Friday, March 1, 2013

Where will Orlando City play in 2014?

Late Friday the Orlando Sentinel posted an article stating that Orlando City Soccer Club would have to find a temporary home for all or part of the 2014 season due to the planned renovations for the Citrus Bowl.

The article stated that plans have demolition of the stadium beginning in February 2014 and running roughly 9 months until November's schedule high school and college football games; the big money makers for Florida Citrus Sports.

The team confirmed that they would be looking for a temporary home in the Orlando area for the 2014 season and that they would not be able to play any of their home matches at the Citrus Bowl. Orlando City is averaging close to 7,000 fans per match and if the team announces an agreement to join Major League Soccer prior to the start of the 2014 season the attendance numbers could swell significantly. So where would the team play?

Bright House Networks Stadium on the campus of the University of Central Florida in East Orlando has been mentioned and is the likely temporary home for the team. With a seating capacity of just over 45,000, a grass field, and no other tenants using the facility during Orlando City's season, the stadium is the likely choice. The pitch would be narrow, likely 68 yard by 110 yards, but the tighter dimensions would be only slightly narrower than the design planned for the new downtown stadium.

If a deal cannot be reached with UCF to use their stadium the possibility of a temporary stadium at the Seminole Soccer Complex in Lake Mary is high on the list of options. The Vancouver Whitecaps faced a similar issue when their home, BC Place, was renovated over a two year period and they played their first season at a temporary stadium at Empire Field.

We heard later this evening that the team is in talks with several area high schools including Edgewater and Lake Brantley to use their football/soccer stadiums. Each have between 5,000 and 6,000 existing seats and could be expanded to possibly 10,000 seats with temporary stands. 

We will stay on top of this story and keep you posted as details are discovered.

9 comments :

  1. setting up at the training ground might have traffic issues. very small streets in that neighborhood; a donation to the local peace officers would certainly be required.

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  2. The soccer complex is not located or developed to handle 6,000 fans. Youth sides should not be evicted because of game day preparation.

    The comments made about the restricted size of the field in a new stadium is worrisome. Should be MLS standard.

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    1. There is no such thing as "MLS standard". There really isn't such thing as "FIFA standard". They recommend 116x74 for international matches. The IFAB (the actual football rules body) gives a range of 100-130 yards for length, and 50-100 yards for width, as long as it's not square.

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  3. A high school field is absurd and will be viewed as a big step backwards. 5 thousand temporary stands? A lot of porta-poties! Maybe not since there would be no alcohol.

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  4. Playing at a high school does present the problem of alcohol sales, but I think the team is looking for a venue that can handle the crowd first and "creature comforts" like beer and concessions second. Bright House is the best option in my opinion, but UCF and Coach O'Leary have been very reluctant to use the stadium for anything but football. A temporary stadium of 10k is likely too costly unless they play on an existing field like the SSC. It will be interesting to see where they end up, we will stay on top of it.

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  5. Dr. Phillips will definitely not happen. They are under construction until 2015. All other OCPS stadia are And SSC is way too out of the way, with a ton of two-lane roads going through BFE Seminole County.

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    1. All other OCPS stadia have too small stands, I meant to say.

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  6. The UCF soccer complex could also be an option.

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  7. Why not Tinker Field? Seems like it could be "adjusted" to work for soccer and that some stands could be added.

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