Tag Archives: the city beautiful

Central Florida Top 5’s 2017 Soccer Preview

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.

Florida Cup 2017

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!

The Florida Cup Playoff, is a single elimination tournament where only one club is left standing. There are six clubs from four countries (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Ecuador) all fighting to lift the cup at the end of the tournament.  This leg of the competition runs from January 15-21.  For more information on both Florida Cup competitions including clubs, venues, and fixtures, visit http://www.floridacup.com.

 

Orlando City SC

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! [Linkhttp://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.

ProTip: Sign up for LionNation and get single game ticket priority! Info here: http://orlan.do/2hg9wfA

 

Orlando Pride

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

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.

 

International Champions Cup and Visit Orlando

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.

 

Welcome to Orlando @IntChampionsCup! ⚽️💜 #ICC2017 #VisitOrlando

A photo posted by Jen (@jenvargas) on

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.

David in Peru Orlando City

Me sharing love of Orlando City in Peru!

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!

Vamos Orlando!

Orlando City SC: Final Countdown and New Beginnings

As I sit here thinking about the past seven months, I can’t help but think how awesome this ride has been.  It seems like yesterday when Central Florida Top 5’s Managing Editor (Hi Jen!) messaged me to ask if I would be interested in writing an Orlando City SC blog.

At first I was a little hesitant about doing it because I had never written a blog before. Sure, I kept journals growing up that I would write in all the time, but none of that was for public consumption. Jen assured me that I would be fine and I took her at her word. Why she chose me, I am not 100% sure. However, if I had to take a guess, it was probably because of my manic posting of anything Orlando City SC on social media. Whatever the reason is, I just want to say thank you to Jen and the rest of Central Florida Top 5, for allowing me the chance to get up close and personal with Orlando City SC, the club that I love!

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The Final Regular Season Game

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It is crazy to think that this is the end of the road for the City Lads in their inaugural season.  It has been one giant roller coaster ride of emotions.  In the beginning we looked like world beaters, and as a supporter I was on top of the world.  First we took a 1-1 draw in the home opener off Kaka’s deflected free kick.  Then we had the 1-0 win on the road at Houston the following week.

We were two games in with four points and it felt amazing.  Then there was the back to back home losses against Vancouver Whitecaps and DC United, both lost on stoppage time free kicks.  Suddenly there was an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach.  The club that dominated in USL the previous four years was no more. We were in a league where we faced real, tough competition. Of course I am talking about the PRO Referees. I kid (kinda), but seriously a 2 game home losing streak was not something I was accustomed to with my Lions.

In any case, there have been plenty of memories for players and fans alike.  One of my favorites was and still is the growth of Cyle Larin through out the season.  From his first ever goal as a Lion against Portland, to his brace last week against New York City FC (goals 16 & 17 on the season), Cyle has become one of the most potent strikers in all of MLS.  I sincerely look forward to watching him do big things for many years to come! This weekend, the Lions travel to Philadelphia to take on the Union this Sunday at 5 pm. Mathematically, the Lads are still able to make the playoffs, but a little luck will need to be in the cards for sure. Currently Orlando City has once chance to get into the post season, and it involves A LOT of goals. Currently the Lions would need to make up an 8 goal difference against the New England Revolution. Which means, for example, Orlando City would need to beat Philly 4-0, and hope NYCFC beats New England 4-0, thus making up the 8 goal difference between the two clubs.  Is it possible? Yes. Keep in mind, Orlando City has scored 5 goals on a few occasions this season.   The big questions are, can NYCFC manage to score 4 goals or more on New England without allowing a goal? Probably not. I for one have absolutely no confidence in the ability of NYCFC to help our cause. I could be wrong though… it has happened before (see Chicharito tweets from July). This is one situation where I would be happy if I am wrong on my face if it meant the Lions get to the playoffs.  

Orlando City B, So Nice We Did It Twice!

