Orlando City S.C. News Release -- www.orlandocitysoccer.com
Monday, October 25, 2010
ORLANDO, Fla. —Professional soccer is coming to Orlando in April. On Monday, Orlando Sports Holdings (OSH) announced that it had acquired the franchise rights to the United Soccer League’s Austin Aztex franchise and will move the team to Orlando.
The franchise will play under the name Orlando City Soccer Club and will compete in the new USL PRO beginning in April, 2011. OSH President, Phil Rawlins, will lead the franchise as its majority owner. The other major owners behind OSH include Brendan Flood, majority owner of Burnley F.C., and Dan Williams of Charlotte, N.C.
USL PRO is committed to being the strongest, most visible, and best operated professional soccer league in North America and the Caribbean below Major League Soccer. The league will feature a Board of Governors responsible for making all major decisions for the league including expansion, competition format and commercial strategy. Its regional format and national footprint will boast upwards of 18 teams in 2011 and Orlando will find several local rivalries. USL prides itself on providing major-league entertainment at affordable prices.
Rawlins, who was majority owner the Aztex, will retain Austin head coach Adrian Heath and the majority of the 24 players currently on the Aztex roster.
The Aztex were named the USL Rookie Franchise of the Year in 2009 and compiled a 15-7-8 record in the USSF Division-2 this past season. The Aztex finished second in the regular season standings and led the league with 55 goals scored. The team featured USL Rookie of the Year Max Griffin and had two players named to the league All-Star team.
Rawlins anticipates that the relationships he and Flood have in England will help make Orlando an international destination for soccer, bringing top teams from Europe, Central and South America to Central Florida for international exhibitions, pre-season training camps and other soccer competitions.
Recognized as one of the “20 Most Influential People in Sports in Central Texas” by the Austin American Statesman and “Sports Executive of the Year” by the Austin Chronicle, Rawlins and his family will relocate to Orlando in the near future.
“Our goal in the short term is to be a fully integrated soccer program and to compete for the USL PRO championship in our first season,” Rawlins said.
Rawlins pledges that the Orlando City Soccer Club will be active in the community.
“We intend to work with all levels of youth soccer in the area and be a vibrant part of this beautiful city,” he said. “Our players and staff will all participate in charitable and community activities throughout Central Florida.”
Under Rawlins’ leadership, the Aztex were selected for the coveted “Community Relations Award” by the Austin Chamber of Commerce in both 2009 and 2010.
The new team has special season tickets offers available through its website.