OCSC fans for their contributions. Sometimes to be successful you have to leave behind your past and so it is with Orlando City.
The new guard is still largely to be determined, but the club has secured its first designated player in Brazilian star Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leici, more commonly known as Kaká.
Others coming along for the ride include midfielder Kevin Molino, 2014 USL PRO Golden Boot winner, fellow midfielders Darwin Cerén, and Estrela, and defenders Rafael Ramos, Tommy Redding, and Tyler Turner.
Maybe one of our old favorites will return at some point. I certainly think Gallardo would make a decent backup keeper in the MLS if that’s the role he’s willing to accept. What we, as fans of the team, must accept is that there is a reason these players were on a USL PRO roster last year and not already playing in the MLS. Whether it’s size, pace or age, there are factors that may prohibit their success in a higher league. That’s just the way it goes.
Orlando seems ready. The city has embraced a soccer team the equivalent of a minor league baseball or hockey franchise. Now that team is moving up. It will have a bigger budget to grow its fan base while the new stadium is being built.
A new era is here.
We’ve seen MLS franchises fail in Florida before, and there are many skeptics around the country who expect more of the same. But this club seems to have the leadership and direction it takes to succeed. They’re building it the right way, with great forethought. Everything about it feels different than other teams that have come and gone from this town.
“The City Beautiful” is embracing the beautiful game and we’re all here for the beginning of something special.
It’s going to be a fun ride.