OCB_Announcement_FB_NoText(1) It was announced last week that Orlando City would be going back to USL in 2016. If you remember earlier this summer, the club announced it was cutting ties with Louisville City (currently in USL). The partnership was short lived after the USL franchise rights were sold to Louisville City before Orlando City began play in MLS this season. The original plan was to have Louisville City act as “minor league” club for the Lions. Our site is a place where players could be loaned out for playing time if they were not seeing minutes with the first team.  It also gave Orlando City a pool of players they could pull from in the event of an injury “plague” the team can’t take any more injuries, the have been working non stop with cases coming from them. Now that Orlando City SC will have their “minor league” club about an hour away in Melbourne, player transfers between the clubs should be smooth. Orlando City B will begin play in April 2016 on the campus of Eastern Florida State College.  For those that live in the area, this is an amazing opportunity for them to see quality soccer at an affordable price.  In fact, there is already a supporter group ready to bring an amazing atmosphere to every home match.  Visit the Harbor City Hooligans by liking them on Facebook.  Orlando City B will also bring back a couple of fan favorites.  Rob Valentino and Anthony Pulis will join the coaching ranks with the club. This is very exciting news for the fans, but it is not the only breaking soccer news in The City Beautiful…  

Orlando Pride Have Arrived! 

mpY0S5ED_400x400 Just when you thought Phil and Flavio couldn’t surprise Orlando City fans more than they already have, the Orlando Pride are here! The Pride begin play in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) next April.  I have to say, this is probably the worst kept secret since the signing of Kaka, but it is exciting none the less. As the father of a little girl, I am happy that she will have players like Alex Morgan and Kaylyn Kyle to look up too. Oh yeah, If you didn’t know, now you do. Alex and Kaylyn are supposed to be “officially” announced  as members of the Orlando Pride on Monday, October 26th. This is one day after the US Women’s National Team takes on Brazil at the Citrus Bowl.   There has been speculation for a few months now that Alex Morgan would come play in Orlando once the team was announced. How do I know this? Well, she has been at most of the Orlando City home matches since August 1st. Plus, her husband Servando Carrasco is a midfielder for the Lions. It just makes sense for them to want to be in the same city during the season.  Especially since both leagues follow pretty much the same season schedule, currently Alex plays for the Portland Thorns. The recently married Carrasco and Morgan would probably love to see each other as much as possible during the season. Then again, I could be wrong (again see Chicharito tweets from July), but Flavio did drop a “Major Announcement” tease on social media today.  I guess we will just have to wait and see how this all pans out.

From @OCPres: “We have a lot of girls playing the sport, now they have someone to look up to.” #OrlandoPride #NWSL A video posted by Central Florida Top 5 (@centralfltop5) on Oct 20, 2015 at 11:02am PDT

Follow me on Twitter @davidjxblair for Orlando City SC tweets and other random ramblings!

Vamos Orlando!

Show Your Local Love at Canvs on June 5th

Since we were founded in 2009, Central Florida Top 5 has been all about celebrating the amazing things happening here in our region.

We’ve cheered on SunRail and the Dr. Phillips Center. We’ve covered the opening of the Orlando Eye and the arrival of cool new businesses like Gods and Monsters. We’ve walked a mile in her shoes and learned how sharing bikes can get us all farther.

Now, coming up on June 5th, from 3pm to 9pm, all citizens of Orlando are invited to a community celebration of everything we love about The City Beautiful. Macbeth Photography is holding a very special edition of their monthly “First Friday” photography event series at Canvs in the Church Street Exchange building.

Working with artist Nathan Selikoff of Local Notebooks, the Macbeth team researched all of the official neighborhoods of downtown Orlando and created a hand-painted map that showcases each neighborhood and the community as a whole. Here’s how it looks:

Central Florida events First Friday Fotos Local Love

For $20, you get a 5-10 minute photoshoot in front of this beautiful map. One of the images will be lightly retouched and made available via Facebook; all the others will be available for download later. Food and drink vendors will be present, but have yet to be announced.

The proceeds from the Local Love event will go to benefit the work of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness (CFCH). Wondering who they are? You might recognize this video as their work:

Possibly better known as the organization behind the Rethink Homelessness campaign on Facebook, the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness is ultimately responsible for conducting the research and coordinating the implementation of community-wide solutions to the homelessness crisis. Their leadership has helped to put Orlando on the path to making homelessness brief, one-time, and rare.

In addition to donating the event’s proceeds to the Commission, attendees of the Local Love event will be encouraged to write on signs inspired by the Cardboard Stories video embedded above. You can either share something you love about Orlando, or hold up a pre-made sign in support of Orlando’s journey to ending homelessness.

Central Florida Local Love Mayor Dyer Kay Rawlins Phil Rawlins Bess Auer

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orlando City Soccer leaders Phil and Kay Rawlins, FLBlogCon founder Bess Auer, and other community members are already standing up to show their support. (We did too!)

