By Paul Kennedy
Brett Lashbrook, the special assistant to MLS Commissioner Don Garber who was one of the point persons on MLS's expansion efforts in New York, has joined Orlando City's front office on its bid to secure an MLS expansion franchise of its own.
Lashbrook will join the Orlando front office on Monday and assist the club's ownership group in finalizing plans for a new soccer stadium and negotiating a MLS expansion agreement.
The Lions' stated goal is to be bring MLS to Central Florida by 2015, though one scenario with growing credence is that MLS will add two Florida clubs -- Miami and Orlando -- to expand to 22 teams in 2016, a year after the launch of its 20th team, New York City FC.
“I want to thank the entire Orlando City ownership group for this exciting opportunity,” said Lashbrook in a statement. “The foundation they’ve already established is truly impressive -- from the number of fans in the stands, the results on the field and the community’s demonstrated enthusiasm for the MLS project. I’m excited to join the team as we all work toward even greater future success.”
Lashbrook, who holds a law degree from Marquette University and previously worked for MLS as a legal counsel, worked for the 1999 and 2003 Women’s World Cup organizing committees, New York City’s bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games and the NHL Phoenix Coyotes.
“I’m delighted that someone with Brett’s pedigree is joining the team,” said Orlando City president Phil Rawlins. “It speaks volumes about the potential of Orlando City as a MLS team -- and further demonstrates how committed we are to joining MLS. Brett’s deep knowledge of MLS, including his recent work regarding MLS stadium projects and expansion efforts, will prove invaluable as our organization looks to continue our rapid growth.”
GALAXY SWEET SUITE SWEEPSTAKES. The LA Galaxy have partnered with Smart & Final and Nestle for a retail promotion whose winner will win a VIP suite experience for 30 people.
Galaxy fans who purchase $10 worth of select Nestle products from participating Smart & Final stores will be able to enter for a chance to win a VIP suite experience for 30 people at the July 20 game against the Vancouver Whitecaps and meet Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez as part of the LA Galaxy Sweet Suite Sweepstakes.
The winner will also receive an autographed Omar Gonzalez bobblehead.
FIFA INKS BELL CANADA. Bell Canada was announced as the official telecommunications provider and the first national supporter of the 2014 Under-20 Women’s World Cup and 2015 Women’s World Cup.
“Bell is proud to deliver advanced communications infrastructure and services for FIFA’s upcoming women’s football events in Canada," said Wade Oosterman, president of Bell Mobility and Residential Services and Bell’s chief brand officer, in a statement. “Bell’s industry-leading investments in broadband networks and our experience in supporting amateur and professional sporting events will ensure world-class communications support to these FIFA championships."
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