MLS stadium funding up to commission

No vote made Tuesday

By Erik Sandoval - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - After a strong presentation by Orlando City Soccer League leaders, the fate of a new soccer stadium and a possible major league soccer team now rests in the hands of the Orange County Commissioners.

Soccer fans and opponents of the plan packed the meeting Tuesday morning as Orlando City Soccer League President Phil Rawlins laid out a proposal asking the county for $20 million in tourism tax dollars.

"Let me be very clear on this. We're in competition. Very stiff competition," he told commissioners. "Miami, Tampa, Atlanta, Nashville and Oklahoma City. All of them would love one of these expansion franchises."

The City of Orlando has already pledged a good chunk of money to this project with the land purchased for the stadium as well.

"Please help us," Rawlins asked the commissioners. "Please assist us."

The presentation outlined plans to build a new stadium, smaller than the Citrus Bowl, on land purchased by the City of Orlando in the Parramore area near the Amway Center.

No vote was called Tuesday, but many considered Orange County Mayor Theresa Jacobs in favor of giving the team the money.  She arrived at the meeting wearing a purple jacket -- a color associated with Orlando City Soccer.

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