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Lion Links: 11/18/15

In today's Lion Links, we celebrate Sarah Hagen's birthday, lament the USMNT performance, talk long about women in the game, and much more. Even socks!

Matthias Kern/Getty Images

Before we get into the down and dirty of Lion Links, we here at The Mane Land would like to extend a warm and heartfelt happy birthday to Orlando Pride striker Sarah Hagen, who turns 26 today. I remember when I turned 26. I was a poor engineer, kicking off an MBA program. Hagen, on the other hand, was already an accomplished soccer player at Appleton North High School in Appleton, WI, and battling ovarian cancer. In other words, she was already way tougher and cooler than I.

Hagen has since gone on to defeat cancer, star at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and play for the USWNT before finding her way to Orlando. She's just now entering her prime, and we should all be thrilled to see her play for the local side.

So, for her birthday, we all got together and decided that we're going to dedicate the intro of these Lion Links to her. Let that be a lesson to all you kids out there. Dreams can come true.

USMNT Draws Against Trinidad and Tobago

The U.S. Men's National Team turned in a rather lackluster performance against Trinidad and Tobago yesterday, earning a 0-0 draw. Despite winning the possession battle, the USMNT was out-shot 13-6. There was no Orlando City representation as Brek Shea was unable to get off the bench. Maybe next time they should just play Trinidad or Tobago.

Meanwhile, in European Action...

We often turn to sports as an outlet for the trials we face on a daily basis. Life is hard and sometimes cruel, but sports provide us an outlet to escape those challenges. That support was on display again Tuesday, when France and England squared off. England won 2-0, with scores from Dele Alli and Wayne Rooney. Unfortunately, not all games went off as scheduled, as a planned explosion caused the cancellation of the Germany-Netherlands match. Naturally, any soccer game is secondary to safety, and thankfully, tragedy was avoided.

Maddy Evans Eats Worms

My Strong is Beautiful has an interesting interview with Orlando Pride defender Maddy Evans. One nugget I found interesting in here is the fact that she didn't focus on competitive soccer until high school. Often we (or, at least, I) think that professional athletes tend to dedicate their entire lives to their craft, but Evans proves that it's perfectly fine to experiment with different activities growing up. We also learn that Evans' eight-year-old cartoon self can laugh off a broken leg while high-fiving ghost fans.

FIFA Looks to Increase Women Posts

While FIFA has long been the global leader in backdoor deals and under-the-table payments of questionable legality, one area they have fallen short in is gender equality (despite Sepp Blatter's claims). Now that FIFA seems to actually be intent on cleaning up its act, many are pushing for 30% of executive committee posts to be filled by women. A letter by the Athlete Ally organization claims that "In the 111 years since FIFA was formed, women are still vastly under-represented at every level of the world’s most loved game." There's no question that the women's game is quickly becoming more popular, and it only makes sense that they have increased representation in regulatory matters.

EFSC Women Roll

Speaking of women's soccer, over at Orlando City B's future home, the Eastern Florida State women's soccer team simply dominated Spartanburg Methodist in their first game. The Titans scored seven goals on more than 30 shots while preserving a shutout on the other end. As the top seed, they're favored to win the tournament which concludes this weekend.

One Sock to Rule Them All

In the world of soccer apparel, socks generally rank between that skinny little headband and moisture-wicking underwear. But Sports Illustrated is looking to change that paradigm by bringing the fascinating story of TruSox to the forefront. TruSox is more than just a tale of slip-resistant footwear. It is an inspirational narrative about one entrepreneur's willingness to stay true to his dream despite resistance from large corporate bullies. I joke, but these things actually look kind of cool. If somebody wants to buy me a pair, hit me up and I'll give you my mailing address.

That will do it for today's links. Let's hope that we all got different cupcakes for Sarah Hagen's birthday, otherwise it's going to be awkward.