Flashback: Orlando City SC announced as MLS' 21st franchise

Thousands filled the streets for 2013 announcement

By Clay LePard - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - Thousands of fans filled Church Street in downtown Orlando on Nov. 19, 2013, when it was announced Orlando would be home to the 21st Major League Soccer franchise.

News 6 was there as supporters walked away with scarves, purple beads and glow bands as part of the announcement. 

The announcement at Cheyenne Saloon came as a joy to many, giving Orlando a chance to play on a bigger stage by joining Major League Soccer. 

At the time, city and county leaders announced funding for an $81 million professional stadium, but two years later, it was announced the stadium would be privately funded by the team after the city of Orlando agreed to sell property in Parramore.

On Oct. 16, 2014, thousands marched to where the Orlando City downtown stadium would be built as officials broke ground on the site. 

The team joined the league officially in 2015, as 62,510 fans flooded the Orlando Citrus Bowl for the inaugural match. Orlando City Stadium opened its doors in 2017 to  sellout crowd of 25,550. 

[Watch the News 6 coverage of the 2013 announcement at the top of this story]

Earlier this month, the club announced plans for a new training complex at Osceola Heritage Park. 

“The training complex is the heart of our soccer operations. It’s where our product on the field reports to work every day, where they eat and recover, and most importantly, where they build the team culture and attitude that carries over to the stadium on match days,” Orlando City CEO Alex Leitão said in a news release. “We’ve worked hard to secure the best opportunity to support both player development and the recruitment of top talent over the past four seasons with the establishment of a top-notch soccer stadium in 2017 and now the addition of a new state-of-the-art training complex in 2019.”

The park had previously been the spring training complex for the Houston Astros.

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