Orlando officials approve funding for soccer stadium

Major League Soccer is now a significant step closer to placing a team in Orlando.

Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County mayor Teresa Jacobs agreed to a deal for a new $85 million soccer stadium, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

MLS has long looked to expand to the Southeast, and the league is clearly keeping an eye – in the long term — at putting a franchise in Florida.

It’s not clear when an MLS team may be awarded to Orlando or even what year a team would start play. But a stadium deal certainly is one of the biggest keys to the equation.

Orlando is a large market and has just one major professional team, the NBA’s Orlando Magic.

But the city has also shown an interest in soccer, and the Sentinel reports that the Orlando City Lions (a team in the USL pro league) draw about 8,000 fans per game.

It’s possible that Florida could eventually have two MLS teams in the coming years. Soccer star David Beckham also has the option to own an MLS team at a reduced price, and he is reportedly looking at Miami and other Southern cities.