July 23, 2014

Orlando City Soccer Stars visit Give Kids The World

Filed under: Give Kids The World,Orlando City soccer — ngw101 @ 7:27 am

Rob Valentino (front left), Tommy Redding (back center) Aodhan Quinn (back right) of Orlando City Soccer with some fans at Give Kids The World - 22 July 2014 (Photographer: Nigel Worrall)

Orlando City Soccer stars made a visit to Give Kids The World last night to celebrate Mayor Clayton’s birthday with some of the children who have life threatening illnesses currently stayng at the resort.

Give Kids The World is a 70 acre, non profit “storybook” resort, located near Central Florida’s most beloved attractions. the children and their families are treated to week-long, cost free fantasy vacations complete with accommodations in the Village’s whimsical villas, transportation, donated attraction tickets, meals and much more.

Rob Valentino of Orlando City Soccer with a young fan at Give Kids The World - 22 July 2014 (Photographer: Nigel Worrall)

At the Village, these precious children learn that dreams really do come true, as they and their families are immersed in joy, hope and non stop fun for a few unforgettably happy days. Rob Valentino, Tommy Redding and Aodhan Quinn from Orlando City Soccer Club attended the event last night and met and signed autographs for all the children.

Tommy Redding of Orlando City Soccer signs an autograph at Give Kids The World - 22 July 2014 (Photographer: Nigel Worrall)

The Orlando City Foundation is a non profit organization and is committed to supporting charities like Give Kids The World to improve the lives of children in Central Florida. The club believes in using the power of soccer to promote exercise and healthy eating to inspire them to reach their full potential. All the club’s players are contracted to complete 28 hours of community service per season.

Having attended last night’s event, it is so nice to see the players giving back. It’s something that does go on a lot all around the soccer community throughout the world but very seldom does it get reported. It was a pleasure to see the players and the children interacting and having a whole lot of fun. Hopefully it will help them remember their vacation to Central Florida and that one day they can return again.

Orlando City Soccer at Give Kids The World - 22 July 2014 (Photographer: Nigel Worrall)

You may be wondering how you can get involved. If so, you may want to take a look at our blog post last week on the upcoming Hearts of Reality event. It’s an event that sees over 100 Reality TV stars from hit shows like Survivor, The Amazing Race, Big Brother and many others visit Celebration for a four day event that will raise money for Give Kids The World. If you have a favorite reality star who is attending the event, you might want to consider giving a donation to them that will ultimately go to the wonderful Give Kids The World charity. All you have to do is visit HeartsofReality.com and then click on their photograph to be able to donate. It doesn’t matter how much you give… every little bit counts!

Thanks to everyone at Give Kids The World for allowing us access and also to everyone at Orlando City Soccer Club who cheered up a lot of families last night. Great stuff!

More photos at www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com

July 20, 2014

Rory McIIroy wins British Open

Filed under: golf — ngw101 @ 1:10 pm

Rory McIlroy (Photo: Nigel G. Worrall)

Rory McIlroy, the 25 year old from County Down, Northern Ireland, won his first British Open by two strokes earlier today, holding off a strong challenge from Sergio Garcia at Royal Liverpool.

McIlroy carded a final round 71, while Sergio Garcia put together a remarkable round of 66 to give the young Irishman some cause for concern down the back nine. Rickie Fowler, paired with McIlroy, managed a 67 and tied at 15 under par 273 with Garcia, but it wasn’t enough to beat the 271 that eventually won the tournament.

The victory made McIlroy the third youngest men’s player in history to win three of the four major titles. The youngest two are Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, the two men who have won more major titles than anyone else.

McIlroy has now won the U.S. Open, the British Open and the PGA Championship and he might by now have completed the career grand slam if he hadn’t blown a four shot lead in the 2011 Masters Tournament by shooting a final round 80.

Currently, only five golfers have completed the feat of winning all four of golf’s modern Majors in their career and they are Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. Had McIlroy won the Masters in 2011, he would have joined Tiger Woods as the youngest to win the career grand slam, aged 25.

His time will surely come! Perhaps in 2015?

