Florida Citrus Bowl

New soccer-specific stadium plans fire up Orlando City SC faithful

( – The following is a story I wrote for the June 15, 2015 edition of Lions Roar, the gameday magazine of Major League Soccer’s Orlando City Soccer Club, touching on the excitement surrounding new plans for a soccer-specific stadium – )

There has been plenty of excitement to go around locally throughout the first three months of the Major League Soccer season. But not even wins, losses or draws have sparked such passion from Orlando City SC supporters as that of the status of a new soccer stadium.

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No matter the forum, there remains a lingering sense of anticipation and excitement renewed each time an update is provided on the Orlando City Soccer Club’s new venue.

Club officials made quite the splash at a press conference on May 29 by proclaiming the development of a soccer-specific stadium in Orlando’s Parramore area ready for liftoff.

That the club will privately fund its new stadium not only assures fans the project will indeed get off the ground, but also serves as a reminder of just how close the dream is to becoming reality.

This much is certain, no matter the details from here on out, there will be no more worrying about the specifics for the Orlando City faithful.

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MLS fans flocking to Citrus Bowl to catch Orlando City Soccer Club

( The following is a story I wrote for the May 30, 2015 edition of Lions Roar, the gameday magazine of Major League Soccer’s Orlando City Soccer Club, exploring the continued support of a legion of loyal soccer fans throughout Central Florida )

You need only to cruise the pavement of Central Florida and tally the number of OCSC magnets adorning vehicles for proof. Or stroll the sidewalks of downtown Orlando wearing the club’s trademark purple and keep tabs on the responses you receive.

It’s as though lifelong relationships are being made by the thousands in 2015.

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Whether it’s the club’s work in the community or the inviting presence of its leaders around town, purple pride is spreading throughout the state at an uncontainable rate.

“I remember when we first started going to games and there was maybe a couple thousand people in the stands,” said Randy Badilo, a season ticket holder in section 110 who has supported the club since its inception. “Then at the start of this year we sell out the entire Citrus Bowl for the first game, and it’s been incredible ever since.”

Boosted by home crowds of 62,510 in the club’s MLS debut against New York City FC on March 8 and 40,122 against the defending champion LA Galaxy a little more than two months later, Orlando City is averaging 37,446 fans at home this season compared to an average of just over 20,000 for the league as a whole.

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Kaká free kick helps Orlando City Soccer Club draw New York City FC in inaugural MLS meeting

ORLANDO – Fans rose to their feet each time Kaká touched the ball during the Major League Soccer debuts for both the Orlando City Soccer Club and New York City FC.

But it took a little more than the length of the match for locals to get what they came to see at the Florida Citrus Bowl.

Kaká delivered a crucial goal, thanks to a lucky bounce, that evened the match after NYCFC took the lead in the 76th minute. Spain’s David Villa set up U.S. national team member Mix Diskerud for a score from the top of the box that put the visitors in front and seemingly ruined the day for the Lions.

But the Brazilian legend tied the match on a free kick in the 91st minute by deflecting a shot off of defender Jeb Brovsky, who provided an otherwise fiery presence throughout the match.

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Orlando City Soccer Club poised for grand return to Citrus Bowl

The Orlando City Soccer Club called the Florida Citrus Bowl home for three of their four seasons in USL PRO before spending last year at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports.

With an agreement reached late Wednesday between Major League Soccer and its players’ union, the Lions will make a grand return to the Citrus Bowl on Sunday for their first MLS match against New York City FC at 5 p.m.

The club expects 62,000 fans to be on hand for what is shaping up to be the biggest sporting event in the area in recent memory.

The last time OCSC played at the Citrus Bowl – on September 7, 2013 – Dom Dwyer scored four goals and the Lions claimed their second league title in three years with a 7-4 win over the Charlotte Eagles.

The announced crowd that night? A respectable 20,886.

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Carnahan Chronicles Radio: Will strike threaten start of MLS season?

The Orlando City Soccer Club is poised to open its inaugural Major League Soccer season on Sunday, March 8 against fellow expansion side New York City FC.

But there’s still plenty of uncertainty surrounding negotiations between the league and players’ union that could threaten a big opening weekend for MLS.

Valencia Voice and The Skyboat editor/contributor Danny Morales joined me on the show Saturday to talk about how a player strike might impact the hype locally surrounding OCSC and the start of the MLS season.

Orlando City announced Monday that they’ve sold 60,000 tickets for Sunday’s match at the Florida Citrus Bowl.

Orlando City Soccer Club coach hopes “common sense prevails” in MLS collective bargaining talks

SANFORD, Fla. – Orlando City Soccer Club’s Adrian Heath awoke this morning to the start of his 37th preseason as both a player and coach as his expansion Lions opened camp for their inaugural Major League Soccer campaign.

With plenty of work to get down during a crucial acclimation process for close to 30 players who are coming together for the first time, Heath is taking an optimistic approach toward the uncertainly that hangs over the start of the MLS season.

While the excitement surrounding the club has been rampant throughout Central Florida, there’s fear that a delay to the start of the 2015 season is a real possibility.

