Orlando City Soccer Club Plays Their First Playoff Game of the Season August 31st!
OK Everyone! Grab your favorite Purple and Red Outfit and head to the Citrus Bowl on Friday, August 31st, night because those AMAZING boys over at Orlando City Soccer Club are playing their first play off game of the season! The Lions will be facing the Wilmington Hammerheads in the play off opener! Kick off is at 7:30pm
From The Desk of the Orlando City Soccer Club Lions:
Orlando City did not play this past weekend because the Lions earned a first-round-bye when they won the 2012 USL PRO Regular Season championship. The Hammerheads qualified for the postseason with a win on the final day of the regular season, and followed that up with a thrilling 3-2 victory over the Richmond Kickers on Saturday.
Historically, the Lions are 2-1-2 against Wilmington, and hold a 1-1-1 record against the Hammerheads in three meetings this season. Wilmington was the only USL PRO team to beat City all season, but that win came in Wilmington. In two Citrus Bowl clashes, Orlando defeated the Hammerheads 4-2 in the 2012 home opener on April 15, and drew 1-1 on July 25.
Ahead of Friday’s match, Orlando City is holding several events to raise awareness of the Lions’ push for a second-consecutive USL PRO championship. The highlight of the week is on Wednesday when City players and staff will be joined by Mayor Dyer in from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in front of City Hall for a Playoff Pep Rally.
Before Friday’s match, United World Soccer will be hosting a tailgate party at the Citrus Bowl. Free beer for those 21 and up as well as prizes and giveaways are sure to get the crowd fired up for Friday’s match. The tailgate party begins at 4:30 p.m.
I know for a fact that Shelley, Shalon and I will be there in all of our Purple and Red glory in support of the Orlando City Soccer Club, so if you plan on stopping by PLEASE Tweet one of us and let us know! We love cheering for The Lions! You will be able to find us hanging with the Iron Lion Firm in section 121, because they know how to cheer! Be sure to follow On The Go on Twitter while we live tweet from the event and send out some pictures! Good Luck Guys!
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 TitansNational 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.
The songs & chants are mostly created or donated by other members & translated into English. They have chants both in English & Spanish.
These games have to be some of the most fun things to do in Orlando. When you go you see flags from all over the world. You see fans of every ethnicity and every culture. You see kids getting into it, you see adults, you see grand parents, you see families having picnics in the stands, we even saw people on their first dates!
The games are held at the Citrus Bowl in downtown Orlando. They have vendors selling the typical fair fare all around the entrance. Corn dogs, French fries, nachos and of course Beer! 🙂 They have Orlando City Soccer Merchandise trucks selling T-shirts and Scarves and Jerseys. Stickers and Posters and Balls OH My! And the best part is that the pricing for the games is SUPER affordable!
The fact that the players have SO MUCH love for their fans is what has me hooked. They include local boys and girls as the ball kids for the games, the players walk on the field with kids from the local teams at the beginning of the games, and they are always out for pictures and autographs and to even kick the ball around with their fans after the games! The team wants their fans involved. They want people to scream and yell and get rowdy! We even heard from #12 Forward Matt Luzunaris that no matter where they play all over the world, The Orlando City team always has the best and loudest fans!!! Even at away matches. That says a lot! That makes me a proud Orlando Girl!