What makes you want to show your local love for Orlando and Central Florida? RSVP on Facebook today!

Orlando – Please Don’t Redefine Us

Lately I’ve been reading numerous articles by extremely passionate Orlando-area citizens, who declare their love for the City Beautiful. They write about the thriving literary community, the bursting tech industry, the outstanding colleges and universities, and even the highly touted food and art scene.

And in nearly every article, each well-meaning writer relates angry disgust that media outlets from across the nation are just now discovering that Orlando isn’t a “cultural wasteland” after all. And as a by-product of that anger, every writer then wants to redefine who we are or wants to describe Orlando as having a rebirth. (As if all our greatness had disappeared until just recently!)

Perhaps this common theme of needing to redefine what Orlando is comes from the fact that most of these writers start their articles by explaining they moved to Central Florida “several years ago” for school or work or to retire. And like many, they didn’t expect to fall in love with the City and were thrilled to see how much it had to offer in the aforementioned literary, arts, food, tech et al. (How ironic they now take exception to the fact that outsiders don’t also know this.) These writers say, “You don’t know the real Orlando. We’re not just Disney.”

While I certainly appreciate these eager citizens wanting to tout how wonderful our area is, I find myself bristling at the term “redefining” because feels like we weren’t good enough before these people arrived in Central Florida and decided to give us a new definition.

You see, I was born and raised here, just like my mother was, and just like my grandmother was back in the 1800s. There are a number of us here, actually, native Central Floridians that have always known what Orlando is and don’t need new arrivals to suddenly tell us what we are and what we have.

We’ve Always Had a Literary Scene

Yes, even before Jack Kerouac.

Back in 1926 Rollins College began the Animated Magazine. Since paper and printing supplies were still in somewhat short supply due to the fairly recent first World War, then-college President Hamilton Holt decided that the articles should be read aloud on stage instead of printed. This turned into an annual event that used to draw thousands. In the crowd sat dignitaries from around the world, including Secretaries of State and even former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.

Animated Magazine - Rollins College

Animated Magazine – Rollins College

The Animated Magazine lives on today, under the tutelage of editors like U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins, and has helped bring about the annual Winter with the Writers, which is where I got to see Maya Angelou when she visited back in 2007.

With the Orlando Public Library opening in 1923, and the Zora Neale Hurston Festival operating for nearly 30 years now, this is just further evidence the literary scene is not having a rebirth but has quietly been here all along.

We’ve Always Had an Art Scene

One of the nation’s oldest, largest, and most prestigious art festivals happens right here at the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. The Orlando Museum of Art was established in 1924, the Maitland Art Center in 1937, and we’ve had the Crealde School of Art and Jamali for over 40 years now. Add in the Polasek Museum and the world’s largest collection of Tiffany glass at the Morse Museum, and we’re doing just fine.

Albin Polasek

Albin Polasek

Famed actor Buddy Epsen’s father started the Central Florida Ballet Company in 1945. “I dared not start a ballet company here in Orlando because the idea seemed hopeless,” Epsen was quoted as saying. “Now there are several companies throughout Florida.” Epsen’s company was later taken over by Edith Royal, whose “Ballet Royal” supplied generations of dancers to the great stages of the world.

And even earlier, Ruth Pounds started a dance school in 1935, which taught both my mother and then me how to dance, sit, curtsy, and all the etiquette required of a cultured young adult.

The area has always had beautiful architecture thanks to those like Gamble Rogers, II, who helped create the beauty that attracted leading artists, business tycoons, and top politicians to settle in the area.

When President Dwight Eisenhower dedicated the opening of the basement radio station at Rollins College (still one of the longest-running basement radios in the country), we made indie radio hip long before we made boy bands hip in the 1990s.

We’ve Always Had a Tech Scene

Lockheed Martin opened its doors in 1956. (My mother worked there afternoons in high school!) Shortly thereafter, the Kennedy Space Center was built nearby to oversee the Apollo missions. We watched those missions, and later those of the Space Shuttle, right from our backyards – and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t get much cooler than that!

Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space Center

Thankfully this tech industry also had a need for engineers; thus UCF was founded in 1963 and has grown into one of the largest universities in the nation. Add in the innovations of Walt Disney in the 70s, and then Full Sail University in the 80s, and yep, we’ve always had a tech scene.

We’ve Always Had a Food Scene

Food trucks did not make the food hip in this city.

