Well, folks, we did it. Much like the Jeffersons, we’re moving on up. But instead of to a deeee-luxe apartment in the sky, over on the East Side, we’ve gone to SB Nation.
In late September, I started this little independent blog on a free WordPress site with the intention of seeing it grow into one of the finest team-specific soccer blogs on the internet. We’re not there yet, but hey, we’ve only been at this a couple of months.
What we have accomplished in about nine weeks is pretty exciting. We’ve grown from a few sporadic page hits to several hundred each day and thousands every month. We went from having just me to a staff of nine, including dedicated writers for our USL Pro affiliate in Louisville and for the Orlando City academy system. We’ve added a podcast (or PawedCast, as we like to call it), which will grow and hit iTunes before the MLS season starts.
We thank you for finding us here and for making us a part of your daily surfing. We appreciate those of you who have followed us on Twitter and liked our Facebook page. We wouldn’t do this if it wasn’t fun and we couldn’t do it without you—the Orlando City fans who have already done so much.
We look at our time as an independent site as our stint in USL Pro. Now we’re moving up to the top flight. SB Nation has a more powerful reach, loads of resources, and a thriving built-in community. We’re proud to be a part of the SB Nation network of sites. We hope you’ll join us there and participate as part of our community. We want The Mane Land to grow into the best soccer site on the net. With your help, we’ll get there.
This site will stay up for a while, serving as a signpost to direct readers to our new home. Think of it as mail forwarding for the internet age. It will also serve as a historic document while it’s up, so that in the future we can occasionally look back and see how far we’ve come.
Come with us.
Thanks for reading.
Founder and Managing Editor – The Mane Land
For us 20-something American soccer fans, a love of the beautiful game was entrenched in 1994 when the United States was finally granted the honor of hosting the most prestigious sporting event in the world, the FIFA World Cup. We flocked to Orlando’s Florida Citrus Bowl to see some of the best players in the world, many of whom we’d heard about but never seen, display their world class ability. For me it was a round of 16 matchup between Ireland and the Netherlands. That meant legends such as Paul McGrath, Roy Keane, Frank de Boer, and Dennis Bergkamp.
Growing up in the 90s, soccer wasn’t considered by many to be a serious professional sport. While kids played it recreationally, it was considered a children’s game with little consequence. Lucky for me, my father knew the game on a global scale. Though I couldn’t see them, I grew up hearing of teams such as Manchester United and Arsenal and of players such as Eric Cantona and Tony Adams and was given the ability to dream of one day playing at Old Trafford, Highbury, or Wembley Stadium.
Continue reading Meet the New Guy: My Story with the Beautiful Game
To say that Orlando City’s brand has grown outside of just Orlando could be quite the understatement. One of the main goals for the front office of the club was to market itself to tourists, especially those from Brazil. After all, the Lions brought in arguably one of the most recognized names in Brazilian soccer, Kaká, to help with their marketing to tourists from South America.
With all of this talk about the Brazilian marketing, the tourists from England have been more of an afterthought in recent times. I’m going to share a story from this past summer that will show that even though there are a lot of Orlando City fans from Brazil, there are also many who follow the Lions from across the pond.
Continue reading Orlando City’s Appeal in the U.K.
Two months and one day ago I launched a free WordPress blog to talk about Orlando City SC. I fired up a quick Twitter account and Facebook page to go with it and put up about a story per day for the last week of September. The site got an average of five page views per day. I wasn’t sure where it was going, but I knew I wanted to create a place where enthusiastic contributors provided daily offerings that Orlando City fans might want to consume.
Now, as we prepare for our move to the SB Nation network, the site is finding its audience despite the fact that the club is months away from its first MLS game and hasn’t even compiled a complete roster yet. Sure, there have been some big events, such as the stadium groundbreaking and the 2015 uniform unveiling, but many days we’ve battled to create content that we think Orlando City fans in particular, and soccer fans in general, will find engaging and interesting.
Continue reading A ‘Status Update’ From The Mane Land
The Mane Land, along with all of the other SB Nation MLS sites, took part in a mock Dispersal Draft this week, to see how tomorrow’s MLS Dispersal Draft for Chivas USA players might look. It was a fun exercise and an interesting look at what teams might be looking for tomorrow during the league’s conference call to find new homes for those wayward Chivas players.
To simulate the draft, we selected in the order the teams drew last week, with Orlando City holding the seventh pick. The draft order was chosen by drawing with 2014 MLS teams getting one envelope each in the hopper and non-playoff teams and expansion clubs getting two envelopes each. Despite the extra envelopes, four of the first five teams drawn were 2014 playoff games, led by FC Dallas with the first overall pick.
The only non-playoff team drawn in the first five was New York City FC, with the second pick.
This turned out to be a fortuitous spot for NYCFC. With Dallas not needing a goalkeeper, their blog Big D Soccer chose the versatile Marky Delgado with the top pick. This allowed NYCFC to nab coveted goalkeeper Dan Kennedy. With Josh Saunders already in the fold, the newcomers in New York are set up nicely in goal. Continue reading Mock Dispersal Draft: Orlando City Nabs Veteran Defender Burling
Hello readers, my name is Casey Moore. I am the new Orlando City youth/academy correspondent for The Mane Land. I’ll be covering the club’s player development and youth programs for the site, and I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself to you.
I was born in South Florida and lived there until I was eight. My father then took a job in Grayson, Georgia. Growing up in Georgia provides a whole set of different experiences than living in South Florida. Scraping ice from your windshield, single-digit temperatures, more pickup trucks than you can count, the country music, Friday night football, and so many more hundreds of experiences unique to the area are what have shaped me into the person that I am today.
I loved so many things about Georgia but I was always counting down until the day I could move back to Florida. My chance to reunite with the Florida sunshine came around when I was accepted into Florida State University.
Continue reading Meet Your New Youth/Academy Correspondent
[Editor’s Note: Jeff Milby is The Mane Land’s Louisville City FC correspondent and will provide weekly coverage of Orlando City’s USL Pro affiliate this season. We’re excited to have ‘boots on the ground’ in Louisville to bring you this coverage.]
For a sports fan, as in life, it’s the tough moments that shape who you are. It’s the gut-punch losses that leave you feeling empty, used and beaten. The games that you rehash over and over with your friends saying, “What if…?” Every sports fan has their own list of heartbreaks. They are the reasons we keep coming back, to right the list of wrongs.
I wouldn’t be the sports fan I am today if it weren’t for Dwyane Wade triple-doubling his way into the national consciousness and beating the team my 11-year-old-self thought was unbeatable. I can remember the sheer rage that overcame me when Edgar Sosa spoiled what would have been improbable last-minute comeback with an absolute dagger of a shot. And I won’t forget how I didn’t move off of my couch for an hour after the USA couldn’t quite shock the world by coming back to equalize after Belgium went up 2-0 this past summer in Brazil. Continue reading Greetings, From Your Louisville Correspondent