An open practice at the Citrus Bowl and a preseason tailgate party highlight a series of fan events that Orlando City SC is hosting in preparation for its inaugural season in Major League Soccer. The club announced its upcoming fan festivities at Friday's Media Day, during which most of its 2015 roster - those not currently on international duty - took part in the first day of training.
The first of these fan-geared special events takes place on Saturday, Feb. 7, with an open practice at the Citrus Bowl. Fans can watch Head Coach Adrian Heath put his players through their paces with no admission charge. This will also be the first day fans can buy individual game tickets, according to a tweet by club Founder and President Phil Rawlins yesterday.
The free practice session starts at 5 p.m. and after training, season ticket members will be invited down to the field for an autograph session with the players. This part of the event is only open to season ticket members (and it's not too late to join the ranks!
On Tuesday, Feb. 17, the Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association will host Rawlins, Heath and Orlando City's players at a special preseason tailgate party starting at 11:30 a.m. at the Hilton Orlando Altamonte Springs. Tickets to this event are $60 and include a ticket to the home opener on March 8 against New York City FC at the Citrus Bowl. Tickets can be purchased at CFHLA.org/OCSC.
"With the long-anticipated launch of our MLS campaign rapidly approaching, we want all our fans to join us for preseason and the week-long events to commemorate this seminal moment for the City Beautiful and Orlando City," said Rawlins in a club press release. "We will literally paint the city purple and create a party atmosphere unlike any before to show the team the wonderful level of support from its fans here in Orlando and throughout the region."
The "week-long" events take place March 2-8 in the lead-up to City's inaugural MLS match. It kicks off March 2 with an Orlando City Foundation community initiative in Parramore (details to come), followed by a "Soccer and the City" fashion show and secondary kit reveal at Church Street Exchange on Tuesday, March 3. Tickets are $50 for general admission and $150 for VIP and include a ticket to the opener.
On March 4, the Lions will host a second Media Day event at the Citrus Bowl. It's not open to the public, but The Mane Land will be on hand to bring you all the news.
On Thursday, March 5, the Lions will host the Orlando City Purple Pride 5K, a run through Lake Eola Park/downtown Orlando. Admission is $30 and includes an opening day ticket. Lake Eola is also the site for "Soccer Under the Stars" on March 6, with a free screening of the Will Ferrell film "Kicking and Screaming." This event will feature food trucks, popcorn and family games.
If "Soccer Under the Stars" is a family event, Saturday, March 7 belongs to the adults (ages 21 and over) only. Orlando City fans will try to be part of a Guinness World Record in the "World's Largest Pub Crawl." The pub crawl will include favorite pregame haunts such as Wall Street Plaza, Elixir and Harry Buffalo, and the night will culminate with a free concert.
And, of course, the inaugural MLS season kicks off on Saturday, March 8 at 5 p.m.