But what does this mean in practice?
Well, what we do know is that Stoke City will be travelling to Central Florida to take on Orlando City SC at Titan Soccer Complex in Melbourne on July 27th in a mid-season friendly.
What we also know is that cross-promotional activity, accessibility to shared scouting and player recruitment systems will forge part of the agreement.
This is not to mention perhaps the most exciting part of the new affiliation – player exchange opportunities.
While Adrian Heath‘s team won’t be receiving Bojan or Xherdan Shaqiri any time soon, Potters defender Dionatan Teixeira is set to sign for the Lions with Mark Hughes having tended not to experiment with his squad too much.
Underlining the point that younger or outcast Stoke City players may soon be finding a new home in Orlando over the next few years and beyond, here’s a list of FIVE Potters pros that Orlando City SC should be taking a look at.
Most definitely the most exciting player in Stoke City’s Under-21 ranks right now is young striker Dom Telford.
The 19-year-old spent his first season with Stoke City this past 2015/16 campaign but still awaits his first appearance in Mark Hughes’ first team having transferred from League One outfit Blackpool alongside Mark Waddington in July 2015.
However, it mightn’t be too long before Hughes gives young Telford a go because the youngster ended up scoring 11 goals in his final 16 Under-21 performances of the campaign.
Performing in Andy Wilkinson’s recent testimonial to boot, it appears Stoke City are handling Dom Telford’s development carefully but with Orlando City SC light up top outside Cyle Larin and Julio Baptista, a good move might be a loan switch to Major League Soccer.
A left back or left winger by trade, young 20-year-old Stoke City defender Joel Taylor has recently won the Potters’ Young Player of the Year award for 2015/16.
Converting from a winger to an attacking full back under development coach Glyn Hodges this past season, Taylor is getting close to the Potters’ first team having trained with them on multiple occasions already.
While Orlando City SC already boast both Brek Shea and Luke Boden who can perform either at left back or left midfield like Taylor, he’s still somebody who could arrive to add further strength in depth.
We’ve already seen that the likes of Leicester City’s Jack Barmby has received a big chance in MLS with Portland Timbers and it would appear that many more transfers from English Under-21 football to Major League Soccer could be taking place in the coming years.
Moha El Ouriachi
A young Stoke City star who appears destined to remain in the Potters’ Under-21 ranks for the time being is young Moroccan winger Moha El Ouriachi.
Having arrived at the Britannia Stadium from none other than Barcelona in the summer of 2015 – albeit their youth ranks – the 20-year-old still awaits his first team debut under Mark Hughes having initially appeared in their Barclays Asia Trophy squad.
An unused substitute in the Premier League on two occasions this past season against both Swansea City and Manchester City in April, a temporary transfer to Orlando City SC would give more competition to the likes of Kevin Molino, Adrian Winter and Carlos Rivas.
While Stoke City fans are still waiting for their first glimpse of Moha El Ouriachi in the first team, Potters supporters have already briefly seen what Ollie Shenton can do.
A local lad from Blythe Bridge, football fans always like to see one of their own succeed and 18-year-old Shenton received brief cameos against Portsmouth and Manchester City back in 2014/15 but didn’t follow that up in 2015/16 with two unused substitutes appearances in the Premier League.
Seemingly in between that gap of regular Under-21 football and being a Premier League substitute, perhaps the best step in his development could be a temporary switch to Orlando City SC we wonder?
Compared to the four players mentioned above, young Stoke City midfielder Eddy Lecygne did manage to get some first team football under his belt in 2015/16.
Albeit in one start with League One outfit Doncaster Rovers, the 19-year-old French midfielder is quite the all-rounder who can either play in both the attacking and defensive midfield positions.
A previous France Under-19 international, Lecygne has been clearly highly thought of but with Stoke City’s midfield particularly strong with the likes of Giannelli Imbula, Glenn Whelan and Charlie Adam to call upon right now, a loan switch must be within his own thinking?