“A Giant Leap For Mankind”… 45 Years Ago Man Landed on the Moon

Filed under: Kennedy Space Center — ngw101 @ 8:09 am

Life: To The Moon & Back (Photo: Nigel G. Worrall)

45 years ago today Neil Armstrong’s booted foot, pressed firmly in the lunar soil, symbolized the stunning success of man’s highest adventure. The achievement of man’s first step on the moon came on the evening of 20th July, 1969 and realized the ambitious goal set by the late President John F. Kennedy some eight years previously.

Life: To The Moon & Back (Photo: Nigel Worrall)Life: To The Moon & Back (Photo: Nigel G. Worrall)Life: To The Moon & Back (Photo: Nigel G. Worrall)

Commander Neil A. Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” E. Aldrin, Jr. and Lunar Module Pilot Michael Collins blasted off on the 44 ton Apollo 11 / Saturn V SA-506 rocket assembly on 16 July 1969 at 13:32:00 UTC. Apollo 11 landed the first humans on the moon some four days later at 20:18 UTC and Armstrong became the first to step onto the lunar surface six hours later on 21st July at 02:56 UTC. Armstrong spent approximately two and a half hours outside the spacecraft, Aldrin slightly less, and together they collected 47.5 pounds of lunar material to bring back to Earth.

While this was happening, Collins piloted the command spacecraft alone in lunar orbit until Armstrong and Aldrin returned to it.

Life: To The Moon & Back (Photo: Nigel G. Worrall)

The moon landing almost didn’t happen though as the astronauts were rapidly running out of fuel. As the descent began, Armstrong and Aldrin found that they were passing landmarks on the surface four seconds early and reported that they were “long” meaning they would land miles west of their target point.

Five minutes into the descent burn, and 6,000 feet (1,800 m) above the surface of the Moon, the LM navigation and guidance computer distracted the crew with the first of several unexpected “1202″ and “1201″ program alarms. Inside the Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas, a message was relayed to the crew that it was safe to continue the descent.

When Armstrong again looked outside, he saw that the computer’s landing target was in a boulder-strewn area just north and east of a 300-meter (980 ft) diameter crater (later determined to be “West crater,” named for its location in the western part of the originally planned landing ellipse). Armstrong took semi-automatic control and, with Aldrin calling out altitude and velocity data, they landed at precisely 20:17:40 UTC with about 25 seconds of fuel left.

Apollo 11 landed with less fuel than other missions, and the astronauts encountered a premature low fuel warning. This was later found to be the result of greater propellant ‘slosh’ than expected, uncovering a fuel sensor. On subsequent missions, extra anti-slosh baffles were added to the tanks to prevent this.

Throughout the descent Aldrin had called out navigation data to Armstrong, who was busy piloting the Lunar Module. A few moments before the landing, a light informed Aldrin that at least one of the 67-inch (170 cm) probes hanging from Eagle’s footpads had touched the surface, and he said “Contact light!” Three seconds later, Eagle landed and Armstrong said “Shutdown.” Aldrin immediately said “Okay, engine stop. ACA – out of detent.” Armstrong acknowledged “Out of detent. Auto” and Aldrin continued “Mode control – both auto. Descent engine command override off. Engine arm – off. 413 is in.”

Charles Duke, acting as CAPCOM during the landing phase, acknowledged their landing by saying “We copy you down, Eagle.”

Armstrong acknowledged Aldrin’s completion of the post landing checklist with “Engine arm is off,” before responding to Duke with the words, “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” Armstrong’s unrehearsed change of call sign from “Eagle” to “Tranquility Base” emphasized to listeners that landing was complete and successful. Duke mispronounced his reply as he expressed the relief at Mission Control: “Roger, Twan– Tranquility, we copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We’re breathing again. Thanks a lot.”

Life: To The Moon & Back (Photo: Nigel Worrall)Life: To The Moon & Back (Photo: Nigel Worrall)Life: To The Moon & Back (Photo: Nigel Worrall)

The event was broadcast on live TV to a worldwide audience approaching 600 million people. The images flickered onto, by modern standards, tiny television sets and at first, were blurry and a little bewildering. Finally, they started to make sense as the eerie silhouette of Neil Armstrong descended down to the moon surface.

