ORLANDO, Fla. - Don Garber, joined by Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Gov. Rick Scott, officially announced Tuesday night that Orlando will be getting a Major League Soccer franchise.
The announcement was made at a public event at the Cheyenne Saloon on Church Street.
With the addition of Orlando, MLS said it has added 11 clubs since the beginning of the 2005 season, leading to a remarkable and rapid transformation of professional soccer in North America. Three more expansion teams will be added by 2020.
"We are proud and excited to welcome Orlando to Major League Soccer," Garber said. "From the success of the Orlando City Soccer Club, to the incredible fan support and passion in the community, this is a new market that really excites us. We have great confidence in Flávio Augusto da Silva, Phil Rawlins and the rest of the Orlando City ownership group. They love this sport, our League and this city."
"Thanks to the commitment of ownership, the City of Orlando and Orange County, Orlando City will soon have a spectacular new stadium that will provide fans and the entire community with a truly unique downtown sporting experience," Garber added.
The announcement comes after city of Orlando leaders and Orange County commissioners approved an $84 million stadium in downtown Orlando last month.
Da Silva, a native of Brazil, leads Orlando City's ownership group, which includes club Founder and President Phil Rawlins, Chairman John Bonner and 10 local partners, according to MLS.
"Orlando is a special city with amazing fans that have embraced the beautiful game and we have no doubt that Orlando City will become the next success story in MLS," said Da Silva.
Originally from the United Kingdom and a part-owner of English Premier League club Stoke City, MLS said Rawlins founded and developed a highly successful information technology sales and marketing consulting company. He founded the Austin Aztex, a USL PRO team, in 2007, before moving the team to Orlando in late 2010.
"It is a dream come true to bring Major League Soccer to Orlando," said Rawlins. "The fans in Orlando have clearly demonstrated that they are ready for MLS, and we look forward to celebrating with them and working together to set a new standard in this country."
MLS says individuals who purchase 2014 Orlando City season tickets will have top priority for the club's 2015 MLS season seat selection. Call 855-ORL-CITY or click here for details.
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