Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Orlando Lions’ tag

1986-1990 Orlando Lions

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Amateur/Independ1ent (1986-1987)
American Soccer League (1988-1990)
American Professional Soccer League (1990)

Born: 1986 – Club formed.
Died: January 1991 – The Lions merge with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

Stadium: Florida Citrus Bowl (70,000)

Team Colors:

Owners:

 

Rollins College men’s soccer coach Mark Dillon formed F.C. Orlando and the Orlando Lions in 1986 as an amateur club consisting mainly of local college players.  Dillon put together an ambitious exhibition schedule for the young club, hosting foreign touring clubs as well as teams cobbled together from the wandering refugees of the recently defunct North American Soccer League (1968-1984).

After two years of this, the Lions got wind of plans to launch a new, budget-conscious East Coast-based pro league in 1988 to fill the pro soccer void left by the demise of the NASL.  Dillon wanted to join the start-up American Soccer League and turn pro in 1988 but he needed a wealthy investor to meet the new league’s capital requirements.  He found one in Tallahassee-based Colin Phipps, who took over ownership of the Lions while Dillon stayed on as the team’s head coach.  The Lions were admitted as one of the American Soccer League’s eight founding franchises (four of which were in Florida) in October 1987.

Mark Dillon’s partnership with Colin Phipps didn’t survive the Lions’ first pro season.  Dillon either resigned or was fired as coach midway through a losing campaign.  The Lions, in fact, would suffer losing seasons in all three of their pro seasons from 1988 to 1990.

The Lions also struggle at the gate, averaging fewer than 3,000 fans per match at the enormous Florida Citrus Bowl in 1988 and 1989.  In 1990, attendance dipped sharply to only 1,100 per game according to The Orlando Sentinel.  The Lions threw in the towel and merged into the Fort Lauderdale Strikers franchise in January of 1991.

Mark Dillon reclaimed the Lions name and re-launched the team as an amateur club in 1992.  This second version of the Lions competed in the United States Interregional Soccer League (USISL) until 1996.

 

==Orlando Lions Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other

1986

1986 6/28/1986 vs. North American Soccer League All-Stars ?? Program

1988

1988 7/1/1988 vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers ?? Program
1988 7/30/1988 @ Washington Stars ?? Program

1989

1989 6/18/1989 @ New Jersey Eagles  L 1-0 (PK) Program

1990

1990 4/22/1990 @ New Jersey Eagles L 3-1 Program

 

==Links==

American Soccer League Media Guides

American Soccer League Programs

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