Even while the league’s eye remains fixed on a second team in the New York City market as its 20th franchise, MLS Commissioner Don Garber will travel to Orlando on March 1 for exploratory meetings about potential future expansion into Florida.
Garber will meet with the owners of USL side Orlando City, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, other community leaders and local fans and media during his visit.
“While New York City remains the league’s focus for our 20th club, it’s important to continue evaluating future options as we continue to grow the league,” Garber said in a statement. “This growth has been built on a foundation of strategic expansion strategies, construction of new urban-based stadiums and a growing passionate soccer fan base across North America.
“As such, I’ve been impressed with Orlando City’s success on- and off-the-field and look forward to meeting with local supporters and speaking directly with key public officials about the future of professional soccer in Orlando.”
Garber will meet with Dyer to discuss several aspects of Orlando City’s future plans, including stadium solutions.
"Orlando is truly an international city with an increasingly diverse population that draws from soccer-obsessed countries in Europe, South and Central America,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said in a statement. “That growth, combined with our long history of support for professional and college sports, makes Orlando a natural fit as an MLS city."
The trip will also include a town hall meeting with Orlando City fans at Mojo Cajun Bar and Grill at 12:30 pm ET. Doors open at 11:30 am.
The meeting is open to the public.
“We are looking forward to Commissioner Garber’s visit,” Orlando City Soccer president Phil Rawlins said. “It is a pivotal day for our MLS expansion aspirations. I would encourage all our fans to come to the town hall meeting at Mojo’s and show the Commissioner our city’s passion for soccer.”
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