Orlando City’s soccer-specific stadium has yet another tenant for 2017. As first reported by Alicia DelGallo of the Orlando Sentinel, the club announced that City’s reserve side, Orlando City B, would join the first team and the Orlando Pride in moving to the new stadium downtown.
OCB played its home matches at Eastern Florida State College in Melbourne the team’s first year in the USL. Today’s announcement confirms longstanding rumors that the USL team would be leaving Brevard County for its second season.
“I’d like to thank Eastern Florida State College for their warm hospitality and outstanding supporters,” Head Coach Anthony Pulis said in an OCB press release. “We are all extremely excited to play in Orlando in such a beautiful stadium next season.”
Eastern Florida’s Titan Soccer Complex needed more seating to comply with the league’s minimum capacity requirements of 8,000 but the Church Street location will be well above that as it will seat 25,500. The move also helps the club align with the USL’s vision to have all of their teams in soccer-specific stadiums by 2020.
The team’s new home will be the first to permanently host teams from MLS, the NWSL, and the USL. The state-of-the-art stadium boasts a safe-standing supporters’ section, a canopy to keep the weather out (and hold the noise in), and a grass playing surface. Current OCB season ticket holders will be contacted by the club about transitioning to the new venue.
The biggest challenge of housing three teams in one stadium will be scheduling and groundskeeping. One of the advantages of having the USL reserve side is getting playing time for first-team members coming off injury or not getting regular minutes in MLS games. So, it’ll be interesting to see how the club handles scheduling home and away dates among the two men’s clubs.
Moving to the new stadium will give more people a chance to visit the club’s new facility, as most Orlando City games will likely sell out, with a season ticket base already at 18,000. The young Lions and the Pride provide additional dates for fans to get into the new building and check it out.