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Brazilian Legend Marta Returns to Orlando Pride on Two-Year Deal

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FILE - Orlando Pride forward Marta chases the ball during Orlando Pride's home match against Gotham FC at Exploria Stadium on June 20, 2021. (Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News file photo)
FILE - Orlando Pride forward Marta chases the ball during Orlando Pride's home match against Gotham FC at Exploria Stadium on June 20, 2021. (Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News file photo)

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Source: Orlando Pride // The Orlando Pride and forward Marta have agreed to a two-year deal, signing the player to the Pride through the 2024 season, with Allocation Money used in the signing. The 36-year-old looks to add to an already historic career in her upcoming seventh season with the Pride.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have Marta back with the Pride. As we looked at building our roster, there was never any question that we wanted to have her continue as part of our project, not only for her abilities on the pitch, but her mentality, values and leadership embody the culture we want in our locker room,” Head Coach Seb Hines said. “We know last season’s injury was a difficult one, but she has been working extremely hard toward her recovery and we know she will have a point to prove when she returns in 2023. We can’t wait for her to add to her historic career here, in Orlando, as a member of the Pride.”

Marta had her 2022 season cut short with the Pride after suffering an ACL injury against the North Carolina Courage in just the second match of the Challenge Cup. Since joining the Club in 2017, the Brazilian international has made 84 appearances and recorded a Club-leading 27 goals – seven of those game-winners – to go along with 14 assists while donning the Pride kit.

“I’ve been very happy during my time here in Orlando and I’m excited to continue as part of the Pride for the next two years,” Marta said. “The Club and community have become my family here in the United States, so it makes me smile knowing I will get to continue as part of that. I’m very excited for the future we are building for the Pride and can’t wait to return to the field next year, play alongside my teammates, and fight for a championship for our fans.”

On the international stage, Marta is the only women’s player to be named FIFA World Player of the Year six times, and the lone player — men’s or women’s — to win five in a row. She also holds the record for most career goals at the FIFA World Cup with 17 for Brazil and is the first player in the sport’s history to score at five different World Cup tournaments. In 2021, she also became the first player to score in five-consecutive Olympic Games. With the Seleção, Marta has amassed 179 international caps and is the federation’s all-time leading scorer with 119 goals, more than Pele, Neymar and Ronaldo, among others.

In addition to her five FIFA Women’s World Cup appearances, she is a two-time silver medalist at the Olympic Games and was named to the first-ever FIFA FIFPro Women’s World XI at the annual The Best FIFA Football Awards in Milan, Italy, in 2019.

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Orlando City, Orlando Pride Hire Veteran Sports Executives Chris Kamke and Kelly Hyne

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Kelly Hyne, left, has been named SVP of Brand Alliances, while Chris Kamke has been named Chief Strategy Officer. Both are filling newly-created positions for the Club. Photos: Orlando City Soccer Club. Photo collage by Florida National News.
Kelly Hyne, left, has been named SVP of Brand Alliances, while Chris Kamke has been named Chief Strategy Officer. Both are filling newly-created positions for the Club. Photos: Orlando City Soccer Club. Photo collage by Florida National News.

ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando City SC and the Orlando Pride has bolstered its front office operations with the addition of two key positions, as the Club today announced the hiring of seasoned sports executives Chris Kamke and Kelly Hyne. The pair have recently begun their tenures, with Kamke joining the organization as Chief Strategy Officer, while Hyne has been named SVP of Brand Alliances, both filling newly-created positions for the Club.

“A little over a year ago when the Wilf Family purchased our clubs, they immediately made a commitment to building a world-class organization, on and off the pitch. In order to do that we need to recruit, develop, and retain world-class talent,” said Jarrod Dillon, president of business operations for Orlando City and Orlando Pride. “In adding two industry respected leaders in Chris Kamke and Kelly Hyne, as well as a number of recent promotions and new position investments, we have taken massive steps in assembling a world-class executive team and front office.”