People in 47 countries watched events unfold as a $400,000, seven pound camera specially designed for the hostile vacuum of space sent the images back to Earth. This was no mean feat in itself as the images of Buzz Aldrin’s leap, the flag planting ceremony and the lunar material gathering passed through a fixed focus lens fitted to the camera and were then transformed into electrical impulses. The impulses were then amplified a hundred times and beamed directly to Earth. At Parkes, New South Wales, Australia, a 210 foot diameter radio telescope gathered the signal which was then converted to a conventional TV image and sent, via microwave and satellite, off to Houston, which instantly rebroadcast to the world.

An amazing achievement and we can only wonder what the world would look like today if this hadn’t happened and that man hadn’t set off to explore the planet around him.


July 19, 2014

A Little Faith is all Orlando Needs!

Filed under: Orlando Business,Orlando City soccer — ngw101 @ 3:11 pm

Orlando City Soccer, with this weeks away draw in Sacramento, remain unbeaten in the 2014 season. On the field, their 18 undefeated games have ensured they top the USLPRO table by 11 points over their next closest rivals Richmond Kickers.

Off the field, preparations are well underway for their debut season as a Major League Soccer club. Their home for the 2015 season will be the Florida Citrus Bowl (pictured below) that’s currently undergoing a $200 million overhaul that will see a newly constructed lower bowl, a vibrant open air exterior facade and an expanded 360 degree main concourse. The stadium needs to be ready by 22nd November as the Florida Classic football game between Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman universities is due to take place that day.

Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando - 18 July 2014 (Photographer: Nigel Worrall)Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando - 18 July 2014 (Photographer: Nigel Worrall)

The Lions will play just one season at the revamped facility before moving to their own home sandwiched between the Amway Center and the Citrus Bowl. Originally, the club had wanted to play just part of their inaugural season at the Citrus Bowl as they had hoped to move into their new ground to see out the 2015 MLS season. Unfortunately, a small family owned church stands in the way of that and a legal battle is now underway as the City of Orlando looks to acquire the necessary land.

Faith Deliverance Temple, Orlando - 15 July 2014 (Photographer: Nigel Worrall)

The city initially offered $1.5 million for the property occupied by Faith Deliverance Temple (pictured above), more than twice it’s appraised value. Church leaders countered with an asking price of $35 million. The city then eventually raised its offer as high as $4 million and the church dropped its price as low $15 million, but the parties never came any closer to a deal. As a result City Hall then filed an eminent domain action in court in 2013, after spending a year in failed negotiations to buy the property situated on Church Street.

Arguments are now being made by Attorney Andrew Prince Brigham, for the property owners, that the City of Orlando’s action violates Florida’s Constitution. Brigham claims that the land wouldn’t be used for a legitimate public purpose. “The City’s proposed taking is not for a public purpose,” Brigham said in a news release. “The City is simply a conduit for eminent domain to take from one private entity, a church, and transfer the use of the property to another private entity, a soccer franchise.”

Faith Deliverance Temple, Orlando - 15 July 2014 (Photographer: Nigel Worrall)

At face value that argument seems weak and merely a negotiating tool to buy more time in the hope that a more amicable settlement can be reached for his clients. In taking that stance, it seems that Brigham and his clients are playing a very dangerous game; one where they may actually walk away with far below the $4 million they were offered and, indeed, even below the City of Orlando’s opening offer of $1.5 million.

In previous cases where the city bought other land via eminent domain to locate the soccer stadium, a judge sided with the city, ruling that the stadium would indeed serve a public purpose. In both those cases, however, the property owners presented no evidence to put up a fight.

The bottom line, though, is that the new stadium really will bring significant benefits to the community as crowds of approximately 20,000 are expected at each MLS game and that means jobs and economic development in a part of town that desperately needs some investment.

Naturally, in the negotiation, the property owners, as is their right, are continuing to put up a fight, but surely it’s time for some common sense to come to the front and for them to realize that they can actually do an awful lot for their community by taking the money on offer and building a brand new worship facility in the neighborhood?

According to public records, the property was purchased by the current owners on 5th December 1989 for $92,500. The current assessed value shows the land value at $154,390, the buildings at $297,530 and features at $13,070 for a total assessed value of $464,990. The property if it were not exempt from taxes they would be paying $9,369 per annum.

