Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
Orlando will not be the only city in Florida hosting a number of MLS teams this upcoming preseason.
MLS announced on Thursday afternoon that it has selected Bradenton’s IMG Academy as its Eastern hub for the 2014 preseason. The Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew, New England Revolution, D.C. United, FC Dallas and Toronto FC are some of the teams expected to train there and most will partake in a series of friendlies beginning in late January and ending in late February.
The Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau allocated funds to be used by MLS and its teams for a national campaign promoting the preseason.
“We considered several locations to serve as an Eastern home for the preseason and, with consult from our clubs, we chose IMG Academy for the combination of its world-class facilities, ideal weather and engaged community,” said MLS executive vice president of competition and game operations Nelson Rodriguez.
Several teams trained and held friendlies at IMG Academy during the 2013 preseason, including the Fire, Crew and New York Red Bulls.
Orlando is another Florida city that will host games at its annual Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic. Some of the teams that have announced they will compete in that competition include 2013 MLS Cup champions Sporting Kansas City, the Montreal Impact, Orlando City SC, and Columbus. The Red Bulls are also expected to play in that tournament.
What do you think of MLS choosing IMG Academy as its Eastern hub for the 2014 preseason? Surprised Orlando was not chosen instead? Considering heading down to Florida for some sun and preseason action?
Share your thoughts below.