In the wake of the mass shooting that killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando early Sunday morning, Orlando City SC announced Tuesday that they are dedicating Saturday’s match against the San Jose Earthquakes at Camping World Stadium to #OrlandoUnited efforts.
Orlando players will wear special patches and t-shirts during pregame walkouts, and first responders and support service personnel will be recognized in a pregame ceremony and receive free tickets to the match. MLS Commissioner Don Garber will be in attendance and participate in the pregame activities.
Additionally, the club’s community arm, the Orlando City Foundation, has pledged to donate $100,000 to the City of Orlando’s OneOrlando Fund.
Saturday’s match will also be stopped mid-game to implement a 30-second moment of silence -- a first for MLS.
“Our city has endured dark moments in the past couple of days following two horrific acts of violence, and we are looking forward to using the influence of our sports team to bring some positivity into people’s lives,” Orlando City founder and president Phil Rawlins said in a statement released by the club, referring to Sunday’s attack and the killing on Friday of singer Christina Grimmie. “We are in the midst of tirelessly working to create a memorable gameday experience to honor the memories of our brothers and sisters on Saturday.”
Orlando City partnered with the NWSL’s Orlando Pride, NBA’s Orlando Magic, ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears and AFL’s Orlando Predators to sell #OrlandoUnited branded t-shirts with all net proceeds benefitting the OneOrlando Fund. More info on how to purchase the shirts can be found here.
Fans attending Saturday’s match will also be able to purchase commemorative gameday posters at Camping World Stadium for a suggested $5 donation. Fans will also be able to participate in auctions for game-worn jerseys from Saturday’s match. All of the proceeds from the poster sales and jersey auctions will benefit the OneOrlando Fund.
Orlando City also announced that a commemorative section of Saturday’s match will be blocked out and dedicated to each victim and that they will be the title sponsor for Orlando Pride Week this October.
The club will also honor the victims with a permanent commemorative memorial at their new stadium, which is scheduled to open in 2017. The memorial will be placed in Section 12 at the new stadium, where the club will install rainbow seats for each of the victims.
Prior to taking on San Jose on Saturday, Orlando will play a US Open Cup contest at the NASL’s Jacksonville Armada on Wednesday night (7 pm ET).
Saturday’s match between Orlando and San Jose will kick off at 7:30 pm ET and will be broadcast live on MLS LIVE, TV27 in Orlando and CSN-CA in San Jose.