Around Osceola
Osceola News-Gazette

Follow Us On:

SeaWolves sign former Orlando City star; others in the works

Posted on Friday, May 18, 2018 at 5:00 pm

By Ken Jackson
Sports Editor

Osceola County’s newest pro sports franchise has it first pro to call its own, and a couple more are in the fold and on the way.

The Orlando SeaWolves, who will call Kissimmee’s Silver Spurs Arena home despite their name when the Major Arena Soccer League season begins in December, inked its first player to an official contract on Tuesday, and have agreements with two other players still under contract with other clubs but will start wearing the yellow and sea blue sometime during the fall.

Orlando City Soccer Club fans will recognize the names Lewis Neal and Luke Boden. And those who have followed the Major Arena Soccer League and its Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Rampage will recognize its former captain, Gordy Gurson, the SeaWolves’ first major free agent signing from the indoor soccer ranks.

News-Gazette Photo/Ken Jackson
Lewis Neal (left) the longtime Orlando City fixture, was signed to the Orlando SeaWolves Tuesday by team GM Chris Kokalis.

“This is the first of many exciting announcements as we begin to build our roster,” SeaWolves General Manager Chris Kokalis said. Neal, 36, played 79 matches in Major League Soccer for Orlando City (2015) and D.C. United (2012-14) and also appeared for Orlando’s minor-league USL team in 2011 and 2016.

“Lewis has a chance to help establish the SeaWolves among the ranks of the thriving Central Florida soccer community,” Kokalis said. “Additionally, his experience and leadership will be invaluable in the locker room even though he is new to the arena game.”

Neal admitted he hasn’t been exposed to the indoor professional game, but he’s eager to get immersed in it

“I’ve played a lot of indoor soccer. There’s going to be an adjustment period, but I still have the real passion and desire to play the game no matter where it is. I’ve played for 20 years, now I can make it 21 in a different atmosphere. That’s the part I’m looking forward to the most. And my family enjoys being in Orlando and we can still be part of the community.

“We helped kick off Orlando City in a really good way, and now we hope to do the same with the SeaWolves and get the Orlando fans to come and enjoy this new team during the outdoor game’s offseason.”

Fellow English pro Boden, 29, also played for Orlando’s USL side from 2011-14, and got in 33 MLS matches from 2015-16. His official signing will come later, as he’s currently under contract with the USL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Gurson is a veteran of the MASL and indoor game. He was the 2014-15 MASL Rookie of the Year out of Robert Morris (Ill.) University, and scored 132 goals in a four-year career with the Seattle Impact, St. Louis Ambush and Cedar Rapids Rampage. The Rampage ownership group also owns the SeaWolves, creating Gurson’s connection to the Orlando team. Gurson, who turned 26 on May 2, captained the Rampage. He was referred to as “Captain America” when playing for the U.S National Arena Soccer Team, where he represented the USA in Tunisia at the World Minifootball Federation World Cup last October, SeaWolves officials said.

He’s currently playing with Olympic FC, an outdoor team in Tasmania, Australia, and is under contract until September.

“The ownership group are great people and they look after their players and that’s why I decided to stay with Chris,” Gurson said this week from Australia.

“I think our fans will gravitate towards Gordy,” Kokalis said. “He plays hard and scores a lot of goals and his personality and flair really make him stand out. I have been able to watch Gordy’s maturity into a leader on the field and he has the ability to make players around him better and the drive to win.”