Orlando City is gearing up for a friendly match against Arsenal

Central Florida soccer fans get a rare treat when Orlando City hosts three-time English Premier League champions Arsenal at Exploria Stadium on Wednesday.

The game will start at 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN+.

The friendly match is part of a series of FC events leading up to the Florida Cup, which will feature rivals Chelsea and Arsenal at Camping World Stadium on Saturday.

This is the first meeting between Orlando City and Arsenal.

“We watched them. We watched the last game they played [Sunday]Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said of the Lions, who just won a 1-1 draw with Atlanta United. “A team that has evolved. The team has evolved a lot in recent years, and it’s a nice stadium so it should be a tough game.

Arsenal have won a record 14 FA Cups, two League Cups, 16 FA Community Shields, a European Cup Winners’ Cup and 13 EFL and Premier League titles, including an unbeaten season in 2003-04.

“This match is a unique opportunity for us to welcome one of the most recognized teams in Europe to the Exploria Stadium,” said Luiz Muzzi, Orlando’s general manager and executive vice president of football operations, during announcement of the exhibition. “It’s a great way for our players to get some high-level gameplay and for our fans to see us take on a very exciting opponent in the Premier League. We can’t wait for it.

Orlando City (8-7-6, 30 points) will play its third game in eight days. He also got a draw at Colorado last Wednesday.

This week, however, is not just about football on the pitch. Name, image and likeness also play a role, and this could carry over to other Florida Citrus Sports events.

Thirty-eight female soccer players promoted the games through a partnership with FCS and Dreamfield, an Orlando-based company that helps college athletes capitalize on NIL.

Florida State’s Cristina Roque and Clara Robbins, UCF’s Darya Rajaee, FAU’s Gi Krstec and North Florida’s Lauren Weiss are among the participating players. Schools range from Florida and Miami to Rollins College, Jacksonville University, and Nova Southeastern University.

FCS CEO Steve Hogan supports college athletes who make money from their NIL, but takes a cautious approach to the business side of things.

“You want to be careful and make sure you understand it,” Hogan said. “How can you do it? How is it legal? There are so many different rules, so many different states. are you doing this the right way? How do you make sure there are no unintended consequences to the effort?”

Otherwise, Hogan hopes this experience will be enjoyable for everyone involved.

“Having this opportunity is exciting and fun and hopefully exciting and fun for the athletes we will be working with,” he said.

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Hogan isn’t sure if FCS would adopt a similar tact with NIL during bowl season.

“Bowling is already a potential opportunity for the student-athlete and their client list,” he said. “I hope it will provide them with a great opportunity regardless of the bowl itself as a potential customer.”

There is some trepidation in providing NUL opportunities to a select few athletes competing in a post-season game rather than an entire team which could deter from the overall bowl experience.

“If it helps you get out there and sell a few more tickets, that’s wonderful, but that’s kind of where it ends,” Hogan said. “For us right now it’s more about fun content and continuing to really expand on what the playoffs are great about anyway.”

One of the more recent trends in the playoffs is for players to pull out of bowl games to prepare for the NFL Draft. Hogan doesn’t see a change in direction among opt-outs, even with NIL opportunities.

“It’s not a paying business, and we’re not here to make VOID deals in the hope that it affects your ability to play,” Hogan said. “To play or not to play has been a decision that has been debated for many years. Long before NIL, so honestly I don’t see that changing.

This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Matt Murschel at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @osmattmurschel.

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