SBD/June 21, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Orlando Mayor Says MLS Franchise Will Be Awarded To City, Possibly In Coming Weeks

Orlando's MLS aspirations hinge in part on building a new soccer-specific stadium
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer "leaves little doubt that Central Florida is going to be awarded a Major League Soccer franchise and says it might even happen in the next few weeks," according to Mike Bianchi of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. Dyer on Thursday said, "It's going to happen. ... We're still in discussions with the county, and that -- some county funding -- is the last piece that needs to fall into place. I would anticipate, if we can get that done in the next couple of weeks, you could see a franchise awarded during the summertime." Dyer if this happens "deserves much of the credit for fast-tracking the construction of a soccer-specific stadium that the MLS is requiring for Orlando to be awarded a franchise." It appeared an Orlando-based MLS franchise was in "jeopardy just a few weeks ago when the soccer effort did not get the state sales tax rebate it was counting to help fund" the new $100M soccer-specific stadium. But USL club Orlando City Owner & President Phil Rawlins was "not deterred" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 6/21).

COMING ATTRACTIONS: Orlando City coach Adrian Heath said that La Liga club Real Madrid MF Kaká “could join” the team “in the near future.” Heath on Tuesday said, “I believe it is very possible to get him here. You don’t have to be Einstein to work out that his contract ends right around the same time we expect to be in the MLS." In Orlando, Andrew Ward noted Kaká, who “has ties to Orlando City,” attended the club’s practice last Friday. Orlando City investor Flavio Augusto da Silva’s advisor Alexandre Leitão, “is the president of sports marketing group Octagon Brazil, which represents Kaká.” Heath said that Orlando City has “previously discussed bringing Kaká and other top-tier international players to Orlando if the team joins the MLS” (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 6/19).
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