Several sources are reporting that Orlando City Soccer Club will spend the 2014 season playing at the University of Central Florida's soccer complex in East Orlando.
As you may already know, the Lions current home, the Citrus Bowl will be under renovations for most of 2014 and the team needs to find a new location to host their USL PRO matches.
While nothing has been finalized yet, temporary seating being added to the UCF facility appears to be the front runner. The team likely will hold off on an official announcement until the end of the 2013 season in case a better option comes to the surface or the Citrus Bowl renovation is delayed another year.
What will take many Orlando City supporters off guard will be the amount of seating; temporary stands will likely only provide roughly 6,000 capacity for the facility. With attendance averaging 7,915 over the team's first four matches in 2013, several thousand fans may find themselves without a seat at the temporary location. The goal is to ensure, at a minimum, that every season ticket holder has a seat and that a supporters section is also available. If an announcement comes this year regarding expansion into Major League Soccer the team could see demand spike with even more fans shut out at the temporary location. The limitation for additional seating at the UCF complex is the ability to still use the track and field portions of the stadium for training purposes during the summer months. Brighthouse Network Stadium on the campus of UCF has been ruled out due to an unwillingness by football officials to allow non-football interests to use the facility.
Ultimately the 2014 playing site has limited options that are cost effective for the team and still make for an enjoyable experience for fans. UCF offers a high-quality field, lighting for night games, press facilities, restrooms, concessions, and plenty of parking. Virtually all of the other locations being considered come up short on at least one or two of these items. Dr. Phillips High School, also rumored to be considered, has roughly 6,000 permanent seats and could accommodate additional temporary stands, but parking and press facilities are limited.
So what do you think of Orlando City spending the 2014 season at UCF? Share your comments below.