Orlando City Soccer Puts MLS On Notice

Filed under: Orlando City Soccer,Orlando Sport |

We intend to win - Phil Rawlins

When Phil Rawlins speaks, people tend to listen these days.

Just four few short years ago, Rawlins moved to Orlando with some big ideas and some big promises. At that time quite a few people laughed.

Today, they laugh no more as commitment after commitment has been met and soccer is the topic everyone in Orlando is talking about.

First, Rawlins said that his organization would bring a team to Orlando that would win championships. Two championships in three years and a team that is currently unbeaten in its current USL PRO season, thanks to the efforts of Head Coach Adrian Heath and the players, means that that commitment has been categorically met. Check.

The next commitment was to build a Downtown Orlando soccer stadium. That project is underway as architectural drawings were released last month and ground breaking on the new project is expected to be well before the end of the current year. Check.

Perhaps Rawlins boldest promise was to bring Major League Soccer to Central Florida. No small task given the huge barriers that the league initially put before the club in order to gain a franchise. First was the commitment to prove a sound business case. Second, the soccer specific stadium. Third, to prove they could compete on the pitch… where it really matters. Fourth, to prove the club had a strong leadership and management team.

All of those were difficult challenges in and of themselves but Rawlins proved to be a shrewd operator as he slowly but surely built a team with experience and commitment to see the task through. In the end, they simply gave MLS no choice but to award them the 21st franchise last November. Check.

Rawlins wasn’t finished there though. Oh no. Just after the MLS announcement, another commitment was made. “Another special promise” to quote the man from Stoke-on-Trent, “a commitment to bring a Brazilian superstar to the club.”

On Tuesday, Rawlins made good on that commitment . “We’ve done better than that, we’ve brought a world superstar to the club” he said. With that Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, otherwise known as Kaká, became an Orlando City Soccer player. Check.

Perhaps, some folks will still be skeptical about Rawlins latest claims. You know, the one about winning the MLS Championship. Perhaps they have a right to be. However, given the track record and the starting point, it would be a foolish man who would bet against him. The MLS is now on notice and so is Orlando.

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