Orlando City SC are making more moves to try and elevate the level of both its men’s and women’s teams. OCSC has missed the MLS Playoffs four successive seasons while the women’s team, the Orlando Pride slipped in 2018 to a disappointing 7th place finish in NWSL.
The club has partnered with German club VfL Wolfsburg, which operates men’s and women’s teams in the Bundesliga and Frauen-Bundesliga, respectively.
Through this partnership, the clubs will share knowledge of men and women’s football and youth academies as well as benefit from best practices of overall club infrastructures, including work being done across marketing and sales divisions.
This partnership will be Orlando City SC’s fourth with an international club and the first with a club with a women’s team. With the addition of Wolfsburg, Orlando City now has ties to clubs in four of the world’s strongest footballing markets, with partner clubs in Germany, England, Portugal and Brazil.
The Club partnered with S.L. Benfica (Portugal) in June 2014 and signed two players, Rafael Ramos and Estrela, to MLS contracts ahead of its 2015 expansion season. In June 2015, Orlando City partnered with then-English Premier League side Stoke City to exchange best practices and open the door for player training and transfer opportunities and a friendly match between the clubs (Orlando City SC had acquired Brek Shea from Stoke City before the partnership was formalized). In November 2016, the Club entered into a partnership with Club Atletico Paranaense (Brazil) to exchange practices, information and players to improve the Development Academy.
Wolfsburg is a founding member of the Frauen-Bundesliga, Germany’s top-flight for women’s soccer, and has won the league four times in the last six seasons. The club has also won two UEFA Champions League titles and five domestic cups in the last six years. In 2013, Wolfsburg claimed a treble, capturing the league, domestic cup and UEFA Women’s Champions League.
The team is currently atop the Frauen-Bundesliga, 17 points clear of second place. Orlando Pride midfielder Emily van Egmond played for the side in the 2016-17 season before returning to Australia’s W-League and eventually joining the Pride.
Wolfsburg visited the state in 2017 for the Florida Cup and are led by sporting director Marcel Schäfer who finished his playing career this past season with the Tampa Bay Rowdies.