Justo Nuñez had never been a season ticket holder and didn’t really have a preferred U.S. soccer team before his career took him to Florida.
A Cuban-American who established roots with his wife and four kids in North Carolina, the majority of his soccer memories were similar to most parents raising kids during the 1990’s. He loved watching his children from the sidelines during soccer tournaments and fell in love with the global game through the televised World Cup and English Premier League matches.
It wasn’t until a new job brought him down to Orlando that his love for the sport took on a whole new life.
In 2008, Justo began more than a decade-long ritual commuting between North Carolina and Orlando for a job that allowed him to better support his family financially. It was a sacrifice, no doubt, but in his eyes it was worth it in order to provide his children with more opportunities than he had when he first moved to the U.S. from Cuba.
The distance wasn’t the sole challenge either. Now hundreds of miles away from his family and friends in North Carolina, Justo was searching for a new community of friends in his now second home. Over time, he developed strong relationships with his colleagues and peers through church, but he was still searching for more.
That’s when Orlando City came into his life.
When word spread that Orlando was going to be the 21st team in Major League Soccer and the owners announced big signings like Kaka, Justo knew he wanted to get involved. He soon signed up for an individual season ticket and bought as much purple merchandise as possible.
What came next is beyond what he had imagined.
Throughout his time as a season-ticket holder, Justo found a home away from home at Orlando City’s brand new stadium. His section-mates became his friends and the supporters were his community.
To this day, even though he has since retired and moved back to North Carolina, he still makes time to connect with the friends he made during his years at Orlando City games.
Justo’s connection to the Orlando City community lives on, even over the distance of miles and time. That’s the power of soccer fandom.