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Soccer fans celebrate new downtown stadium

The Mathesons were among the Orlando City Soccer Club fans who celebrated the team's new downtown stadium. Photo by Amy Green

Construction is underway on a new downtown soccer stadium in Orlando's Parramore neighborhood.

Hundreds – most dressed in purple – gathered Thursday for a groundbreaking that featured fireworks and festive music performed by local student marching bands.

Among the fans was Shannon Matheson of Orlando. She was there with her husband, mother and two children including her seven-month-old baby. All were dressed in purple.

Matheson says the family already has season tickets for the Orlando City Soccer Club's debut season next year as a Major League Soccer team.

"We're die-hard Magic fans. We're die-hard Orlando fans. So we couldn't be more excited to see another professional sports team in the area."

The $110-million, 20,000-seat stadium is scheduled to be ready in time for the 2016 season.

It's part of a downtown corridor of attractions that also will include a new performing arts center and renovated Citrus Bowl.

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs says the stadium raises Central Florida's profile.

"This changes who we are. This puts us on the international front. It is a serious part of our infrastructure that raises our quality of life and gives us an identity that is so rich and so international."

Amy Green covered the environment for WMFE until 2023. Her work included the 2020 podcast DRAINED.
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