The forming of Orlando Pride didn’t happen by chance. Before the National Women’s Soccer League decided that the Orlando market was a great fit for the growing league, they were able to look at what was pre-existing in Central Florida to help determine if it was the proper market for Women’s soccer.
“Bringing in a team after OCSC was pretty much straight forward because we have already proven the soccer market here in Orlando,” stated Lions President, Phil Rawlins in a recent episode of Orlando City SoccerCast.
Having an existing soccer market in Orlando was certainly a contributing factor to the forming of Orlando Pride, however from an internal standpoint, having Orlando City Soccer Club brought an infrastructure which would help expedite the process of bringing another soccer team to the City of Orlando.
“It was so much easier. Having an MLS team acted as an ice breaker for us…Things are so much easier for us now,” continued Rawlins. “When you have all those things working for you, you go to the league [NWSL] and they say, ‘Of course we want Orlando as a marketplace because it is a proven soccer market.’ ”
When Orlando City came to Central Florida as an MLS Squad last year, the team was expected to draw a fantastic fan base, and ample attendance numbers. However, the team continued to defy expectations by bringing in record attendance numbers and a fan base stronger than most throughout the entire country in any sport.
With a quickly proven track record, bringing in an NWSL simply made sense for the Orlando City organization.
Now that the Orlando Pride are in full force and currently building a roster and growing a fan base of their own. It is obvious that NWSL and Orlando City Soccer Club made the right decision in bringing professional women’s soccer to Orlando.