Report: Orlando City could move USL Pro team in 2015 to Louisville

RobValentinoOrlandoCitySC1 (OrlandoCity)


For the first time ever, Louisville could become the home of a USL Pro franchise.

Orlando City Soccer Club minority owner Wayne Estopinal is in talks to bring the club’s USL Pro franchise to his home in the Louisville area in 2015, according to a report in the Courier-Journal. With Orlando City moving to Major League Soccer that year, they’re likely to have their own USL Pro club to use for their younger players to earn experience, and Estopinal is determined to bring that team to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

“I’m sure there are other cities that would love to get the franchise, but I will say I’m the only other owner of the team — of Orlando City — that lives outside the Orlando area but in the U.S.,” Estopinal told the C-J. “If you’re going to relocate the franchise, the fact that I’m here … provides some comfort.”

Estopinal also told the C-J that at the USL’s annual meeting last month, a vote was passed to move Orlando City to Louisville in 2015, in case the club’s officials decide ultimately to move the franchise there.

Orlando City president Phil Rawlins and chairman John Bonner are set for a visit to Louisville to speak with potential investors and city officials.

While not having a professional outdoor soccer team in the city’s history, Louisville has played host to two indoor franchises, the Louisville Thunder (1984-1987) and the Louisville Lightning (2009-2012), as well as being the current host of PDL club River City Rovers.

Louisville also has a rich tradition in college soccer, with the University of Louisville perennially one of the best teams in the nation. In 2010, the Cardinals finished runners-up to Akron in the College Cup final. The first overall selection in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, Andrew Farrell, is a Louisville native and U of L product.


What do you think of this report? Would you like to see professional soccer in Louisville? Do you feel that Orlando City might keep their USL Pro franchise closer to home?

Share your thoughts below.

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25 Responses to Report: Orlando City could move USL Pro team in 2015 to Louisville

  1. WiscFan says:

    I wonder if the River City Rover owners will look at this as an opportunity to partner and go up or will want nothing to do with OCSC.

  2. USsoccer100 says:

    The University of Louisville is currently building a 5,500-6,000 person Soccer Specific Stadium as well since UL draws nearly 5,000 people to big games.

    • SoccerPrime says:

      Built by Wayne Estiponal, the man mentioned in the article.

      • Rory Miller says:

        I did some research on Louisville’s soccer options when I wrote an e-book about moving an MLS team to Louisville. That was back when the old Cardinal Stadium still was a possibility for an upgrade so things have changed dramatically than what I imagined, but clearly the fact that Louisville is a cheaper city to live in and to run a business in (compared to large-market MLS cities) works in its advantage.

        Hardest part for me was trying to think of some name that incorporated soccer and the horse racing industry… I could only come up with “Studs”

  3. brent says:


  4. Jon Fish says:

    I know that the Louisville Coopers want to get a team in town as soon as possible. Big meeting coming up in a few weeks where the Orlando City ownership will be in attendance to check us out. If anyone reading this is from Louisville please join up if you haven’t.

    link to

    • catfish says:

      Very cool Supporters Group name! Good luck attracting a team. Will be good rival for Dayton.

      • Marco says:

        I think it will be best if the pros handle this alone but toss the locals a bone of two. Haven’t been too impressed with the Cooper guys efforts but I hope you will still support the new team.

  5. Kojo says:

    Sounds like a perfect fit to play at the proposed Louisville SSS.

  6. brent says:

    link to

    Link has a video with stadium rendering

  7. Falls City Outlaw says:

    We’ve organized a local supporters group, too, so we’re pretty stoke: link to

  8. Richard says:

    Louisville is long overdue

  9. byob el paso tx says:

    El paso tx is soccer crazy n their is stadiums to put a team. Just come to el paso tx n we will come

    • Jeremy says:

      Nobody wants to come to el paso. Ever.

      • El Paso tx says:

        Why not? What’s the big deal. Affordable living,good food, number one hispanic university in America, safest city in America and the city is going through a memorable transformation.
        This is souther loving or the Beverly Hills or NYC but sure El Paso is unique and loving.

  10. Drewcore says:

    Milwaukee? Hear rumors of potential owners interested, but nothing of substance. Think its the perfect city for USL Pro with the new downtown field that was just completed. I can dream at least…

  11. Jacknut says:

    Years ago, Louisville was banded about as a possible MLS expansion candidate. Good to see soccer is still alive there.

  12. Rory Miller says:

    Shame it isn’t in NASL as a rivalry with Indy would be fantastic… but we can still hope for US Open Cup showdowns!

  13. El Paso tx says:

    At the end of the decade, will NASL be bigger than USL pro or will both be at the same level.
    NASL has no east or west conferences, they have split seasons and single table winner and their soccer bowl.
    What about uslpro, do they split seasons and same drama as NASL?
    I also once read uslpro wants between 40 and 60 teams with divisions and NASL around 20ish.