You would think the Orlando City front office staff would have plenty on their plates. After all, we're within two months of opening day for the club's inaugural MLS campaign. So why are so many of them spending time on non-Orlando City events?
Some of us here at The Mane Land have been known to dabble in soccer coverage outside of Orlando City SC. Our Managing Editor Michael Citro took time to cover the 2015 Florida Cup for TML last week. I was lucky enough to cover the Canada vs. Iceland international friendlies this weekend. One similarity between the two events? Both were put on with extensive help from Orlando City's support staff.
Our friend Jhamie Chin with the communications department sent out the press information for the Florida Cup. Senior Director of Operations Alex Wolf and others were on hand at UCF to make sure the international friendlies this weekend went off without a hitch. Wolf even brought along a dozen or so members of the youth academy to serve as ball boys.
Should we let Phil Rawlins know he needs to find more work for his employees?
Not quite. In fact, it's all part of an attitude the club has adopted from the very beginning. The operational focus isn't so much "Orlando City Soccer Club," as it is "Soccer in the City of Orlando."
Outside of soccer actives, there's also the Orlando City Foundation. They've committed hundreds of thousands of dollars and thousands of hours of manpower to causes and charities in Central Florida. They promote healthy eating and living, support community development, and in general use the influence of the club to improve the lives of those living in the city.
And while efforts to support our communities and bring other high-level soccer teams to Central Florida are certainly worthwhile in their own right, there's a huge secondary benefit for the soccer club: Orlando City SC is established as an institution in the city. They become part of the culture. They're not a team that plays in Orlando. They're Orlando's team.
Orlando has done so many things right in building the club over the last few years, and it's almost unbelievable how few (if any) major slip-ups there have been. If you're curious what those might look like, ask New York City FC. I'm not sure if I have a grand point to make here. Call it a general commentary on my observations over the last few months. At every turn, Orlando City is busy weaving itself into the fabric of this city.
With all the drafts, coaching staff additions, and roster moves we'll analyze here on TML, let's remember to acknowledge just how much the rest of the Orlando City and Orlando City Foundation employees do to make the Lions roar in Orlando.