The Orlando City Soccer Club (SC) is a professional soccer team that was established in 2013 and is based in Orlando, Florida. The team competes in the Major League Soccer (MLS)’s Eastern Conference and has become one of the top-performing teams in the League. From Kaká to Lewis Neal, there have been many talented Orlando City soccer players that have played for this team. Here are the top 10 best Orlando City SC players of all time.
Top 10 Best Orlando City SC Players of All Time
- Cyle Larin
- Dom Dwyer
- Cristian Higuita
- Joe Bendik
- Luke Boden
- Dennis Chin
- Pedro Gallese
- Lewis Neal
- Orlando City SC’s International Awareness Award winner
- 2015 MLS All-Star MVP
Kaká, whose legal name is Ricardo Izecson dos, Santos Leite, is a retired Brazilian professional soccer player who played for Orlando City SC between 2015 and 2017. He is known for being one of the best midfielders for a variety of US and international soccer teams. Before joining the Lions, he played for São Paulo FC, AC Milan, and Real Madrid.
Throughout his career, Kaká has made 461 appearances, scored 149 goals, and made 44 Cup appearances. While playing for the Orlando-based team, Kaká made a total of 75 appearances and scored 24 goals. In 2015, he made two Cup appearances and even scored one goal for the Lions. Although his time playing for the Orlando City team wasn’t for long, Kaká is one of the most beloved soccer players of all time. He has stated that he will always be a Lion and has much love for the MLS team.
2. Cyle Larin
- The first pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft
- 2015 MLS Rookie of the Year Award
Cyle Larin is a Canadian professional soccer player who played for Orlando City SC between 2015 and 2017, which happened to overlap with Kaká’s time on the team. He was selected by the Lions as the first draft pick during the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, and his first season earned him the MLS Rookie of the Year Award. During his first season, Larin broke the previous MLS record by scoring 17 goals in 27 games.
From 2015 to 2017, he appeared in 89 games and scored 44 goals for the Lions. During his tenure at Orlando, Larin scored his first professional hat trick during a game against the New York City FC. His last match for the Lions was a philanthropic match against Puerto Rico which raised funds to help rebuild areas after Hurricane Maria. As of now, Larin has a career total of 233 appearances in games and has scored 94 goals.
3. Dom Dwyer
- 2013 MLS Cup champion
- Most expensive transfer from Sporting Kansas City to Orlando City
Dom Dwyer, who is an English-born professional soccer player, played the position of forward for Orlando City SC between 2017 and 2020. During his career as a Lion, Dwyer made a total of 67 appearances and scored 24 goals. He was traded from Sporting Kansas City to Orlando City SC for $900,000 and promised a further $700,000 in future funds, which makes this the most expensive transfer in Major League Soccer to date. Dwyer played in the 2017 MLS All-Star Game against Real Madrid, and he scored a tying goal during the game, but the team eventually lost to Real Madrid.
During the 2020 season, he endured a knee injury that required surgery and led to Dwyer sitting out most games. After that season, Dwyer decided to transfer to Toronto FC. Although he played for Orlando City SC for just a few seasons, Dwyer is still remembered as one of the best players on the soccer field.
4. Cristian Higuita
- #21 on MLSSoccer.com’s top 24 players under 24
- Protected player in the 2016 MLS Expansion Draft
- 108 appearances for Orlando
Cristian Higuita is a Colombian professional soccer player who played the position of a midfielder for Orlando City SC between 2015 and 2019. What’s most notable about Higuito’s career is that he started in the Lions’ first Major Soccer League (MLS) game in 2015, which was a notable moment for the Orlando-based soccer team. During his career for the Lions, Higuita made 108 appearances (which makes him the team’s leading appearance-maker) and scored six goals. He even scored his first goal during the inaugural 2015 season, which helped the Lions secure the win against Columbus Crew.
He also has played in five Cup games while on the Orlando City SC team. In 2016, Higuita played for the Orlando City B team briefly, and today he plays for the Atletico Junior. Even though he no longer plays for the Lions, Higuita is considered one of the best Orlando City SC players of all time.
5. Joe Bendik
- 11-time MLS Save of the Week Award winner
- 2015 MLS Save of the Year Award winner
- Second most appearances for Orlando (92)
Jon Bendik is an American professional soccer player who played as a goalkeeper for Orlando City SC between 2016 and 2018. Bendik was traded to the Orlando-based soccer team in exchange for a fourth-round pick during the 2017 MLS SuperDraft. He made 92 appearances and played every minute of the soccer team’s 34 MLS league games throughout his career for the Lions. Bendik made 114 saves and contributed to five shutouts, which helped the Orlando City SC become a serious competitor in Major League Soccer.
