Katy Burnett is on assignment this week in Tallahassee.
This weekend was Orlando City SC’s first MLS game. I attended the first MLS game for both the now defunct Tampa Bay Mutiny and (Fort Lauderdale) Fusion FC. Those two clubs are the only two MLS teams to ever go out of business in the league’s 20 year history although the story as to why both clubs failed is complicated. Both those teams had been crowds for the opening games and in Tampa Bay’s case crowds kept coming for a few years – the Tampa Bay area after all was the second best pro soccer market in the United States in the 1970’s and 1980’s. I also worked as a Communications Director for the first game of both the return of the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Fort Lauderdale Strikers in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Florida has a lot of critics in the soccer world, due to these failures, the struggles of lower division teams in the state, and Miami’s ability to consistently draw 65,000 plus fans for games involving international clubs or national teams but never more than 10,000-12,000 for domestic games. The theory is domestic soccer just doesn’t work here and that the market will only gravitate to big names and teams. Orlando proved that differently. Upon arriving in town, Stephanie Porta dragged me from store to store to find purple paraphernalia for her game-day wardrobe. But it was a difficult chore, because store shelves throughout the area were emptied of anything purple and the town was essentially painted purple. But after several stops Stephanie put together quite a look for the first game (those of you who are friends with Stephanie or me on Facebook can see the pics).
From a media operations standpoint having been in charge of many events in my time with the rival NASL league, Orlando City did very well. They even had my picture on my season credential without me sending them one or posing for one! Talk about a resourceful press shop, that used previous photos! It was a special day for soccer in the state of Florida. In just a few short weeks, Jacksonville will host their first high-level professional regular season game since 1982 (some would say 1999 but I will say 1982). I will be there as well and look forward to that opening – Jacksonville has been the feel-good story of the offseason in American soccer. My full report can be found via World Soccer Talk at this link. – KK @kkfla737
We’ve featured Rep. Katie Edwards important Criminal Justice bill, HB 783 on this site multiple times. This is an important piece of legislation all progressives should jump behind. This morning, Rep. Edwards penned an excellent op-ed for her hometown newspaper, The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Here is the piece. – KK @kkfla737
Governor Scott’s hiring of a PR firm to sure up his standing indicates how weak he is. Furthermore, his unwillingness to back either Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio might seem safe politically, but is in fact another indication that the Governor is weak and indecisive at important moments. Unlike Bush who was decisive to a fault and thus more dangerous and destructive than Scott, the current Governor lacks the confidence or courage in his convictions to do anything with gusto. Ultimately for Florida’s progressive community that might be a good thing, because the Scott years will in the end prove to be less damaging than the Bush years were for our side of things. – KK @kkfla737