Report: New proposed Louisville team could become USL Pro affiliate for MLS Orlando City

Phi Rawlins Don Garber Orlando City (Orlando City)

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.

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12 Responses to Report: New proposed Louisville team could become USL Pro affiliate for MLS Orlando City

  1. Rex says:

    What exactly is there to sell? The name is going to MLS, the best of the players are going to MLS, what is left?

  2. Nicky says:

    The USL pro franchise, worth ~$500k.

    • Rory Miller says:

      I had just assumed that the two would still be associated and do the affiliation thing. Makes perfect sense.

      I hope Louisville doesn’t have to call themselves the Lions though, I would prefer something more native to the city.

  3. Gerald says:

    I don’t see why Rawlings needed to sell the USL Pro franchise

  4. Ace says:

    Louisville is a kick ass college town. Definitely deserve a football club. Hope they get it. (Also home of the world famous Lebowski Fest! Achievers represent!)

  5. Fish says:

    Join the supporters group working to make this all happen in Louisville. http://www.louisvillecoopers.com

  6. dan says:

    affiliate clubs are dumb, LA Galaxy are paving the way to what clubs should be doing yet again with LA Galaxy II.

    as for USL and NASL, etc, we need to grow these leagues now and make them strong, MLS is big enough

    • drew11 says:

      OCSC has a full plate now. They really are not in a position to develop a stadium, run an USL club and MLS expansion club. This is also a test run for MLS in Louisville I would think. That mid and upper south area is primed for MLS expansion in the future.

      • Pele says:

        Yes, it could give MLS an idea of what kind of support exists in the region, not only in Louisville but also in a nearby city like St Louis. I suppose Orlando –> Miami would be a reasonable comparison: Support is strong in Orlando, so Miami gets the green light as well.

  7. Alistair says:

    I smell a nice Midwestern Rivalry between Tulsa, OKC, St.Louis, Louisville, Dayton and Nashville.

  8. This would be a beneficial arrangement for both Orlando City and Louisville. The city of Louisville always seems to have great fan support for their teams. Hope this works out!