So as everyone knows, I love to do new things! A few nights ago Shelley and I (and then two nights later Shalon and I) went to our first Orlando City Soccer Club match and I have to say they have made fans for LIFE!
The Orlando City Soccer Club is an American professional soccer team based in Orlando, Florida, United States. Founded in 2010, the team plays in the American Division of the USL Professional Division, the third tier of the American Soccer Pyramid. Their Colors are Purple, Red and Gold and White and their mascot is the Lion.
The ownership group, originally identified as Orlando Pro Soccer, was announced on March 4, 2010, and was initially affiliated with the Orlando Titans National Lacrosse League team. However, the Titans ran into financial difficulties. Steve Donner left the Titans club after the 2010 NLL season to focus on the soccer effort. In October 2010, the Orlando Pro Soccer USL rights were purchased by Phil Rawlins, a board member of EnglishPremier League club Stoke City, who moved the Austin Aztex organization to Orlando. The team was announced on October 25, 2010. Rawlins stated at the press conference that he intends to bring a Major League Soccer franchise to Orlando “within 3–5 years”, and intends to bring international matches to the city as well. Rawlins is President and majority owner of the club’s ownership group, Orlando Sports Holdings. Also in the group is Brendan Flood, a board member of English Championship club Burnley. Rawlins announced that the Aztex organization would remain intact in Orlando, with Adrian Heath being retained as manager and most of the team’s players returning as well.
Since then The Orlando City Soccer Club has made their reign very well known in Orlando. In 2011 they were the PSL Pro Champions and they also just clinched that title for 2012 this past Friday in a 4-0 win over the Charleston Battery!
I wish I could explain the energy that these games put off! It is so much fun!!! I have been to big sporting events (Everyone knows I love my Red Sox and Patriots), and for a home town game these fans know how to have FUN!!!! They have Drums, horns, confetti, and chants and it is infectious. Even if you don’t know the words to the chants, You have to jump and clap along!
There are a few different groups that frequent these games.
The Ruckus is the oldest of these groups, whose basis was formed in 2009 as the “Orlando Soccer Supporters Club” without an affiliation to any particular soccer team. They occupy section 119.
The “Iron Lion Firm“, which separated from The Ruckus prior to the start of City’s first season. They run section 121.
The “Orlando Natural Riddim Section” is a Trinidadian drum band that occupies section 109 and plays drums and other percussion instruments throughout home matches.
“Los Guerrilloz”, a Spanish-language barra brava, has formed recently and typically occupies section 128.
For both of the games we hung out in section 121 with the Iron Lion Firm, the ILF!
I got the opportunity to speak to one of the front members of the ILF names Ahmed and he filled me in on what the ILF is about!
Ahmed shared with me that The Iron Lion Firm was formed on March 5th, 2011 by 4 like minded individuals that love the game and culture of soccer and want the sport to flourish here in the states especially Orlando. The ILF are a independent supporters club of Orlando City Soccer Club, with that being said, they fund themselves from within the group for essential items that are crucial to their game day experience; Tailgate supplies, food, streamers, flags, smoke bombs, banners, scarfs and membership T-shirts.
The Iron Lion Firm are a group of culturally diverse individuals and we are a young demographic. Their age group ranges from 17-mid 30’s, but a bulk of the group are in their 20’s. They have about 120 members paying dues to date and that grows throughout the season. Being a paid member get’s you a Purple Iron Lion Firm T-shirt with the club crest on the front, discounts on other merchandise that they create throughout the year such as scarfs, and a discount at their home pub (R.S. Busby’s Orlando) where they host their meetings at. It’s pretty crazy how a group of 4 guys who love the game and want Major League Soccer here in the city beautiful can spread like wildfire just after the first season of being together.