Bendik is considered a fan favorite of Orlando City SC due to his tenacious goalkeeping style. After playing for the Lions, Bendik moved on to play for the Columbus Crew SC and the Philadelphia Union. His career total includes 192 appearances in both league and Cup games. Fans of the Orlando City SC still celebrate the major contribution Bendik brought to the team during his tenure in Orlando.
- Four-time Premier League champion
- 2007-2008 UEFA Champions League winner
- 2008 FIFA Club World Cup champion
Nani, whose legal name is Luís Carlos Almeida da Cunha, is a Portuguese professional soccer player who played for Orlando City SC between 2019 and 2021 as a winger. As a Lions team member, Nani made a total of 88 appearances and scored 28 goals. During his first appearance in 2019, Nani earned an assist to Dom Dwyer’s goal in a tied game of 2-2 against New York City FC. He scored his first goals and helped the Lions win against the Colorado Rapids during a game in April 2019.
During the 2020 season, Nani helped the Orlando City team finish as the runner-up to the Portland Timbers in the MLS is Back Tournament. Since departing from the Lions, he has played for Venezia and Melbourne Victory. Throughout his career, Nani has earned four Premier League titles, the 2008 FIFA Club World Cup, two League Cups, and three Community Shields.
7. Luke Boden
- MLS Team of the Week member
- Contributed to five shutouts
Luke Boden is an English retired professional soccer player who played the positions of left back and midfielder for Orlando City SC between 2011 and 2016. Before playing soccer in the US, Boden played for Sheffield Wednesday, which is a soccer team located in his hometown, in the English League. He also briefly played for Chesterfield and Rushden & Diamonds.
Boden transferred from the United Soccer League (USL) to the Orlando-based team in 2011, and during his career, he scored one goal and had four assists. He also made 25 league appearances (with 24 of them as starts) and played a total of 2,238 minutes for the Lions. Although he is retired now, Boden is the assistant coach for the Rollins College men’s soccer team in Orlando, Florida. He is still remembered as one of the pioneering soccer players for Orlando City SC and remains a fan favorite.
8. Dennis Chin
- Five-time USL Pro champion
- 2012 USL Pro All-League First-Team
- 2012 USL Pro MVP nominee
Dennis Chin is a Jamaican professional soccer player who played the position of forward for Orlando City SC between 2011 and 2014. During his career for the Lions, he has made a total of 84 appearances and scored 22 goals for the Orlando-based team. Chin scored four goals and had two assists during his rookie year on the Orlando City SC, and he was even nicknamed the “super-sub” for his talented play. By the end of 2012, Chin helped lead the Lions to victory with their first USL Pro championship.
During his second year, he was no longer known as a substitute with minimal gameplay; Chin became the top scorer for the Lions. Chin, unfortunately, left the soccer club just before the Lions joined the Major League Soccer organization. To this day, Chin is remembered alongside Luke Boden for paving the way for the Orlando City SC to succeed as a winning team in Major League Soccer.
9. Pedro Gallese
- 2020 MLS Is Back Golden Glove nominee
- 2021 MLS All-Star
Pedro Gallese is a Peruvian professional soccer player who has played the position of goalkeeper for Orlando City SC since 2020. His debut for the Lions resulted in a tied game of 0-0 against Real Salt Lake. He has made 15 league appearances and 15 starts and has played a total of 1,350 minutes for the Lions. Gallese also has yet to sub off during a league or Cup game. He has been nominated for the MLS Team of the Week twice and has even received two mentions for the MLS Team of the Week Bench.
Gallese’s awards don’t even stop there. He was acknowledged as the MLS Is Back Golden Glove nominee and the MLS Is Back XI nominee in 2020. Gallese continues to be a force to be reckoned with on the soccer field, which makes him a necessary addition to add to the list of best Orlando City SC players of all time.
10. Lewis Neal
- 2011 USL Pro Team nominee
- 2014 Clubman of the Year
Lewis Neal is an English retired professional soccer player who played the position of midfielder for Orlando City SC in 2011 and between 2015 and 2017. Before joining the Lions, Neal played for Stoke City (which is his home team) in England. He was selected by the Orlando-based team in the 2014 MLS Expansion Draft. He helped Orlando City SC play in its first USL campaign. He even scored the club’s first-ever goal in the Lions’ inaugural season and led the team to the regular season championship game and USL Pro championship game.
Throughout his professional soccer career, Neal has had an astounding 396 appearances in league and Cup games. Similar to other players mentioned on this list, Neal is remembered as one of the pioneers of the Orlando City SC and has greatly contributed to the team’s successes today.
- Anthony Pulis
- Antonio Nocerino
- Ian Fuller
- James O’Connor
- Jamie Watson
- Júlio Baptista
- Miguel Gallardo
- Rob Valentino
- Robin Jansson
- Tesho Akindele