In a move that many have many expected, Orlando City SC is close to being added to the National Women's Soccer League, according to a report by the Guardian.
Equalizer Soccer's Dan Lauletta also tweeted last night that Orlando is in the mix for NWSL expansion.
I'm told the next #NWSL board meeting will include some sort of vote on expansion. Orlando said to be in the mix. Nothing definitive though— Dan Lauletta (@TheDanLauletta) September 10, 2015
All announcements for expansion teams likely won't be finalized until the next board meeting on Oct. 1, so the team has not confirmed that a deal is close to being done, but an announcement could be looming in the next month. Orlando City Founder and President Phil Rawlins has made it known that a women's club is a priority for the team.
Orlando City is finishing its debut season in MLS, and a women's club would further cement Rawlins and owner Flavio Augusto da Silva's quest to make Orlando the "soccer capital of the south."
An Orlando City spokesman issued the following statement to the Guardian regarding the possibility:
"Considering the massive support for top-caliber soccer in Central Florida, we continue to evaluate all opportunities to bring the highest levels of the sport to the market in the future. We hope to have more information to share in the coming weeks."
At Orlando City's match against Sporting KC Sunday night, Rawlins walked on the field with USWNT players Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux at halftime and showed them off for the supporters' section.
The gesture was probably nothing, as both women are married to players who were playing in the match, but it could have been a bit of foreshadowing (or recruiting) for the Orlando City women's team.
Phil Rawlins is down in the field doing something with Alex Morgen and Sydney Leroux. Showing off his future NWSL signings, I guess.— Gavin Ewbank (@GavinEwbank) September 14, 2015
Orlando City is also in the process of adding a USL club, however that team is not likely to play in Orlando. The women's team would share the same new downtown stadium as the men's club. If and when it happens, Orlando City would become the 10th team in the NWSL.
The city will get its first look at potential support for women's soccer when the Citrus Bowl hosts the United States-Brazil friendly next month as part of the USWNT's World Cup Victory Tour.