'Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro' the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a Lion;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Brek soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of Kaka passes danc'd in their heads...
- Clement Clarke Moore, if he were an Orlando City SC fan
Still doing some last minute holiday shopping? You're not alone. Why not give that special someone some Lion Links?
Orlando City's new stadium cleared some legal hurdles on Tuesday, receiving approval from two Orlando government authorities.
"As we have stated since the start of the stadium process, we are fully committed to working closely with all our government partners to build a downtown stadium of which the entire community will be proud," Orlando City Founder and President Phil Rawlins said in a press release. "We are thrilled to receive two important approvals last week from the Orlando Municipal Planning Board and Appearance Review Board. We continue to make additional enhancements to the site plans based on feedback received, and will continue to incorporate community input into our plans as we work toward building the best and most exciting stadium in MLS."
If you want to catch up on your reading with some more info (albeit in some serious legalese), click here.
ZELALEM PICKS THE USA!.... or does he?
If there's one way to set the American soccer twittershpere aflame it's to have a potential dual national pledge his loyalty to the USA with an emoji. To the list of potential future saviors which American fans have drooled over -- including the likes of Freddy Adu, Jozy Altidore, Giuseppe Rossi, Juan Agudelo, and Julian Green -- you can add one Gedion Zelalem. The 17-year-old Arsenal youth player lived outside the DC area as kid and, although he has represented Germany internationally at the youth level, he would be eligible to represent the Red, White and Blue were his father to gain citizenship before his 18th birthday. On Tuesday, about 12,000 folks who thought they were following the teenager on Twitter received an early Christmas present, or so it seemed.
— Gedion Zelalem (@GeZelalem) December 23, 2014
Cue the following twitter (over)reaction:
Anyone ordered a @ussoccer jersey with ZELALEM on the back for Xmas?— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) December 23, 2014
If Gedion Zelalem is actually committing to play for the USMNT then that might be the best Christmas present I have ever received.— Andrew Whitworth (@ac_whit) December 23, 2014
GEDION ZELALEM CHOOSING AMERICA IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST EVENTS IN THE HISTORY OF THE USMNT!!!!!!!!! #USMNT— Riley Rossi (@Rossir15) December 23, 2014
All of the Zelalem to USA hysteria was cut short when Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated brought us all a lump of coal instead:
Have confirmed that Gedion Zelalem does not have a Twitter account--and that his authentic Instagram is http://t.co/qPAhoJKDFY— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) December 23, 2014
So what have we learned, other than the fact that there is a fake twitter account with more than 12,000 followers for a 17-year-old kid with loads of potential? Not much. Zelalem is still not quite a U.S. international and, for that matter, he is still not quite a first team footballer either. Such is the life of a USMNT fan in the age of social media. We get hyped up over some teenage kid and follow him on twitter, only to be teased by someone posing as said teenager. Oh well.
Cubo to Houston
In the department of real player movement news, enter Cubo Torres to the Houston Dynamo. Since his former club Chivas USA (mercifully) folded after last season, the future of the newly capped Mexican international was up in the air. Apparently, that has changed. Torres will head to Houston to play for new Dynamo and former Bolton Wanderers manager Owen Coyle as Houston's third Designated Player, after a six month stay with Chivas Guadalajara. Check out our friends Dynamo Theory for all the info, here.
New USMNT Kit?
As is the tradition nowadays, there has been a leak of a potential future USMNT kit. It keeps the old '90s crest we've all grown to love and hate simultaneously, and it's very blue. What do you think? Would the USMNT look good in this leaked kit?
Leaked: The new USA 2015 Away Kit features a bold blue gradient design: http://t.co/UPCfBGTWgU pic.twitter.com/vVyEl4XX8m— Footy Headlines (@Footy_Headlines) December 24, 2014
That's it for today's links. From us here at The Mane Land, have a very Merry Christmas Eve!