After a report from The Athletic surfaced on Tuesday regarding Major League Soccer’s plan to return to play in Orlando, Orlando City head coach Oscar Pareja endorsed the idea of Central Florida serving as a hub to the proposed summer tournament.
“We are just waiting on Major League Soccer to talk about that deeply and for us, it’s just waiting,” Pareja told reporters during a video conference call on Wednesday.
“But what I can say is this community is ready to do it and Orlando is the perfect city to hold an event like that,” he added. “Based on the experience, the infrastructure… everything, Orlando has everything to hold it, so if the league decides so, I think it will be a great decision to bring it here.”
On Monday, Steven Goff of the Washington Post reported that MLS has proposed placing all its 26 teams in Orlando, including the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, and playing competitively in a closed-door environment.
MLS announced it was suspending all games on March 12 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, players from Orlando City, Inter Miami, Atlanta United, and Sporting Kansas City participated in individual workouts after two months without accessing their respective team training grounds.
Pareja also touched on the subject of playing games without fans, saying it will be a challenge but credited how technology can help shape the live-game experience.
“Soccer without fans is like dancing without music to put it in an analogy,” said Pareja. “There will be moments where we’ll have to dance without music and try to do it the best way possible. Despite that being a difficult challenge to put on a show for the people, we have a responsibility to recognize how big the media has grown… the media has a huge influence that a game of soccer without fans can appear to have fans and not only that but it can be transmitted to millions of people.”
For more soccer news, follow the Orlando Soccer Journal on Twitter: @OSJSoccer