We’ve always had great food, ranging from Dixie Crossroads and La Cantina to Le Cordon Bleu and Gary’s Duck Inn. From the 94th Aero Squadron, which served incredible food since World War I, to Ronnie’s Diner which opened in 1956, Orlando always had talked-about food. The fact that the establishments serving that food is changing, doesn’t mean there weren’t great restaurants before the new ones arrived.

Ronnie's Diner

Ronnie’s Diner

With T.G. Lee Dairy and the many orange groves, we’ve always been farm-to-table. And when you add in Publix (founded in 1930), we were doing just fine long before this so-called rebirth.

We’re Growing, Not Rebirthing

Yes, it is an exciting time to be in Orlando. We are growing in many different, wonderful ways. Newcomers are bringing great assets, and companies are setting up roots and investing here. With strong leadership we will continue to flourish.

And while I admire the zeal these newcomers use to tell the rest of the world how great Orlando is, please don’t act like this is a new development in Orlando’s history. Don’t call it a rebirth or try to redefine it.

We are who we are, and always have been.

We don’t want to be New York, San Francisco, or even Austin. We want to be who and what we already are. We’re orange groves and Disney. We’re tech and and old-fashioned books. We’re art and great food.

But, we’re not the best thing since sliced bread… we were cool long before that hit the world back in 1930!

This guest post was written by Bess Auer, fourth generation Floridian and the first editor of the Central Florida Top 5. You can connect with her on Twitter at @Bess_Auer.

Orlando City Soccer: Approved for All Ages

When I asked my nephew what he wanted for his birthday, an Orlando City Soccer Club match was at the top of the list.  So I did what any good uncle does…I took him.

Dom's First Match!

Dom’s First Match!

Once the 2015 season schedule was released I sent it over to my sister so Dom (my nephew) could pick the match he wanted to attend.  His birthday is in April, but I told him that he could select any match he wanted.  He picked the DC United match because he said he used to like them.  Now I am pretty sure Dom has never watched D.C. United play, however I am sure he likes the colors red and black.  A little background on my nephew here… He has a vivid imagination.  At breakfast he asked for a Cup of Joe, because he used to drink it back in high school… He’ll be seven at the end of the month.

April 3rd finally arrived and we were on our way to the Citrus Bowl for the match up against DC United. Once we arrived, we headed to lot 11 so I could show Dom around the Ruckus tailgate.  We met up with my fellow SC (Seminole County) Ruckus members in our little section of lot 11.  Dom went around like a seasoned veteran giving high fives and hugs to everyone he met.  Dom even meet The Ruckus’ @orlandounicorn himself, Danny Voss.

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Dom with @orlandounicorn Danny Voss

After we finished doing the rounds at the tailgate, we headed over to the Mane Street Fan Zone sponsored by Publix. This was my first trip to the Fan Zone, but it was pretty cool.  There are activities for kids, a band, and plenty of freebies for the taking.  One of the coolest giveaways was from Continental Tires. If you filled out a short survey, they would give you an Orlando City SC scarf.  I know there isn’t much need for a scarf here in Orlando, however the scarf is universally known as a “soccer thing“.  So hats off to the folks at Continental Tires for “getting it“.

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Free Scarf!

I asked Dom if he wanted to participate in the march in or get better seats in the supporter section, he opted for the latter.  We made our way into the stadium, and for me it was a little weird.  I couldn’t tell you the last time I entered the stadium without a hoard of smoke loving supporters, but this was Dom’s birthday so he was the boss. The match may not have ended the way we hoped, but I am pretty sure this kid didn’t care too much.

Win or lose, still fun!

Win or lose, still fun!

In my opinion, there isn’t a better value in The City Beautiful than an Orlando City match.  If you are looking for an exciting and affordable night out with the family, head on over to the Orlando Citrus Bowl for the next Orlando City SC match. Tickets are available now for the next home match against Toronto FC on April 26th on the Orlando City SC website,  http://www.orlandocitysc.com/tickets

Next Match: April 12 at 5:00 pm at Portland with The Timbers.  As with all away matches all City Pubs will be hosting watch parties complete with drink specials.  To find your nearest City Pub, please use the link below.

http://www.orlandocitysc.com/gameday/citypubs

Vamos Orlando!

 

 

 

Orlando City Soccer Club kicks off 2015 campaign with new jersey

By: @jenvargas

Game face… ON.

Orlando City Soccer Club is ready to take care of business, and they are doing it in style! We told you about the new stadium, whose groundbreaking was last month. Now? Our Lions have a brand new Home jersey!

