Legend has it that, during the Seminole Wars, a soldier was killed near what is now Lake Eola, and his name was carved in a tree.
Historians believe that the name, Orlando Reeves, actually belonged to the owner of a plantation, Spring Garden Ranch, north of what is now DeLand. He carved his name in that tree when exploring the area. Future settlers thought it was a grave site (no remains were found), and named the area “Orlando’s Grave”. In 1839, it was incorporated as the town of Orlando, supplanting the area’s other early name, “Jernigan”. It became the county seat of Orange County in 1856, and became a city in 1885.
There are four main milestones in our city’s history:
1) The establishment of Pine Castle Army Air Field in 1940, which became McCoy Air Force Base, and later Orlando International Airport. It was of such importance as a B-52 station in the Cold War that it was a major setting in the 1959 post-nuclear novel, Alas, Babylon.
2) The opening of Walt Disney World in 1971.
3) The establishment of the Orlando Magic, our first major-league sports franchise, in 1989.
4) The 1994 FIFA World Cup, when we averaged over 61,000 in attendance at each of six group stage matches hosted at the Florida Citrus Bowl. That bested the vast majority of any other World Cup final group stage in history.
We were passed over in the past for pro soccer development, but we have had our bright spots. Besides the World Cup and the 1996 Olympics, we have the Orlando Lions of the USISL Premier League, who went to two finals in the 1990s. We also have the Central Florida Kraze, who won the USL Premier Development League in 2004.
This site will not just be about the coordination of soccer support for Orlando City S.C. It will also report on local products, as well as the exploits of the venerated UCF Knights men’s and women’s soccer teams and the Central Florida Kraze. The UCF Knights women’s soccer program has produced several key figured in the history of the women’s national soccer team, including Michelle Akers and Kim Wyant, and appeared in the NCAA’s very first Division I women’s soccer national championship in 1982.
If we unite for this cause, we can be a force to be reckoned with in the community. A soccer supporters’ association is not just about soccer. It’s about promoting and supporting our community as well. That can be achieved through community service at home, and appearing en masse abroad.
For example, the Sons of Ben, a soccer supporters’ association in Philadelphia, appeared at various soccer events around the country by the hundreds in 2007 before they even had a team to support. They were key to getting Major League Soccer to expand to Philadelphia.
That’s where we come in.
Reeves’ Army started as Orlando Soccer Supporters Club in 2009. What began as a dozen or so locals at a bar in Hunter’s Creek is now expanding as part a regional movement, which has accelerated with the move of the USL’s Austin Aztex organization to Orlando to begin play in 2011.
Our mission is to unite with the vast and diverse region of Greater Orlando and Central Florida behind a common goal: the advancement of the new Orlando City Soccer Club. We are aligning with other groups in and around the Orlando to spread the word more readily and promote the team and the sport in general.
If we are committed to this cause, and put our best foot forward, we can be a similarly irresistible force.
We can cement the beautiful game in The City Beautiful.