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Orlando City Founding Owner Wayne Estopinal Killed in Plane Crash

His history with our club dates back to the Austin Aztex days.

Image Courtesy of Orlando City SC

News broke this afternoon that a founding owner of Orlando City SC, Wayne Estopinal, has died in a plane crash in Indiana.

Reports surfaced this afternoon that a small plane had crashed in southern Indiana, 16 miles north of Louisville, KY, in a heavily-wooded area at around 11:30 a.m. Central Time. The plane, a Cessna Citation C525 private jet, was carrying three people aboard, including the pilot, and was registered to Esto Air, LLC, a company managed by Estopinal.

Estopinal was a founding owner of Orlando City when Phil Rawlins brought the club into existence in Austin in 2010. When the club made its transition to MLS, the club sold its USL rights to Estopinal, who used them to found Louisville City FC. Orlando City owned a minority stake in the new club with former Lion and current head coach James O’Connor taking over as head coach.

“The Orlando City SC organization would like to express its deepest sympathies for Founding Owner Wayne Estopinal, his family, the fellow passengers and everyone else who was impacted by today’s tragic plane accident in Indiana,” Orlando City SC said through a statement. “Wayne was one of the first to believe in our Club and the dream to bring Major League Soccer to Orlando. While serving on our Board of Directors, he continued his legacy by building Louisville City FC into one of the most dominant franchises in the United Soccer League. He will be deeply missed, but his impact on the Orlando City organization and American soccer will be felt for years to come.”

Since its founding in 2015, Louisville City FC has won one regular season title, in 2017, and the last two USL Championships.

A graduate of Ball State University, Estopinal was the founder of The Estopinal Group, which later became TEG Architects, in 1989. He was a healthcare facility designer by trade, and also designed the retractable pitcher’s mound used in Louisville City’s Louisville Slugger Field. He also owned the PASL Louisville Lightning and was Owner and Managing Partner of the Mockingbird Valley Soccer Club.

In addition to sitting on Orlando City’s board of directors, he also served on the Ball State University Board of Trustees, BSU Alumni Council, BSU Foundation, the Louisville Sports Commission Board of Directors, Louisville Zoo Foundation Board of Directors, Lincoln Heritage Council Boy Scouts of America Board of Directors, Community Bankshares of Indiana Board of Directors, and Your Community Bank Board of Directors.