By MIKE GRAMAJO
Not only is Orlando’s USL Pro franchise move to Louisville, Ky., becoming more and more likely, a potential partnership is also brewing for the near future.
Orlando City SC President Phil Rawlins told the club’s website that if the ownership group in Louisville does buy Orlando’s USL franchise, then they will become Orlando City’s USL Pro affiliate in 2015, the year the Lions will join MLS.
Currently, Orlando City are affiliated with Sporting Kansas City, but with one year remaining in their partnership, Orlando City will be free to establish a new USL Pro affiliate in 2015.
Rawlins also stated that the team agreed with MLS to sell their third-tier franchise, adding that he hopes Louisville becomes the investor. Another sign that suggests that Rawlins is pushing hard for a USL Pro franchise in Louisville is that he recently sold his stake in Premier League side Stoke City.
Sources confirmed to SBI that the reasoning behind the sale was Rawlins’ inability to make a full-time commitment to Stoke City while also focusing most of his time trying to land an MLS bid in Orlando.