Frankly, aside from all other arguments, it’s just a sensible business decision to take $4 million when the property is worth a fraction of that. The church leaders would then be able to move forward and build a brand new facility and to attract even more members to their services. Of course, they can continue to stick their feet in the sand but in doing so, all that is really going to happen is that the property will remain at its current value while ongoing maintenance costs will continue to build up.

The elders and leaders at the church need to understand that by giving up their land for the exchange of more than a fair dollar, that they are both adding to the Parramore community as well as being given an opportunity that they will never get again. Not only is this a chance for them to help Orlando grow but it is a chance for their whole community to grow. Yes, we get that they are being resolute on a point of principle, one of being asked to leave their property, but it is important for them to recognize they aren’t being asked to leave the community for good.

Orlando City Soccer Stadium Orlando City Lions stadium

Allowing the City of Orlando to come in and develop the land for Orlando City Soccer is simply the right thing to do for Central Florida and the sooner the club is able to deliver on the stadium package that they recently revealed, the better it will be for all concerned. The $110 million stadium renderings (pictured above) were recently made public and they show a superb stadium for the whole community to enjoy and one that will prove an attractive addition to the Downtown Orlando landscape.

In all of this, there is the bigger picture to consider. The future of Orlando.

It is imperative that the final piece of the jigsaw is put into place on time and on schedule so that it can really help the City Beautiful become a place where visitors come for a whole host of reasons as well as tourism.

Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts (Photo: Nigel G. Worrall)Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts (Photo: Nigel G. Worrall)

The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is also scheduled for a November 2014 opening alongside the Citrus Bowl. The ribbon cutting is scheduled for November 6th and President Kathy Ramsberger has announced that they are still working through contractual aspects for the opening nights talent. The $514 million center will be home to touring Broadway shows and “The Phantom of the Opera” is scheduled to kick off that series in December.

Orlando Ballet has also unveiled its lineup for the center and its season will include “Swan Lake” and perennial favorite “The Nutcracker.”

Orlando promises to become a fabulous place for local residents and visitors and will soon have a whole host of superb activities and entertainment for everyone to enjoy. We get that members of the family that built and operate the church have a hard time giving up what they built but the compensation they are being offered absolutely means that their 40 year old church can relocate elsewhere and still have size-able funds with which to grow. A win-win-win deal really is being offered by the City of Orlando and hopefully Mr. Brigham and his clients can come to a satisfactory deal before the September hearing. Orlando depends upon it. We have faith that all parties will work it out.


July 17, 2014

Reality TV Stars from Survivor, Amazing Race & Big Brother to return to Celebration soon!

Filed under: Celebration - Orlando,Orlando Charity Events — ngw101 @ 10:12 am

Hearts of Reality (Photo: Nigel G. Worrall)

The Sixth Annual Hearts of Realty event to benefit Give Kids The World returns to Celebration from Thursday, July 31st to Sunday, August 3rd.

More than 100 reality television stars from the hit shows “Amazing Race,” “Survivor,” “Big Brother,” “The Apprentice” and many more, will return to help children with life-threatening illnesses by using their celebrity status to raise money for Give Kids The World.

During the four-day event, guests have the opportunity to socialize and interact with their favorite reality stars. The event hosted by Lexin Capital/Celebration Town Center offers a chance to take pictures and get autographs with the reality stars as well as receive an autograph booklet for a $25 donation to GKTW. For a $30 donation, guests can attend the Saturday night party where there will be Survivor Karaoke, a Luau Party and more.  There will also be a private autograph signing for VIP sponsors only.  The reality stars will also participate in a private Pirates and Princesses Party at Give Kids The World Village, where GKTW wish kids will interact with their favorite reality stars in attendance.

Give Kids The World - (Photo: Nigel G. Worrall)

“We are delighted that the Hearts of Reality television stars will once again share their time and talents with our precious wish children,” GKTW president Pamela Landwirth said.  “Their participation helps bring awareness and critical funding to our mission of creating the happiness that inspires hope for children battling life-threatening illnesses.”

