To kick off the week leading up to the first Major League Soccer match in Orlando, I joined children who utilize the John H. Jackson Community Center to unveil the City’s first futsal soccer court on Monday.
The children, who participate in the community center’s after-school and summer programs, will receive free soccer training on the new hard-court pitch courtesy of the Orlando City Soccer Club. The pitch was converted with the use of a Safe Places to Play Grant from the U.S. Soccer Foundation.
The children were thrilled to step onto the new pitch and enthused about Orlando City’s move to the highest level of professional soccer in the United States. Kickoff Week is here and is filled with fun activities, including a 5K and movie at Lake Eola, leading up to Sunday’s season opener.
A franchise only plays its inaugural game in Major League Soccer once and a community only has one opportunity to experience the excitement of an opening week.
On Sunday, Orlando City will make its MLS debut, hosting New York City FC at the Orlando Citrus Bowl. The Lions are the first new major league franchise in Central Florida in 25 years and have already sold out the Citrus Bowl. I’ll be there cheering on the Lions and I hope you join me to fill the bowl for this historic game.
Our new MLS franchise is much more than just another professional sports team calling Orlando home. It’s about coming together as a community to support a common cause. And with work soon starting on a new soccer-specific stadium in Downtown Orlando, it’s about drawing more international tourists and continuing to uplift our economy while bringing jobs and opportunity to our residents and businesses.
I encourage you to support the Lions by joining our community at one of the kickoff week events welcoming Major League Soccer to Orlando.
– Buddy Dyer, Mayor