In my humble, novice-soccer-supporter-but-devout-lover-of-purple opinion, the new jerseys are exquisite. Obvious standout is, well, the color. You (have always) had me at purple, Orlando City!! Oh, and in the soccer world, players don’t wear “uniforms,” they wear “kits.” We’re learning, Orlando City. We’re learning….

Photo Credit: Orlando City SC

Photo Credit: Orlando City SC

Orlando City-specific Kit advanced features:

  • This is Orlando” sublimated on the inside of the neck tape – laying claim to the City Beautiful
  • Orlando City” and a gold crown 3D heat transferred onto the neckline, highlighting City’s championship success prior to MLS entry
  • Placement of the Club’s previous logo on the inside of the jersey – underneath the Lions’ new MLS crest – keeping the team’s foundation and history close to the heart.

Technical kit advances:

  • Adidas adizero engineering – the lightest soccer kit in history, allowing players to remain fast, cool and comfortable on the pitch
  • Jacquard engineered banding on the front of the jersey, representing Orlando City’s transition to a new era;

Cool, right? More highlights from their press release:

ORLANDO – November 5, 2014 – Orlando City Soccer Club unveiled the team’s 2015 Major League Soccer (MLS) home jersey today during a press conference at Orlando Health’s downtown campus. The event also served as the launch for Orlando City’s new advertising campaign which will run throughout the winter until the Lions’ MLS debut. 

The inaugural Orlando City MLS home kit, both long sleeve and short sleeve, will be available for purchase starting in early December. However, pre-sale for both models is currently available to fans online at www.OrlandoCitySC.com

“We worked very closely with Adidas during the design process of our first-ever MLS home kit, as we want the jersey to have a simple and classic look that accurately represents our brand and prominently displays our long-time partners Orlando Health,” said Orlando City Founder and President Phil Rawlins. “We are very proud of the end result, and we can’t wait to see our team take the field next year.” 

“Four years ago, we entered into a partnership with Orlando City SC and we haven’t looked back. It has been a wonderful friendship between two organizations that stand for the advancement, well-being, growth, and passion for our community,” says Jamal Hakim, M.D., interim CEO for Orlando Health. “We share the excitement our community has shown for the team and are proud to be the jersey sponsor and official medical team for Orlando City SC.” 

City’s new home kit prominently showcases the color purple – the Lions’ primary color – coupled with three white Adidas stripes. 

Orlando Health – the official medical team and jersey sponsor of Orlando City – is highly visible with the healthcare leader’s logo centrally located on the front of the new home uniform. Orlando Health has been the Club’s jersey sponsor since the team’s arrival to the City Beautiful

In 2013, Orlando Health extended their partnership with Orlando City, becoming the first jersey partner in MLS history to commit to an expansion club prior to admittance into the league. 

Orlando City Kicks off 2015 Campaign 

During the ceremony, the Lions’ also unveiled the first of dozens of new ads and billboards that will canvas the City Beautiful over the next five months leading up to the team’s highly anticipated MLS debut. A 16′ x 80′ banner was installed on the UF Health Cancer Center at Orlando Health facing Orange Avenue. This banner highlights the partnership between Orlando City and Orlando Health, with the headline, “Part of Something Major,” and four of the Club’s players: Kaká, Kevin Molino, Tyler Turner and Tommy Redding. 

The marketing campaign will span outdoor, print, radio and digital – prominently featuring Orlando City players Kaká, Darwin Cerén, Molino, Rafael Ramos, Estrela, Redding, Turner, Harrison Heath and Luke Boden. 

For more information on Orlando City SC or to purchase 2015 MLS Season Tickets, visit www.OrlandoCitySC.com or call 855-ORL-CITY.  Also, follow the latest Orlando City news and updates via FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

 

About Orlando City Soccer Club:

Recently ranked 14th among all professional teams in North America, Orlando City Soccer Club (OCSC) is Major League Soccer’s newest expansion club set to debut in 2015. The Lions’ first team set the U.S. record for best start of any professional soccer club in its first USL PRO league 100 matches (66-12-22). Orlando City has won three USL PRO regular season titles and two postseason championships. Outside of the first squad, OCSC also has a youth club, Orlando City Youth Soccer (OCYS) and a U-23 team that participates in the PDL. For more information on the pro and youth clubs, visit www.OrlandoCitySC.com and www.OrlandoCityYouth.org.