Participants scheduled to attend Hearts of Reality include: Juan Pablo & Nikki (The Bachelor), Tina Wesson (Survivor-Australian Outback -winner), Evil Dick (Big Brother 8 – winner), Denise Stapley (Survivor-Philippines - winner), Amy Diaz & Jason Case (The Amazing Race-23 – winners)Rachel Reilly (Big Brother 13 – winner), Uchenna Agu (The Amazing Race-Season 7 – winner), Richard Hatch (Survivor-Borneo – winner), Fabio (Survivor-Nicaragua – winner), Hayden Moss (Big Brother – winner ), Tony Vlachos (Survivor- Cagayan –winner), Vecepia Towery-Robinson (Survivor-Marquesas – winner), Nick Peterson ( The Bachelorette and The Bachelor Pad-winner), Angela Zatopek (Ready for Love -winner), Chris Daugherty (Survivor-Vanuatu – Winner), Mark Long (MTV Personality), Tanya Vance (Survivor-Thailand), Chris Nordhorn (The Bachelorette 6), Blakeley Shea (The Bachelor-Season 16), Big Tom (Survivor-Africa) and many more!

The reality stars will also raise donations personally through their social media sites by asking fans, friends, followers, and family for donations to this great cause. To support your favorite reality star with a donation to GKTW, visit www.heartsofreality.com and click on their photograph to go through to the donation section.

Give Kids The World Village (GKTW) is a 70-acre, nonprofit resort in Central Florida that creates magical memories for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. GKTW provides accommodations at its whimsical resort, donated attractions tickets, meals and more for a weeklong, cost-free fantasy vacation. With the help of many generous individuals, corporations and part­nering wish-granting organ­­iz­ations, Give Kids The­ World has welcomed more than 130,000 families from all 50 states and over 75 countries.

July 16, 2014

Discovery Cove Named #1 Amusement Park in the World Again!

Filed under: Aquatica,Discovery Cove Orlando — ngw101 @ 1:12 pm

Discovery Cove (Photo: Nigel G. Worrall)

For the second consecutive year Discovery Cove in Orlando has been named the #1 amusement park in the world by TripAdvisor.

In addition to the exciting news that Discovery Cove was awarded the #1 amusement park in the world, a total of eight SeaWorld Entertainment parks were also rated among the top 25 attractions in the U.S.

Discovery Cove (Photo: Nigel G. Worrall)

Two of those parks, Discovery Cove and Aquatica in Orlando, also were ranked among the top in the world.

TripAdvisor announced the winners of its Travelers’ Choice™ awards which honor top travel spots worldwide based on the millions of valuable reviews and opinions from TripAdvisor travelers. The winners from our company include:

Amusement Parks — U.S.

#1 Discovery Cove (also, #1 amusement park in the world)

#7 SeaWorld Orlando

#10 Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

#13 Busch Gardens Williamsburg

#17 SeaWorld San Diego

#21 SeaWorld San Antonio

Ihu's Breakaway Falls - (Photo: Nigel G. Worrall)

Water Parks — U.S.

#3 Aquatica Orlando (also #9 water park in the world)

#5 Water Country USA

#13 Adventure Island


The Space Race – 45 Years Ago Today, Apollo 11 Blasted Off To The Moon

Filed under: Kennedy Space Center — ngw101 @ 9:27 am

Man Walks on the Moon

The Space Race between the two Cold War rivals, the Soviet Union and the United States, lasted from 1955 to 1972. It all began on 2nd August 1955 when the Soviet Union responded to the United States announcement, four days earlier, of intent to launch artificial satellites, by declaring they would also launch a satellite “in the near future”. The Soviets won the first “lap” with the October 4, 1957 launch of Sputnik 1 and the race reached its zenith with the July 20, 1969 US landing of the first humans on the Moon via Apollo 11.

It was on this day, 45 years ago, July 16, 1969 that Apollo 11, the first mission to land men on the moon, lifted off from launch pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center, carrying astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. July 20th 1969 was the date forever earmarked in history as Apollo 11 landed on the Moon and in the process fulfilled President John F. Kennedy’s statement, “We shall go to the moon in this decade.” Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to ever walk on the moon as a worldwide audience watched live on television.

Walk on moon

Other Notable Dates:

July 18, 1921: John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth was born. Glenn piloted the Mercury Capsule, Friendship 7 in 1962, successfully orbiting Earth three times. His last flight was aboard STS-95 Discovery which he piloted at the age of 67. He also served as one of Ohio’s United States Senators.

