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A Visit with Mikey Halliday

Orlando City SC’s Rising Star and Central Florida Native

For 20-year-old Mikey Halliday, playing pro soccer in his hometown is a dream come true … and he’s just getting started. A starting defender for Orlando City Soccer of the MLS, Halliday is a Central Florida native who grew up in Apopka and is also on the U.S. men’s national U-20 team roster. He began his journey at the age of 12 when he joined the Orlando City Development League. That’s where we started our conversation.

How did you get on the team’s radar at such a young age?

I played against them. I used to play for a youth team called FC America and we played against an Orlando City youth team. We got absolutely smacked, but their coach liked the way I played and asked me to come try out.

Do you think making that team pushed you to grow up and mature faster than other kids the same age?

Yeah, I would think so. Just because it was much more serious. Like with the team, we were a really good team, so being in that environment all the time made me focus at an early age and learn how to be disciplined with myself.

Did you also have an opportunity to just be a fan of the sport and of the team?

I’ve always been a fan of this club. My family always had season tickets and we’d go to all the games. So it was definitely cool being in the stadium and watching the games. Now playing in Exploria Stadium is really a cool feeling. One of my favorite memories was the first MLS game in Camping World Stadium. That was crazy because the stadium was full and it was something new for the city. And then I’d say the first game in Exploria Stadium. Those are both just big, big steps for the club. So it’s very memorable.

What does it mean to you to be preparing for the U-20 World Cup in Argentina?

It’s definitely a great honor to be preparing for something like that and also a big responsibility to be playing for our whole country. Just getting there was important and now trying to do well, just preparing the best we can. It’s definitely an honor and a responsibility.

Is it a goal of yours to someday make it to the U.S. Men’s National Team?

That’s definitely one of the biggest goals I have for my career, for sure. That’s just a huge thing to be able to do if you play for the top team and play for your country. Especially with the 2026 World Cup being here (in North America), that’s definitely a goal of mine, playing here in front of my family. That’d be crazy!

When you were first called up to Orlando City’s first team, what was that like being so young and playing with players who are five to ten years older than you?

The first time I ever played, which was in New York, I was nervous playing against dudes much older, much bigger than me. I still felt like a kid at the time. So being in that situation, it’s clearly going to come with nerves, but it was definitely cool. It feels surreal at that point in time because, in the past, you think of wanting that and then when it’s happening it’s just … it’s crazy.

As you settle into your role with the team, what are your goals? What are the areas where you’d like to grow and improve?

The main goal is to keep a starting spot, which has always been a goal in getting on the team. And now I’m playing a lot, so that’s good for me. Of course, getting noticed by teams from Europe is a goal for most players because who doesn’t want to play over in Europe? It’s the biggest stage in the sport.

Outside of soccer, what do you like to do for fun?

I live on a lake, so I like to go out on the boat, like to fish, stuff like that. Wake surfing’s my favorite, just relaxing, but it’s fun. Anything outdoors really. I grew up being an outdoors kid, playing sports, anything like that. I don’t like to sit inside much. It’s boring to me.

What are some of the more interesting places that you’ve traveled to internationally?

This last trip with the national team in Spain, we got to go out and it was cool. It’s cool getting to experience all these places. We went to Mexico with first team earlier this year. That was pretty good. It’s interesting to see how different the world is in different places. It opens up your eyes to what the world is really like. Among the MLS cities, one of my favorites is Toronto. It’s just huge and it’s really clean. Toronto is one of my favorites, for sure.

“I’ve always been a fan of this club. My family always had season tickets and we’d go to all the games. Now playing in Exploria Stadium is really a cool feeling.”

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