“Family friendly” and “Orlando City Soccer” aren’t necessarily two terms you’d automatically put together. From their days in the minors, the team grew a reputation for an awesome atmosphere that’s great for adults. I’m here to tell you, though, that their image is changing fast and it’s one of the best sporting events I can think of for a family to attend together. Here’s why:
- The matches are (relatively) short. It’s not like going to a college football game where you could see seven overtimes (I’m looking at you, Razorbacks). If the refs call time and there’s a tie, it doesn’t matter. The match is over. This means that roughly 2 hours after the match starts, you’ll be headed to your car.
- There’s not a bad seat in the house. Since they’re not playing in Camping World Stadium anymore, it’s a much smaller venue. This is nice because there really isn’t a bad seat. You’ll get a great view of the action from anywhere.
- There’s space. The concourses are wide enough to walk around comfortably and the stadium is at an appropriate incline so you can easily see the field when people are standing. One thing I will mention as a negative in the stadium is that the seats are small and feel really cheap (no arm rests and a really flimsy plastic – I feel like they’ll need to be replaced from breaking by the end of the first season in this stadium).
- The atmosphere is amazing! There’s an entire end of the stadium that’s standing room only and it’s designated for the rowdy cheering section. They chant and wave flags the entire game. It’s a really contagious energy. There are a couple chants that are inappropriate for the kiddos, but as long as you’re not sitting too close to that end of the stadium the kids will probably have a hard time understanding the words (whew!). It’s also really cool that there’s a small section with 49 rainbow colored seats that are devoted to the victims of the Pulse attack in 2016.
- It’s affordable. The tickets start at $30 and, for a professional sporting event, that’s cheap. You also don’t have to buy a ticket for kids under 3! I’d suggest looking at the seating map when you’re buying your tickets and trying to find a place where you’ll either be on the end of a row or in a row with several empty seats so you can spread out if you’re bringing a lap child. You can also find official gear offsite at local stores for very reasonable prices (for our second game we went to Academy Sports and found some great gear for way less than we would have spent in the stadium). I definitely encourage you to dress the family up in gear because it helps you be just that much more excited about the game.
Perhaps another reason that you should go is that Orlando doesn’t really get behind our professional sports teams like we should. It’s a great thing for the local economy and it helps create an awesome energy downtown. So get out there and cheer on those Lions! I promise you’ll have a great time.
Recommended Ages: All! Graham had a blast and he was only a year old at his first game. If you’re taking a small child you should know that the purple smoke bombs that are set off when Orlando City scores look neat for a second, but they’re fairly awful for several minutes afterward. The smoke reaches all parts of the stadium and it’s pretty thick and foul smelling. It may scare really small kids until it dissipates. Honestly, I wish they would do away with it (not just as a mom, but as a spectator), but I doubt that will happen any time soon so being prepared for it is the next best thing.
Cost: $10 for parking in a garage downtown, tickets start at $30, and whatever stadium snacks you might want
Pro Tip: Even if you don’t “get” the rules of soccer (don’t get me started on offsides, why the refs are the only ones who get to know for sure how much time is left in the game, or the fact that a game can end in a tie), you should still go. It’s an awesome atmosphere and you’ll have a great time!
Have you ever been to an Orlando City match? What did you think of it? Share your experience and any tips you may have in the comments!