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Carnahan Coverage: Linebacker Withney Simon still awaiting first scholarship offer

ORLANDO, Fla. – He’s done all that’s been asked of him yet Orlando Jones High School’s Withney Simon, the No. 2-rated linebacker in Central Florida, is unsure of his football future.

I caught up with Simon following the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl earlier this month at the Florida Citrus Bowl and asked him about his college options. He said that although he’s got the grades to qualify for football at the next level, he’s a bit surprised at how little interest he’s garnered from college programs.

( – Click here to read J.C.’s feature on Withney Simon for Orlando Sentinel – )

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Carnahan Coverage: Central Florida All-Star Game & Orange County Senior Bowl video highlights

Florida’s high school football season came to an end this past weekend. While the remaining handful of teams were prepping for championship matchups at the Florida Citrus Bowl, plenty of other kids were playing in their final prep game as part of local all-star teams.

I shot video of both the Central Florida All-Star Game and Orange County Senior Bowl last week for the Orlando Sentinel. View the results at the links below.

The West broke a five-year losing streak in the 16th Central Florida All-Star Game at Lake Brantley High School on Thursday, winning 28-17.  (Orlando) East River High School’s Tanner Hearn and (Orlando) Boone High School’s Logan Smith each threw for two touchdowns. Smith’s high school teammate Adam Anderson caught two TDs in the first half and was named West Player of the Game.

( – Click here to see J.C.’s highlights of Central Florida All-Star Game – )

In the 21st edition of the Orange County Senior Bowl on Wednesday at West Orange High School in Winter Garden, Gunner Ballant threw for two scores on his home field and (Apopka) Wekiva High School’s Jarvis Scott scored twice to help the West beat the East 36-20.

( – Click here to see J.C.’s highlights of Orange County Senior Game – )

Carnahan Coverage: Orlando City Soccer Club embraces past with new Major League Soccer look

The Orlando City Soccer Club unveiled a new kit for the 2015 Major League Soccer season Wednesday. The club left no stone unturned when designing the new look, which honors its four minor league seasons with several different features. Check out the details in the photo below and marvel at its uniqueness, in all its purple glory.

( – Click here to read J.C.’s story for Major League Soccer about new look and season tickets – )

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Carnahan Coverage: Orlando City Soccer Club breaks ground at site of new soccer stadium

The Orlando City Soccer Club and its supporters continue to ride the momentum of minor league championships toward Major League Soccer, right into the heart of one of the poorest neighborhoods in town.

On Thursday thousands of fans gathered in downtown Orlando and marched down Church Street to the site of the new soccer-specific stadium in Parramore for a ceremonial groundbreaking. The club pulled out every bell and whistle to ensure the occasion went off in a larger-than-life manner, and it worked with what appeared to be ease.

Orlando City is slated to open its new stadium in 2016. They’ll open their first season in MLS at the Florida Citrus Bowl in March 2015.

( – Click here to read J.C.’s story on the groundbreaking for Major League Soccer – )

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Carnahan Coverage: North Carolina A&T Dominates in Orlando’s MEAC/SWAC Challenge

James Spady coached under Rod Broadway at Grambling State from 2007-09. On Sunday they were on opposite sidelines as Spady opened the season for the first time as a head coach against his mentor in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge in Orlando.

But Spady soon found out that he’s not at Grambling anymore.

Broadway and the MEAC’s North Carolina A&T Aggies proved to be much more equipped for the challenge as they throttled Spady’s Alabama A&M Bulldogs 47-13 in the 10th edition of the game at Bright House Networks Stadium.

Kwashaun Quick and Tarik Cohen led A&T by combining for four touchdowns in the first half. The Aggies defense recorded three sacks and recovered two fumbles in the win.

( – Click here to read J.C.’s recap for Orlando Sentinel of North Carolina A&T’s win – )

( – Click here to read J.C.’s advance for Orlando Sentinel about Spady and Broadway – )

Carnahan Coverage: Orlando City Hosts Tampa Bay & Fans Prep For 2015

The soccer coverage has been keeping me busy as of late.

This week I made it out to Seminole County to check in with the Orlando City Soccer Club as they prepared to host the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the first leg of the I-4 Derby, which they won 3-0.

– (Click here to read my Orlando City-Tampa preview for the Orlando Sentinel) –

I also took a look at how Orlando City fans are preparing for the 2015 MLS season now that the team announced it would have to wait a little longer than expected to move into their new soccer-specific stadium in downtown Orlando.

– (Click here to read my feature on Orlando City fans for Major League Soccer) –

Carnahan Coverage: Orlando City Soccer Club Wins Home Opener

If you keep up with professional soccer here in the states it’s likely that you already know about the expansion plans of Major League Soccer.

In 2015 the league will add two franchises – a brand new team in New York and USL Pro side Orlando City – to its roster of franchises.

But first, the defending champion Lions must finish out one more season in the second division. They hosted their home opener on Saturday, finishing in a 1-1 draw with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

– (Click here to read my recap for the Orlando Sentinel) –

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