Don Garber Visits New Orlando City Stadium For Seat Installation

Garber Seat Install

On Thursday, Orlando City hosted MLS Commissioner Don Garber at the new stadium in downtown Orlando to take part in the installation of the seats. Before speaking at the event, Garber took his first tour of the stadium and was impressed with what he saw.

“It’s just breathtaking, really fabulous,” Garber said. “You know, we dream about building a new foundation for the sport of soccer and for MLS, and when I come to cities and see these buildings going up it delivers on everything that we hope for. And they over-delivered on it here. Just took an hour long tour and it was absolutely fantastic, really special.”

The stadium is a sign of the progress that the league as a whole has made over the last 20 years. When MLS started, they never dreamed of having the popularity to build soccer-specific stadiums across the United States and Canada. Now, there are 16 stadiums across the league and more on the way. 

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“When the league was originally founded, we thought we would be the counter-seasonal programming in NFL stadiums. And why not put a soccer team in the spring and summer?” Garber said. “We realized there are soccer fans here that love their club, that understand the game, and players that need to have a home, and the fact that we’ve been able to build these buildings throughout the United States and Canada has just totally changed the perception of our sport and changed ultimately what we think our sport can be.”

Garber continued. “When we, who have been working in this league for many years, think about what it is that we’re trying to do to build a soccer nation in North America, it requires us to build this sport brick-by-brick and to build it from the bottom up to establish a solid foundation that generations of soccer fans can engage with and connect with.” 

Orlando City is now a part of that foundation. This stadium sets a tone for the rest of the league-- it shows the potential of a new generation of soccer-specific stadiums. As Garber said, “It sets the stage for a new beginning of what future soccer stadiums could look like.”