July 21, 1961: MRLV-8 capsule Liberty Bell 7, manned by Gus Grissom, was the second US manned suborbital flight. During splashdown, the hatch cover unexpectedly blew, and after Grissom was safely retrieved, the capsule sunk into the Atlantic Ocean. It was recovered 38 years later in 1999.

July 23, 1999: Eileen Collins became the first female Space Shuttle Commander when STS-93 Columbia launched 15 years ago. During this five-day mission the Chandra X-ray Observatory was successfully deployed.

July 24, 1950: On this day the first successful launch from Cape Canaveral took place. Under the direction of General Electric, the Bumper 2 rocket was used to test rocket systems and experiment with the upper atmosphere. The rocket reached a 1950 distance record of 400 kilometer the upper stage.

July 28, 1851: The first photograph of a total solar eclipse was taken by Berkowski, a local photographer in Prussia.

July 29, 1958: Spurred as a competitive reaction to the Soviet Union launching Sputnik, Congress passed legislation and President Eisenhower signed the

July 30, 1610: Galileo reports seeing odd extremities around Saturn. They would become known as Saturn’s rings.

July 31, 1971: Apollo 15 Astronauts David Scott and James Irwin became the first to use the Lunar Roving Vehicle, traveling 17.5 miles on the moon. They collected over 170 pounds of lunar samples to bring back to Earth.

The Space Race concluded with the April 1972 agreement on a co-operative Apollo-Soyuz test project, which resulted in the July 1975 meeting in Earth orbit of a US astronaut crew with a Soviet cosmonaut crew.

July 15, 2014

Orlando Predators Purchased by David Siegel

Filed under: Orlando Sport — ngw101 @ 5:18 pm

David & Jackie Siegel - Orlando Predators Arena Football Team purchased by David A. Siegel - 15 July 2014 (Photographer: Nigel Worrall)

Timeshare mogul David Siegel (pictured above with wife Jackie) has purchased the troubled Orlando Predators and the team will now return to the Amway center for the 2015 season.

At a press conference this afternoon it was announced that Orlando Predators LLC, a company owned by David A. Siegel, Founder and CEO of Westgate Resorts, has purchased the Orlando Predators Arena Football team.

Jerry Kurz - Arena Football League Commissioner- 15 July 2014 (Photographer: Nigel Worrall)

Jerry Kurz, (pictured above) Arena Football League Commissioner said: “The Orlando Predators has always been a major competitive force in the Arena Football League. It is only fitting that David Siegel, a proven winner himself, be admitted into our proud league as the newest owner of the Orlando Predators. We look forward to great things from David and the Predators in the years to come.”

City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer with David Siegel, new owner of Orlando Predators Arena Football Tea - 15 July 2014 (Photographer: Nigel Worrall)

City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer (pictured above with Siegel) added: “This is exciting news for our city and comes at a time when Orlando is undergoing a very significant transformation as a sports destination. It is also great to see the Predators return to the Amway Center, where they will enjoy a state of the art facility and provide ideal proximity to their fan base. We applaud David for his vision in bringing this forth. The Predators will be even more fun to watch going forward.”

Orlando Predators Arena Football Team purchased by David A. Siegel - 15 July 2014 (Photographer: Nigel Worrall)

According to Siegel, the purchase and return to the Amway was motivated by the opportunity to grant an already storied franchise the exposure and attention it deserves in a world class venue. “The Orlando Predators is a great football franchise and I look forward to helping them remain highly competitive for years to come,” he said. “They provide great entertainment value for locals and visitors alike and have been staple in our community since they were introduced into the league over 20 years ago.”

Siegel also plans to partner the Predators with the Westgate Foundation and create more community engagement opportunities. He added, “The team is an ideal platform for providing entertainment for the youth. Given our new location back at the Amway, we particularly want to ensure the youth of the surrounding communities enjoy access to the games taking place nearby.”

Westgate Resorts executive Jared Saft has been named President of the Orlando Predators and will oversee the team while Arena Bowl championship coach Rob Keefe, who joined the team in 2013, remains Head Coach.

Entering their 25th year in the AFL, the Orlando Predators were introduced to the league in 1991, four years after the league was formed. They have made 20 playoff appearances, including seven division titles and two championships in 1998 and 2000.