A leader in the business intelligence space, Kamke will be responsible for leading the Club’s strategy and analytics; ticket operations, sales and service; suite sales and service; and overall organizational business planning. Alongside the senior leadership team, Kamke will also be charged with expanding and increasing revenue-generation projects for both the teams and Exploria Stadium, the 25,500 seat venue in the heart of downtown Orlando.

Kamke joins the Club following 11 years with Vinik Sports Group, where he most recently served as the organization’s VP of Strategy and Analytics, primarily with the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League and Amalie Arena. Throughout his tenure with VSG, Kamke had a hand in every area of revenue generation, overseeing strategy, analytics and ticketing operations while also working hand-in-hand with the partnership and brand departments to maximize impact and end result.

Under Kamke’s leadership, the Lightning saw consistent ticket revenue growth, 275+ consecutive sellouts, the longest in the NHL, and ranked top 5 in paid tickets over the last six seasons.

The Strategy and Analytics Department at VSG was a brainchild for Kamke, as he created and managed the department which ultimately served as an in-house strategy and analytics consultant for all of the organization’s departments. With Orlando City, Pride and Exploria Stadium, he will oversee the development of a similar department, responsible for the hiring and creation of a new business intelligence unit.

A graduate of the University of Central Florida’s Master’s program, Kamke also had prior stints at Professional Bull Riders, UCF and the Tindall Corporation.

“I’d like to thank Jarrod Dillon and the rest of the leadership team for this opportunity. I’m extremely excited to join the Orlando City and Orlando Pride organization and to have the opportunity to build and grow the sport of soccer in the United States,” Kamke said. “Orlando is an incredible soccer market, with amazing fans, and I’m very excited to continue growing our organization into one of premier clubs in both MLS and the NWSL.”

Hyne, who was named to Sports Business Journal’s Game Changer Class of 2016, will lead the Club’s Brand Alliances team, formerly Corporate Partnerships, to build and establish symbiotic relationships between the Club and its stakeholders, while also looking to add new partners to the Club’s network. In addition to overseeing the Club’s partnership strategy, sales and activations, Hyne’s leadership role will also focus on building event opportunities for Exploria Stadium.

Hyne comes to the Club following 28 years in professional golf where she held numerous roles. Most recently, Hyne was the Chief Sales Officer for the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), leading the partnership, business development, research, merchandise & licensing activities for the past eight years. In this position, Hyne was responsible for managing the LPGA’s corporate partnership portfolio, which included multiple Fortune 500 companies, seeing partnership revenue double under her guidance. A champion for women’s sports, Hyne’s leadership led to the player prize funding growing from $45M to over $90M, while delivering nine new event title partners.

During her 21 year tenure at the LPGA, Hyne served as SVP of Strategic Partnerships and oversaw the creation of the LPGA Properties division for owned events and served as Executive Director of The Solheim Cup, creating several events including the now Cognizant Founders Cup, CME Group Tour Championship and International Crown.

“I couldn’t be more excited to start the next professional chapter of my career with Orlando City, Orlando Pride and Exploria Stadium,” said Hyne. “Having been a resident of Central Florida for many years, I’ve always been a fan of the clubs and now I look forward to working with the team to enhance and create meaningful partnerships to help further connect our fans and grow the business.”

Hyne was hired following a national, comprehensive and inclusive search process by industry-leading executive search firm, TurnkeyZRG.

The announcement of Kamke and Hyne come in conjunction with additional moves and investments into the City and Pride front office, with the Club announcing 12 internal promotions at the midyear, including the recent appointments of Pedro Araujo to Chief Marketing Officer, Jessica West to VP of Facilities Operations and Marcos Peres to VP of Communications and Digital.

“In addition to the many promotions of our current teammates, we are in the process of hiring another 20-plus roles across the company to deepen and develop our team,” Dillon added.

“The future of Orlando City and Orlando Pride is bright and I couldn’t be more excited to help lead us into the next chapter of the clubs.”

