We’ll never forget the gameday experience at Camping World Stadium. The March to the Match. The roar of the Supporter Section, the explosion of confetti as Orlando City found the back of the net. The sight of 60,000 smiling faces, ready to see their team light up the pitch at the start of a new year.
This Sunday marks Orlando City’s last match of the season, and thus, their final match in Camping World Stadium. Sometimes it’s hard not to lose yourself in the excitement of a brand new soccer-specific stadium-- but this weekend, take a moment and pause. Appreciate what we’ve had at Camping World Stadium. Because after Sunday’s match, that part of our story will end.
I’ll never forget my first match at Camping World Stadium. It was during Orlando City’s inaugural MLS season, late in the year. Orlando City was facing the Chicago Fire. But not surprisingly, Orlando’s weather didn’t hold back for 90 minutes of soccer-- a thunderstorm came barreling in that delayed the game for hours.
My friends and I stayed. The supporters stayed. Some people (understandably) went home, but when the match resumed around 11:00pm, we were still there and the Supporter Section was still roaring, still pounding away at the drums. With the stands relatively empty, my friends and I ran up and down the rows, following the players in our dripping wet clothes.
Tickets: Orlando City vs. D.C. United
The match ended in a 1-1 draw, but to be honest, the results didn’t matter. It was one of the best nights of my life.
Many of us have memories like this-- whether it was the two stoppage time goals that earned Orlando City the draw in this season’s home opener, or Kaká’s free kick at the end of the team’s inaugural match that gave them the draw, or something else that was special to you. Two USL championships, two home openers with 60,000+ screaming fans-- not to mention the countless stunning goals and breathtaking saves. This weekend, take a moment to appreciate those memories. Take a moment to reflect and say goodbye-- and be grateful that you were here to see it.
Next season, much will be the same. We’ll still have a March to the Match. The Supporter Section will still be roaring the entire match. Orlando City players, staff, and fans will have a new place to call home. We’re all excited-- how could we not be? But as we move forward, we must also take a moment and reflect. Say goodbye to the old home as we look ahead towards the new.