Orlando City SC on Thursday announced its long-awaited training facility, though it has pivoted from its previous site at Lake Nona.
The complex will be at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee and will open in July of 2019. The park is the former spring training complex for the Houston Astros and it will be fully renovated to be permanent training facility of Orlando City and the Orlando Pride.
“The training complex is the heart of our soccer operations. It’s where our product on the field reports to work every day, where they eat and recover, and most importantly, where they build the team culture and attitude that carries over to the stadium on match days,” Orlando City SC CEO Alex Leitão said in a statement.
“We’ve worked hard to secure the best opportunity to support both player development and the recruitment of top talent over the past four seasons with the establishment of a top-notch soccer stadium in 2017 and now the addition of a new state-of-the-art training complex in 2019.”
The 20-acre facility will feature four full-size grass fields, a fitness, training and recovery center as well as a film-review room along with a players’ lounge and dining area, according to a statement from the club.
There will also be separate locker rooms for Orlando City and the Orlando Pride.
“There are only a few top-flight professional sports teams in the area, so for two of them — Orlando City and Orlando Pride — to build an exclusive training facility in Osceola County to use for years to come is very significant,” Chairman of the Osceola County Board of County Commissioners Fred Hawkins Jr. said in a statement. “The duration and strength of their commitment speaks to Orlando City SC’s belief in Osceola County and the relationship we’ve built since they began their professional soccer journey.”
Orlando City and Orlando Pride will continue training at Sylvan Lake Park through the beginning of the 2019 season.
The move to Osceola County will mark the end of Orlando City SC’s long-running training facility relationship with Seminole County. The club previously relocated its youth and development teams to Montverde Academy, leaving no potential tenants behind once the top teams move to the renovated Osceola County training facility.
Orlando City did not provide any details about what precipitated the end of its agreement to build a training facility in Lake Nona, with the Lions previously hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the partnership with Lake Nona but never beginning construction.
When asked about the delays, Orlando City officials said they had temporarily shifted their focus from developing the training facility to quickly finishing the construction of Orlando City Stadium.