The Orlando City Soccer Club started in 2010 when Phil Rawlins brought the USL PRO team, the Austin Aztex, to Orlando. In 2013, due to its large following, strong ownership, and support from the city for the new soccer-only stadium, Orlando City became an official MLS team. They opened their brand-new stadium in 2017 to a sold-out crowd for the home opener of their 3rd season.
And don't forget about the Orlando Pride! The team joined the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) in 2016 with a record-breaking debut match. The Pride set a record with 23,403 people attending their inaugural match against the Houston Dash in April 2016, a record that still stands today. The team features some of the best women's soccer players in the world, including Alex Morgan, Sydney Leroux, Marta, Ashlyn Harris, Ali Krieger and many more. Check out the schedule here.
Whether you just moved to Orlando or have not yet made it to a game, here’s everything you need to know as a new Orlando City Soccer Club fan.
1. Wear purple!
Purple is really the ONLY wardrobe option you have, whether you splurge and purchase an Orlando City shirt or wear the only purple shirt you own. Nearly everyone in the stadium will have an Orlando City or purple shirt on, so you do not want to feel left out! If you do not have a purple shirt, black or white is the next best option.
2. Get your tickets…and download the Lion Nation App
Single game tickets start at $26 and can be purchased online. All tickets are paperless (way to go green, Orlando City!). This means you will have to download the Lion Nation app on your phone prior to game day. To access your tickets, please follow the step-by-step guide provided here.
3. Know where to sit
There really isn’t a bad seat in the house at the stadium. However, there are some advantages to sitting in one section over the other.
If you are looking for a calm, sit-down experience, then the regular seats are just for you. If you are looking for a crazy, loud, flag-waving experience with 3,800 fellow fans, then “The Wall” is where you need to be. “The Wall” is North America’s only all-standing section. Filled mainly with members of the two supporter groups (The Iron Lion Firm and The Ruckus) and located at the north end of the stadium (section 22-28), it is the loudest and most energetic section.
4. Park smart
If you are driving, know that there is no public parking available by the stadium. Your best bet is to purchase an $11 pre-event parking permit to ensure you get a spot. Once you have your permit, you may park in one of the following garages: 55 West Garage, Central Blvd. Garage, Washington St. Garage, or Jefferson St. Garage. All garages are within walking distance of popular bars and the Orlando City Stadium.
5. Arrive early
As a first-timer, plan to arrive at least two to three hours prior to the match. This will give you time to find parking, grab a drink, and head to your seat. The gates open 60 minutes prior to each match. The stadium is beautiful, so arrive early to give yourself enough time to look around.
6. Tailgate and celebrate before and after the match
Because there are no official parking lots for the stadium, tailgating is not done in the traditional sense. The location that is the most tailgate-like is The Yard Bar located directly across from the stadium on the corner of Central and Terry Ave. For the true match day experience, meet up with the supporter groups to march into the stadium. Both groups start marching to the stadium about two hours before the match starts. The Iron Lion Firm meets at Elixir and The Ruckus meets at Broken Cauldron Brewery & Taproom. For a full list of bars, check out our article, Everything You Need to Know About an Orlando City Soccer Date.
Orlando City also sets up a FanZone on Church Street about 3 hours before the game. Within the designated area, there is a live DJ, drinks, food trucks, activities for kids, and tons of information on all things Orlando City and Orlando Pride.
Before heading home, stop by a bar on Church Street or The Yard Bar again for a drink! This will allow time for the traffic to die down before you hop in your car.
7. Know what you can (and can't) bring in to the stadium
Orlando City Stadium has a clear bag policy. This means you must have a clear 12” x 12” x 6” clear tote, 1 gallon plastic storage bag, or a small purse no larger than 6.5” by 6.5” with or without the strap. Blankets are permitted if carried loosely over your shoulder. No seat cushions are allowed. For more information on what is NOT allowed, please read the arrival to the stadium page.
FYI: Everyone entering the stadium must go through a metal detector, and you may also be wanded with a handheld metal detector before entering the stadium.
8. Learn the chants in advance
If you choose to sit in the supporter section, or march into the stadium with the Iron Lion Firm or The Ruckus supporter groups, you will need to learn the chants. The chants can be found at each group's respective website: Iron Lion Firm Chants and The Ruckus Chants. The most popular chant is the La Grande Victoria found on The Ruckus page.
9. Locate the best food and drink options
The concession location with the most options is located on the first floor by Gate B. Other concession stands throughout the stadium offer more traditional concession stand foods like burgers, hot dogs, pretzels, and nachos.
10. Don't forget a souvenir
If you were to choose one souvenir for the night, it should be an Orlando City SC scarf. Worn at soccer games all over the world, the scarf originated in the United Kingdom in the early 1900s as a way to keep warm and still show off what team you were supporting. The next best thing to purchase would be a jersey.
For more tips and information, head to Orlando City's website to read the A-Z Gameday Guide.
All images courtesy of Orlando City Soccer Club unless otherwise noted