Orlando City has released details of the club’s Kickoff Week festivities leading up to opening day of the 2017 MLS season. Along with returning favorites such as the Purple Pride 5K and the always popular Pub Crawl, the club has added several events tied to the new downtown soccer stadium, giving fans a chance to experience the new venue prior to opening day. Individual game tickets to Orlando City matches will go on sale Feb. 13 for Lion Nation members only and Feb. 21 to the general public.
Three separate activities will allow Orlando City fans to visit the new stadium in the days leading up to the club’s 2017 home opener on March 5 against New York City FC. It all begins with a special ribbon cutting ceremony at the stadium on Friday, Feb. 24 at 10 a.m. The Purple Pride 5K will take place the following morning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25. Registration, starting at $32, includes a t-shirt, finisher’s medal, and a ticket to an Orlando City match.
As the Purple Pride 5K gets underway, a special House Party at the new stadium begins, running from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fans can tour the stadium including the locker room, check out the new pitch and views from various seating locations, taste the food, and (of course) buy stuff in the team shop. Player autographs, photo ops, tailgate games, and more will be held throughout the event.
On Thursday, March 2, the club will host a special “Kids vs. Pros” match at the new stadium. There will be 100 youth players – 25 from the Orlando City Youth Soccer teams, 25 from the Orlando City Foundation’s Soccer for Success programs, and 50 chosen through Lion Nation – taking on members of Orlando City, Orlando Pride, and OCB in two 20-minute halves. Hopefully no kids will slide tackle Kaká three days before the opener.
Admission to the match is free for Orlando City season ticket members and $10 to the general public with all proceeds benefiting the Orlando City Foundation. The club’s season ticket member mailing billed this as the “first match at Orlando City Stadium.”
The Pub Crawl returns on Saturday, March 4 from 4 to 9 p.m., beginning at the new stadium and visiting each of the downtown City Pub locations. Those participating will receive three drinks and a ticket to an Orlando City game with their registration fee. Those who go should probably not overdo it, considering the tailgates will start early for the opening match on Sunday, March 5, which kicks off at 5 p.m.
Kickoff Week at a Glance:
Ribbon Cutting – Friday, Feb. 24, 10 a.m.
Purple Pride 5K – Saturday, Feb. 25, 9 a.m.
House Party – Saturday, Feb. 25, 9 am. – 1 p.m.
Kids vs. Pros – Thursday, March 2, 7 p.m.
Pub Crawl – Saturday, March 4, 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Opening Day vs. New York City FC – Sunday, March 5, 5 p.m.