Boden Story 2

Luke Boden Has Found a Second Home in Orlando

Luke Boden was ready to star for his local club.  The Sheffield, England native had worked his way through the Sheffield Wednesday F.C. academy to make his first team debut at just 17 years of age.  But the unstableness of the club derailed Boden’s plans leading him across the Atlantic where he’s found a new home.

Boden joined the Sheffield Wednesday academy in 2000 at age 11.  Over the next few years, he advanced  until injuries at the senior team provided the midfielder a golden opportunity.  On August 19, 2006, Boden made his senior debut with the Owls as a 90th minute substitute in a Championship game at Plymouth Argyle.  

Unfortunately, things in Sheffield didn’t work out as planned for Bodz, as he’s more affectionately known.  Under manager Brian Laws, Boden went on loan three times in 2008-09.  And when Laws was replaced by Alan Irvine midway through the 2009-10 season, Boden’s standing didn’t improve.  While he stayed in Sheffield this time, Bodz didn’t feature in Irvin’s future plans for the Owls, leading to his departure from the club in January 2011 by “mutual consent.”

At 22 and with only 19 appearances for Wednesday, Boden was recruited to Orlando by fellow Englishmen Phil Rawlins and Adrian Heath, who were constructing the roster of Orlando City’s inaugural USL PRO season and looked to the midfielder to occupy the left back position in Heath’s aggressive, attacking style.

Signing with the club in February 2011, Bodz immediately became a regular in Heath’s squad making 87 appearances in the club’s four USL PRO seasons.  In October, he signed an MLS contract with the club keeping him in central Florida for the foreseeable future.  And he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Being here for four years and seeing the team and the club grow to what it is today has obviously been amazing,” the now 26-year-old defender says.  “When I came over here and you get to know everybody involved with the club, you get to know the players and the fans, you can’t help but have a love for Orlando and the club.”

And it’s not just the club that appeals to the young defender.  Over the past four years Boden’s made himself at home in the Orlando area.  “Orlando is somewhere I love being so I don’t want to go anywhere else.  I want to stay here and if for whatever reason I had to go somewhere else, I would always come and live back in Orlando.”

Boden’s professional soccer career has had many twists and turns over the past eight years.  At one time it looked as though he would have the envied opportunity to play regularly for his hometown club but unforeseen circumstances led him thousands of miles away.  His move to Orlando in 2011 was accompanied by an uncertain future but now Boden has found a second place to call home. 

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UPDATE: June 10, 2020 - Major League Soccer announced it will restart the 2020 season with all 26 MLS clubs competing in the MLS is Back Tournament at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida beginning July 8. Upon completion of the tournament, MLS plans to continue its regular season with a revised schedule in home markets. The revised schedule may see certain matches from the original 2020 MLS regular season schedule being cancelled or rescheduled. The final number of matches and the schedule for the remainder of the 2020 MLS regular season and related ticket policies will be announced in the coming weeks.