Happy #ThirstyThursday everyone! Today, I'm going to recommend baking yourself some goat cheese and matching that with a nice Merlot. Why goat cheese, you ask? Well, the G.O.A.T. and Orlando City captain, Kaká, is hosting his second live Q&A on his Facebook page. Do yourself a favor and go check it out.
Orlando City is Google's Second Most Trending Team In The World
Here's an interesting tidbit for you: Orlando City Soccer Club was the second most trending team in the world, according to Google. Finishing only behind FC Barcelona, Orlando City saw the highest spike in traffic between 2014 and 2015. Club President and Founder Phil Rawlins had this to say:
"This is one of the proudest moments for our front office staff, technical team, players and fans (...) It’s a testament to the hard work we’ve all done to elevate this team and capture the hearts of a growing global fan base, and I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of our soccer community."
The club is no stranger to engaging with its fans online, with social media initiatives like #FillTheBowl before Orlando City's inaugural MLS game in the Citrus Bowl versus NYCFC, #MakeItCount during the late season playoff push, and #Larin4ROY which saw our favorite Canadian win MLS Rookie of the Year. Continue to #DefyExpectations, Orlando.
Orlando City Parts Ways With Assistant Coach Ian Fuller
Ian Fuller was dismissed from Adrian Heath's coaching staff yesterday. Details surrounding his dismissal haven't surfaced, but the move is surprising, as Fuller and Heath are very close and Fuller was well respected by players. Fuller had been with the Austin Aztex before the team moved to Orlando City, and was a player-coach under Heath for three years before becoming an assistant in 2014.
Orlando Pride Add Khano Smith as Assistant Coach
In a move that we here at The Mane Land covered yesterday, former MLS veteran Khano Smith has joined coach Tom Sermanni's coaching staff. Smith is coming from a successful Southern New Hampshire University team and has experience as a scout and Player Development Coordinator with New England.
Celebrating Abby Wambach's Career
Last night saw the end of two prolific careers; USWNT's Abby Wambach and Japan's Homare Sawa both retired yesterday. Wambach retires as the all-time leading goal scorer in international play for both men and women, with 184 goals. She is a six-time U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year, and a recipient of the FIFA World Player of the Year award. Along with personal honors, she has also been a member of two Olympic gold medal teams and a World Cup champion. Off the pitch, Wambach became an ambassador for Athlete Ally, a nonprofit organization to end homophobia and transphobia in sports, and educate athletic communities to stand up against LGBT discrimination. Watch her USWNT teammates say goodbye to her here:
Carli Lloyd wins 2015 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year
Adding onto an already positive year, Carli Lloyd was voted the 2015 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year, winning the award over teammates Becky Sauerbrunn, Megan Rapinoe, Lauren Holiday, and Hope Solo. Lloyd garnered 59 percent of the vote, while Sauerbrunn finished in second. Unfortunately, the U.S. Women's National Team couldn't follow up Lloyd's win with one of its own, as the USWNT fell to China Wednesday night, 1-0, in New Orleans.
Louisville City Looking Towards Potential MLS Move
Ah, MLS Expansion, the manifest destiny of the beautiful game. Our former Kentuckian partners have started looking into building themselves up, and with MLS Commissioner Don Garber's recent statements about wanting to expand the league to 28 teams in the near future, Louisville City would like to throw its name into the group of would-be expansion teams. Ultimately, the city is looking into starting plans for a stadium, regardless if MLS is in its future or not. It's encouraging to see that even cities that host USL teams are looking into building soccer specific stadiums. Although Louisville may seem like a fringe candidate to join, let us not forget Orlando City's own path to expansion: a smaller market with an enthusiastic fan-base. Coupled with having clubs nearby in Columbus, Chicago, Kansas City, and Atlanta, Louisville is in a prime location to have nearby rivals ready and waiting.
Former Orlando City GM Paul McDonough to Join Atlanta United FC
So, it didn't quite turn out like the ending to Any Given Sunday, but McDonough joining Atlanta United FC as their Director of Soccer Operations is a good move for him and their club. McDonough will work under Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra, and will focus on many of the same areas that he did during his tenure with Orlando City, such as player acquisitions, scouting, salary cap, and day-to-day club operations.
Kaylyn Kyle is out traveling the world, which is awesome. She got to feed a horse in Dublin!...Did you know today marks the 28th anniversary of Final Fantasy releasing on the Famicon?...Birthdays include UFC's Chuck Liddell turning 46, Manny Pacquaio is 37...and finally Kim Jong-il died four years ago today.
That's it for today. Play us out, John Terry