Having ran our first ever Orlando City UK Watch Party right here in the UK in London last Sunday evening when Orlando City SC welcomed New England Revolution, it was an amazing experience to meet fellow Lions supporters right here in England.
And this got us thinking!
With Sky Sports showing plenty of Lions fixtures throughout the duration of the Major League Soccer campaign nowadays, people are getting hooked on Orlando City SC, just like ourselves!
With UK-based supporters showing even more of a keen interest in Adrian Heath‘s side with each passing week, Orlando City UK took some time out to ask fellow UK Lions just why they support Orlando City SC.
And we were delighted to read through what these FIVE supporters came up with!
Take a look for yourselves!
Moving to Orlando from the UK for a year in 2013 was a real adventure but it’s safe to say, I worried about my two young boys leaving their beloved football behind!
That was until Director of Orlando City SC’s Youth Academy, Paul Shaw took us into the Boardroom at the Seminole Soccer Complex and signed Bradley and Lewis for the Lions’ U14 & U10 teams.
Given the warmth of the club, the welcome we received, not to mention the best youth coaches we’ve been privileged to meet so far, we were part of the purple revolution of soccer!
Oh, and the small matter of our first pro US soccer game happening to be Orlando City SC winning the US Pro League Championship game 7-4 at the Citrus Bowl in 2013 while a certain Englishman Dom Dwyer – on loan from Sporting Kansas City at the time – scored four!
We were hooked for life and purple was the new colour. We had a new family 4,500 miles away from home and attended many of the home games in the final season in USL at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex.
The club were fantastic to us and with two little Lions’ progressing through their system while being highly thought of, soccer was most definitely the new football!
It was with a sad and heavy heart that we returned to the UK in 2014, ironically on the day Kaká flew in. As my 10-year-old said at the time, one number 10 making way for another!
Nevertheless, we are still in touch with so many Orlando City SC people and parents, and proudly fly the purple flag in the South West of England with more and more people beginning to recognise the badge on the car with each passing week!
Watching Major League Soccer was something I’d always enjoyed doing in my spare time.
Ever since watching Orlando City SC versus New York City FC in the Lions’ first ever MLS fixture last year while witnessing the incredible fanbase with the collection of drums, flags and chants, this made me want to become part of the Orlando City SC family.
Orlando is also a destination I am familiar with from my travels so this connection ensured that I fell in love with the club instantly!
While I was on holiday in Orlando back in 2014, the USL club had just reached that season’s Pro Play-Offs.
During my holiday, I managed to get a ticket for the Lions’ quarter-final against Harrisburg City Islanders at HESS Sports Fields (the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex).
Despite unfortunately losing 1-0 on that occasion, it was still a really enjoyable experience and I’ve been hooked on Orlando City SC ever since!
For me, I support Orlando City SC due to the fact that I’ve been visiting the city for 23 years now.
Having already built up an affection for Orlando as a holiday destination itself, I’ve always wanted to support an MLS team but never really had a true connection, until 2015 of course.
And after all, who can forget Kaká?
For me, supporting Orlando City SC originated from an affection for the destination itself due to the holidays I’ve enjoyed there growing up.
Of course, since the likes of David Beckham, Thierry Henry and Robbie Keane moved to the States, I’d been following the league loosely but as soon as I saw Orlando were being welcomed as Major League Soccer’s 21st franchise in 2015, I simply had to follow their progress!
Boasting an English core to the organisation, what with Adrian Heath and Phil Rawlins being involved, not to mention the likes of Seb Hines and Luke Boden, the fact I already recognised these players helped too.
And I’m so glad I did!
I was on holiday in Orlando last year and despite the Lions unfortunately playing away fixtures during my stay in Central Florida, there was still purple absolutely everywhere!
I wore my number 10 Kaká home shirt and received plenty of welcoming smiles while starting numerous conversations in the process!
Orlando City SC is a fantastic club built with solid principles and foundations. What’s more, the club is simply fantastic on social media, engaging with fans all of the time.
And finally, the Lions’ fanbase is one of the most passionate groups I’ve ever encountered in my time watching football!
It really is a genuine family feeling!