Good morning, soccer fans. While there were no games of note yesterday, the soccer news cycle knows no off-season. We know that getting your fill is just as critical as that morning coffee and bacon and egg sandwich, so we've done the work of filtering out all the essential nuggets. Enjoy.
Cyle Larin Caps a Brilliant Season with a Well-Deserved Award
As expected, Cyle Larin was named MLS Rookie of the Year yesterday. Larin secured the award by absolutely destroying the rookie scoring record by bagging 17 this season. He fell just five goals shy of the overall MLS lead of 22, set by Sebastian Giovinco, despite playing 869 fewer minutes. But who's counting? While there are still elements of his game that need refinement, he's clearly excelling at that most crucial of striker skills. We can only hope that he continues to mature and that he spends a long and distinguished career with our beloved Lions.
Mason Stajduhar Has the Face of a 12-Year-Old, but the Name of a Man
There's nothing too deep and insightful in this video, but it's cool to see the goalie of the future at the beginning of what will undoubtedly be an illustrious career filled with purple glory. Stajduhar (who will need a nickname if I'm going to be expected to write that name all season) has quite the pedigree for such a young player, after being named to the U-18 USSDA Best XI this past year. I look forward to watching him play this season with OCB. If he plays well, I'll take him to Chuck E. Cheese's after the game.
Robert Frost Approves of the U.S. U-23 Path to the Olympics
While the path to the Olympics has been more difficult than one would like, the U.S. U-23 is preparing for the upcoming playoff against Colombia with two friendlies against Brazil. Nine players have been named to that squad, including MLS Rookie of the Year runners-up, Fatai Alashe and Matt Polster. One can only hope that being out of the shadow of Larin inspires these two to Olympic greatness.
Gimnastic de Tarragona Must Have Been Busy
If the USL is expanding like the universe, the NASL is moving more like my waistline on Thanksgiving. Still, the lure of expansion is too strong to resist, and the league announced the addition of Rayo OKC yesterday. While I'm not one to tout the virtues of the USL over the NASL (I mean, come on, they only have 14 teams), let's be honest; while Rayo Vallecano is in fact a La Liga team, it's not like they just pulled FC Barcelona here.
Kudos to U.S. Soccer
On a more serious note, U.S. Soccer announced that the days of kids replicating their favorite headers are no more. Concussions are a serious issue for such young and developing brains, and I, for one, applaud the organization for doing right by these children. Enforcement may be a challenge, but while corners at the local U-10 games will be less exciting, this is a great step to mitigate a serious and complicated issue.
And in News Only Slightly Tangential to Orlando City...
This week kicks off the NJCAA Women's Division I National Soccer Championship tournament. The Eastern Florida State Titans not only host the tournament, but also enter as the number one seed. Why should you care? Because it's soccer, that's why! Oh, and because it's inexpensive, close to home, and a chance to see the field where OCB will launch their initial USL-dominating campaign next year.
That's it for now. Keep your interwebs dial tuned in to The Mane Land for all your Orlando City and soccer needs.