We are just days away from 2017 and The City Beautiful is already filling the calendar with the Beautiful Game! If you are a fan of soccer and you live in the Central Florida area, you will not be disappointed with this line up.
There will be two separate competitions in the Florida Cup this year. The Florida Cup Challenge, will feature six international club sides from four countries (Argentina, Brazil, Germany, and USA). The competition will take place from January 8-15, with each club playing two matches. The club with the most points at the end of the competition, wins!
It has been two years in the making but the wait is almost over! We recently found out when Orlando City Soccer Club will finally play in the new Soccer Specific Stadium (SSS) located in Downtown Orlando. The date for the first ever match in what will be Orlando City’s forever home, is March 5, 2017. The Lions will face New York City FC in the opening match of the season for the second time in three years. If you enter LionNation’s 12 Days of Christmas you can win tickets to this opener! [Link: http://orlan.do/LN12days] The match is scheduled to kick-off at 5 pm and will be televised on ESPN. For tickets and more information, visit http://www.orlandocitysc.com.
News broke earlier this week that Alex Morgan would be temporarily leaving the Orlando Pride to play in France. Morgan has agreed to a six month deal to play with Olympique Lyonnais in Lyon in the Division 1 Feminine. Not to worry too much Pride fans, Alex is scheduled to be back stateside in May 2017. The Orlando Pride kick off their season in April in the new SSS downtown. The schedule has not been released yet, but updated information (and some great gift ideas!) can be found at http://www.orlandocitysc.com/pride.
Orlando City B (OCB) will be making the move to Orlando after only one season in Melbourne. With the new SSS opening, OCB will be one of three clubs playing their home matches in Downtown Orlando in 2017. OCB will also attempt to resurrect the I-4 Derby with cross state rivals the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
The Rowdies made the move from the North American Soccer League (NASL) to United Soccer League (USL) at the end of the 2016 season. If you have never attended one of the original derby matches, this is a can’t miss. More information regarding Orlando City B’s upcoming schedule can be found at http://www.orlandocitysc.com/ocb.
The International Champions Cup (ICC) is the premier preseason competition for European football clubs. The friendly competition will take place in July, just one month before most of the domestic leagues across Europe begin play. The ICC brings some of the biggest clubs and stars in the world of football together for a tour of the United States, Australia and China. Past clubs in the tournament have included, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool, Chelsea, AC Milan, and Bayern Munich to name a few.
The ICC and Visit Orlando have partnered up to bring this competition to Orlando’s Camping World Stadium in the summers of 2017 and 2018. Imagine the possibility of stars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi playing right here in our backyard! More schedule and ticket information will come in the new year, and this is sure to be the hottest ticket in town this coming summer. Stay tuned for updates as they become available. For more info regarding the ICC, go to http://www.internationalchampionscup.com.
Next year is shaping up to be the best year for world class soccer The City Beautiful has ever seen. I look forward to being there with Central Florida Top 5 every step of the way!