In 2009, there was a buzz going around the internet that Orlando might soon get a professional soccer franchise. Speculation ranged from talk of resurrecting the late 1980’s Orlando Lions to landing a player development squad owned by Liga MX-side C.F. Pachuca. Nothing materialized until 2010 when Kay and Phil Rawlins from Stoke-on-Trent, England relocated the USL-side Austin Aztex to the City Beautiful.
On October 23, 2010, a meeting was held at the Harp and Celt. A tiny assemblage of fans resolved to create some sort of organization to support the new team. Two days later, Phil Rawlins held a press conference at the Crowne Plaza Hotel announcing the team’s name and colors (red, purple, and gold). Media was there, of course, but Lori and I were the only “fans” in attendance. Seriously. We knew right then we had to help this team get the word out.
We began by crashing English and Irish pubs on Saturday mornings, annoying EPL fans with the fantastic news that a professional soccer team was coming to Orlando. On January 22, 2011, we hosted a “Supporters Summit” on the patio at the old Orlando Brewing. About forty people showed up. Kay and Phil were there too. We talked soccer, ate pizza, and devoured red and purple M&M’s (Lori’s idea). We even had a limited number of t-shirts made up. It just happened to be the coldest night of the year, and we all froze. It was a glorious beginning of the soccer supporter culture in Central Florida.
In the last decade, The Ruckus has hosted amazing tailgates, march-ins, and provided unwavering support to Orlando City S.C. Even more importantly, our charities arm, Ruckus Cares, has earned distinction for its service to the community and fund raising.
There is no archetypical Ruckus member. We are, like our city, a diverse and resolute group of people. We come from many communities, cultures, and backgrounds. We feel soccer, more than any other sport, brings people together. And together there is nothing we cannot do.
I want to personally invite you to join us on The Wall this season. We have work to do.
- The Godfather (Dan)