July 14, 2014

America’s World Cup Fever

Filed under: Orlando Sport — ngw101 @ 10:53 am

 Orlando City Soccer - Wall Street Watch Party - USA vs Belgium, Orlando, Florida - 1 July 2014 (Photographer: Nigel Worrall)

When I moved to America some 17 years ago, very few people were bothered about the World Cup or had even watched a game of soccer on TV. Despite the fact that the U.S. Men’s National Team had qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 40 years in 1990 and that the United States actually hosted the tournament in 1994, it seemed that the world’s greatest game was never going to take off in America. Today, at the end of a fabulous World Cup in Brazil, some 27.280 million U.S. viewers watched the World Cup Final alone. It seems that at no time in American history has the game been more popular in the United States.

The breakdown of that number shows that ABC’s national English language broadcast drew 17,324,000 viewers and an additional 657,000 online viewers. Univision’s national Spanish language broadcast drew 9.2 million viewers and another 99,000 online.

What’s even more remarkable is that the numbers above do not include the viewing parties or other group gatherings that were hosted around the United States and, as you may have heard, there were some pretty big ones! Here in Orlando, Orlando City Soccer Club hosted numerous parties at a packed out Wall Street and some estimates have those crowds at between 5,000 and 11,000 people for the different games. It was the same in other parts of the country as folks came together to support their teams and to rejoice or commiserate with each other depending on the result.

Just as you were beginning to wonder where this great nation was heading, something came along to startle you into realizing once again why America is so great. The World Cup. The people. All over the nation, people of all races, creeds, colors, backgrounds put aside their differences and became one. Some fantastic moments brought together by the only thing that’s capable of doing it. Sport. Soccer… the world’s most popular game.

Orlando City Soccer - Wall Street Watch Party - USA vs Belgium, Orlando, Florida - 1 July 2014 (Photographer: Nigel Worrall)

The 2014 FIFA World Cup ranks as the most-viewed World Cup ever on English-language TV in the United States. ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC combined to average 4,557,000 viewers and a 2.8 US household rating for the 64 matches, marking increases of 39 percent and 96 percent (vs. 3,273,000 in 2010 and 2,321,000 in 2006), and 33 percent and 75 percent (vs. 2.1 in 2010 and 1.6 in 2006), respectively. The top metered markets in the USA for the World Cup Final were Washington, D.C., San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orlando, and New York in that order.

It’s quite plain to see, despite the rantings of pundits like Ann Coulter and the disrespect shown by the Orlando Sentinel’s Beth Kassab, that soccer is now here to stay. It’s taken a while for the grassroots to establish itself but sheer demographics point to the fact that the game isn’t going to disappear like it did previously in the 1920′s when it was last so popular.

It may take some by surprise to learn that soccer almost established itself back then as an open immigration policy saw a booming economy that allowed factories to employ large numbers of European workers, who brought a love of soccer with them to their new country.

The American Soccer League was born in 1921 and American teams started luring players from some of the top clubs in Europe. Before long, there were 50 European internationals, players good enough to be included on their countries’ national teams, playing in the American league. There were also some great American players to go along with all the stars from Europe. Players like Archie Stark, born in Glasgow but emigrated to the United States aged 13, who scored 232 goals in 205 appearances for Bethlehem Steel. Add in, two of the greatest players in American history, Bert Patenaude and Billy Gonsalves who played for the United States in the first World Cup in Uruguay in 1930. Patenaude was the guy who scored the first World Cup hat-trick while Gonsalves was known as “the Babe Ruth of American soccer” as Team USA came third in the tournament.

The ASL was riding high until just before that first World Cup but it all collapsed in disputes with the United States Football Association and the onset of the Great Depression that started in 1929.

Orlando City Soccer - Wall Street Watch Party - USA vs Belgium, Orlando, Florida - 1 July 2014 (Photographer: Nigel Worrall)

So soccer has been here before, but this time the demographics point to support at grass roots level that will surely sustain it for good. With the game being the number one participation sport in the United States, with over 24 million young athletes playing the game and it being the most popular sport for those aged 12 to 24, outstripping NBA, MLB and college football, it seems that America has finally caught onto the game the rest of the world loves.

It’s exciting and here in Orlando the game continues to go from strength to strength. The amazing success that Orlando City Soccer Club has had since it started in 2011 has fueled the local desire for the game. It seems that everything has finally come together.

