XL Soccer World expansion shines positive light in uncertain times!

Filed under: Florida News,Hidden Orlando,Orlando News,Sport |

2020 has been an horrendous year in so many ways from the corona-virus issues, to political and social unrest around the world so how about a bit of good news?

It’s hard to imagine that after the world practically went into lock-down and economic uncertainly came about, that some businesses were still prepared to invest and expand their operation.

Amazingly, that’s exactly the story at XL Soccer World as they prepare to open their latest facility with a $10 million plus investment at Lake Nona, Orlando, Florida.

For those that don’t know XL Soccer, the company is a market leader in providing a superb soccer experience for all family members regardless of age. The company now has ten locations scattered on the east coast of the United States. Not bad for a company that opened its first location in Raleigh, North Carolina in 2007.

Since then, the company, through the leadership of owners Ciaran McArdle and Kris Lamb, has been slowly but surely been looking for the right expansion opportunities.

After proving the business model in Raleigh, North Carolina came Orlando in 2011, Saco –Maine in 2012, Midlothian – Virginia in 2013, Apex – North Carolina (2015) , Hatfield – Philadelphia (2016), Fairburn – Georgia (2017), Cherry Hill – New Jersey (2019), Mount Laurel – New Jersey (2019) and now Lake Nona, the second facility in Orlando. All facilities are owner operated and there are even plans in the works for an eleventh complex in Baymeadows – Jacksonville.

It’s all a long way for the two Brits who founded XL Soccer Tours in 2001 after spotting an opportunity in the market to take fans to sports events all over the world.

The back story is that both Ciaran, from Carlisle, and Kris, from Middlesbrough, found themselves as soccer coaches in the Boston, Massachusetts area and they had a simple desire to take their team to England to show them the birthplace of the world’s most popular game.

After searching for a company who could help do this, they couldn’t find anyone that had the knowledge they did and so they organized the first trip themselves. Before long, other teams were asking for their help organizing their own trips and so XL Soccer Tours was born.

Today, the XL brand has grown into a multi-million dollar company that simply excels at giving soccer and sports fans a fun experience.  From small beginnings big ideas grow!

XL Soccer World Lake Nona

The new Lake Nona branch, located behind the Valencia campus on Suttner Avenue,,  will see soccer fanatics enjoying a 50,000 square foot fully air conditioned building with two indoor boarded turf playing fields, two hard court futsal / multi-purpose playing areas, three birthday rooms and “XL Sideline” which is the soccer themed café / bar area.

What’s in it for Lake Nona and Orlando residents?

The answer is a lot!

If you love playing soccer, then you’re in a for a feast.

Each night there will be adult leagues and there are also youth development programs for ages two years and up. Pick up soccer is available on multiple nights for the casual player and for those not wanting to be a part of the action, there will be a wonderful viewing area, a large bar and of course, multiple television screens to keep up with all the latest action from around the soccer world. It promises to be quite the meet up space!

A huge part of the plans is to expand the current offering for youngsters as well as the XLENT soccer programs for children with special needs.  There is no reason why children with autism, downs syndrome and other sensory disorders can’t enjoy themselves on the soccer field and that is why the program was formed.

XL also runs a full range of academy and development programs where young hopefuls can develop their soccer skills on the ball as well as understand the important dynamic of being a part of a team.

Xtra Time is a fully supervised after school club that starts at the end of the school day until 6pm. Students are picked up directly from school via private bus and then enjoy one hour of sports activity followed by a one hour homework period that is supervised by professional staff.

XL also runs year-round camps that offer morning, afternoon or all day sessions from 9am to 4pm. The camps allow youngsters to develop their technical skills such as dribbling, passing, turning, shooting as well as playing games and scrimmages.

It’s a comprehensive package but there’s more as birthday’s parties play a big role at XL as the party rooms allow for groups from 10 to 60 youngsters to come together and enjoy time together away from the field.

Naturally, corporate events and team building functions can also be held at XL Soccer World branches and it’s really not hard to see why over three million visitors now come to enjoy the game of soccer in one format or another at all the sites in the east.

At times like these, it’s really great to see a successful business booming and the vision is to keep slowly expanding into the right markets when the opportunity presents itself.  After lacrosse, soccer is the second biggest growth sport in the USA and only basketball and American football is watched by more. It is no wonder then that the folks at XL Soccer World see exciting times ahead.

Giving Back

Expanding a business is challenging but it is also important to understand that some people in life have enormous challenges of their own. That is why XL is proud of it’s Kicking Kids’ Cancer non-profit foundation with the mission to fund innovative clinical research so that one day cancer will no longer be an issue for children in our community.

Currently cancer is the leading cause of death by a disease in children under 15 with the average age being just six years of age and XL is determined to play a role in defeating the disease once and for all.

So how to become involved?

Probably the best starting point is to check out the website for your own local area branch.  www. XLSportsWorld.com

After that, visit your local facility and take a look at which programs appeal to you the most.  Then go along, play, watch and enjoy!

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