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Kickoff Time Announced for Orlando City Friendly Against Arsenal FC

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FC Dallas's Paul Arriola attempts a shot while keeping Orlando City SC's Ruan Texeira at arm's length during their matchup at Exploria Stadium Saturday, May 28, 2022. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

ORLANDO, Fla. — The FC (Florida Cup) Series has announced kickoff times for its upcoming slate of friendlies, including Orlando City’s match against Arsenal FC on July 20. The two sides will meet in a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff hosted at the home of the Lions, Exploria Stadium.

Tickets to the match, the first meeting between the two sides all-time, are available at the link here with group options by calling (855) ORL-CITY.

Arsenal has a storied history in England, having won a record 14 FA Cups, two League Cups, 16 FA Community Shields, one European Cup Winners’ Cup and 13 EFL and Premier League titles, including an undefeated season in the 2003-04 season.

The London-based club, founded in 1886, will visit the United States this summer as part of the “FC Series”. Arsenal and Chelsea, two of the world’s most popular and successful professional soccer clubs, will then meet at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, on July 23 for the Florida Cup. The stateside derby will be the finale of the weeklong “FC Series” expansion featuring international matches across the United States.

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MLS: Orlando City Surrender Initial Lead and Fall to FC Dallas 3-1

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FC Dallas's Paul Arriola attempts a shot while keeping Orlando City SC's Ruan Texeira at arm's length during their matchup at Exploria Stadium Saturday, May 28, 2022. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Orlando City SC returned home this weekend to host FC Dallas at Exploria Stadium Saturday.

Orlando City’s downfall can be summed in two words: Paul Arriola. He scored two of FC Dallas’s three goals on the night.

Ercan Kara scored Orlando City’s only goal for the night.

 

First Half

The fouling started early and Orlando City got in trouble in the 12th minute, with Sebas Mendez getting the first yellow card of the game.

Mauricio Pereyra earned a free kick in the 23rd minute, but Dallas goalkeeper Maarten Paes made the catch before the ball could reach the net.

Dallas got a near-goal in the 26th minute, with Arriola making a left cross from the far right end of the field, but Orlando goalkeeper Pedro Gallese was able to knock it away.

Another close call came in the 28th minute in which Dallas repeated the exact same shot as before from the exact same side of the field as before, but Orlando’s Kyle Smith was able to get his foot on the ball first and made a right cross straight out of bounds.

Dallas kept up the press. In the 30th minute, Dallas’s Paxton Pomykal made a header from close range in center field, but Gallese came all the way out to kick it away.

Orlando Had a near goal in the 43rd minute with Ercan Kara’s attempt, but shot it high over the crossbar.

In the first minute of stoppage time, Pereyra made a shot on target, but Paes volleyed the ball up and over the crossbar.

Kara was able to make up for his earlier miss, though. During the final minute of stoppage, Pereyra made a free kick from the left side of the field and Kara headed it in over Paes’s head, finaling getting a point on the board, making the halftime score 1-0 Orlando City.

 

Second Half

Orlando City showed a bit more aggression at the beginning of the second half with a near-goal in the 48th minute. Ruan made a left cross to , who attempted a shot, but the ball hit the outside of the right side of the net.

Kyle Smith came in clutch again in the 55th minute after Dallas’s goal attempt from left field with a swift kick to cut the ball toward the stands.

Arriola turned the tide in 66th minute, putting FC Dallas on the board and tying the game 1-1.

Dallas’s Franco Jarra hammered the nail in deeper for Orlando City with a second goal in the 70th minute. Jarra fired right-footed shot from the right side of the six yard box to the bottom left corner with the assist from Jesús Ferreira’s through ball.

Paul Arriola devastated Orlando again in the 84th minute, this time with a sharp left cross from the right of the box, missing Gallese and finding the back of the net and making the score 3-1.

After the international game break, Orlando City’s next MLS match will kick off on June 15 against New England Revolution and return home on June 18 to host the Houston Dynamo. Both games take place at 7:30pm.

___________________________________________

Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | mellissa.thomas@floridanationalnews.com

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