In 2015, Orlando City Soccer Club will become the 21st Major League Soccer club. It will join a league that ranks third in largest average attendances in US professional sports leagues, ahead of NBA and NHL. In fact, Orlando, as a USL PRO team, with 20,886 turning up for its Championship game in 2013, has already pulled in more than the Orlando Magic has ever done in 25 years of playing in the city.

Soccer truly has arrived and it won’t be too long before we’re seriously talking about it being the number one sport in America… mark my words.

July 12, 2014

Orlando City Extends Unbeaten Run To 17 Games With 2-0 Win Over Wilmington Hammerheads

Filed under: Orlando City soccer — ngw101 @ 10:15 pm

Orlando City Soccer vs. Wilmington Hammerheads, 12 July 2014 (Photographer: Nigel Worrall)

Orlando City Soccer continued its impressive 2014 USL PRO unbeaten run as they defeated the Wilmington Hammerheads 2-0 at ESPN Wide World of Sports earlier tonight. Dennis Chin and Anthony Pulis scored for Orlando as the Lions extend their unbeaten run to 17 consecutive matches.

“I’m obviously delighted to get the win and keep the run going, which is important,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath after the match. “I thought that there were some excellent performances on our end. We dictated things throughout the entire game and probably had the ball for most of the evening.”

Due to the wet conditions, both sides had a slow start in the opening minutes as they tried to feel each other out. The first sign of action came in the 7th minute when Kevin Molino drove a low effort that skipped just wide of the target.

Four minutes later, Tommy Redding nearly scored his first goal of the 2014 campaign from a deep corner served into the box from Darwin Ceren. The El Salvadorian’s corner was floated to the back-post and Molino knocked it back into the danger area for Redding, who saw his effort cleared off the line.

 Dennis Chin scores for Orlando City Soccer vs. Wilmington Hammerheads, 12 July 2014 (Photographer: Nigel Worrall)

As the first half progressed, Orlando’s possession finally created an end-product as Dennis Chin (pictured above) found the back of the net in the 33rd minute. The goal was the result of good build-up play on the edge of the area with quick one-touch passing that saw Molino find Chin in the box with time and space. Heading into tonight’s match, the Oviedo native hadn’t scored since bagging a brace against OKC on May 4 but tonight he made no mistake as he drove the ball home past Quillan Roberts in the Wilmington goal.

 Anthony Pulis scores for Orlando City Soccer vs. Wilmington Hammerheads, 12 July 2014 (Photographer: Nigel Worrall)

The second half saw Orlando go two up from the penalty spot as Kevin Molino was clumsily fouled by Sammy Ochoa inside the area. Veteran midfielder Anthony Pulis (pictured above) converted the penalty placing his effort in the bottom right-hand corner sending Roberts the wrong way.

 Orlando City Soccer vs. Wilmington Hammerheads, 12 July 2014 (Photographer: Nigel Worrall)

New signing Giuseppe Gentile (pictured above) made his first appearance in purple and white when he was brought on by Head Coach Adrian Heath in the 75th minute. The former Chicago Fire striker nearly added a third in the 87th minute but his strike was well saved by Roberts.

 Orlando City Soccer vs. Wilmington Hammerheads, 12 July 2014 (Photographer: Nigel Worrall)

City will now begin preparing for its upcoming road fixture against Sacramento. The California-based club will prove to be a strong test for Orlando as they look to extend the unbeaten run and a 13 point lead over the Richmond Kickers.


Orlando City SC- GK Miguel Gallardo, D Tyler Turner (Justin Clark 81’), Tommy Redding, Rob Valentino, Luke Boden, M Anthony Pulis (Aodhan Quinn 69’),  Adama Mbengue, Darwin Ceren, Kevin Molino, Austin da Luz, Dennis Chin (Giuseppe Gentile 76’)

Wilmington Hammerheads- GK Quillan Roberts, D Albert Edward (Cole Troy 73’), Ashani Fairclough, Christian Davidson, Drew Ruggles, M Steven Miller, Tom Parratt, Paul Nicholson, Mikael Oliveira (Sunny Jane 58’), F Manu Apricio, F Sammy Ochoa

More photos from the game at www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com