Well yesterday's big news was unexpected, so in case you have been under a rock or just still in a Christmas food coma, we here at The Mane Land have you covered with our daily recap of what you need to know.
So let's dive on in.
Front Office Follies
The revolving door at Orlando City HQ continued yesterday when it was revealed that recently appointed Chief Soccer Officer Armando Carneiro had stepped down from his role due to personal reasons. Carneiro's departure comes at a strange time since he was only appointed less than two months ago, and his appointment ultimately saw previous Orlando City GM Paul McDonough leave to take a role with new MLS side Atlanta United, since his position became obsolete with the hiring of Carneiro. The hole left in Orlando City's hierarchy will be filled by Orlando City patriarch Phil Rawlins until a successor can be appointed and hopefully will stem the tide of departures which have seen coach Ian Fuller and others leave in recent weeks.
Past Lions Find New Teams in the Sunshine State
Yesterday saw some old friendly faces find new teams. It was revealed Monday that recently released 24-year-old forward Danny Mwanga has signed with the Tampa Bay Rowdies. After a quiet single season with the Lions, Mwanga will be hoping to get his career back on track after going through four MLS teams since being the No.1 pick in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft.
Another former Lion also switched teams when defender Bryan Burke signed for Jacksonville Armada FC from former Orlando City USL affiliate Louisville City FC. Burke had an amazing 2015 with Louisville City FC, which saw him garner USL Defender of the Year honors after helping Louisville to the fourth-best defense while providing 10 assists. Burke will be in good company with other former Lions Miguel Gallardo, Akeil Barrett and Mechack Jerome already on the Armada roster.
We wish all former Lions all the best for the upcoming season.
Catley Leaves Home a Hero
Australian international defender Steph Catley will be leaving her antipodean homeland to join the Orlando Pride a champion after helping Melbourne City to the regular season Westfield W-League title. The championship win caps a good year for Catley, who made her FIFA Women's World Cup debut for Australia while also becoming the first woman to be on the cover of FIFA in the Australian market. Here is hoping that her successes continue when she steps out for the Pride next year and when she travels to Rio to take part in the 2016 Olympics.
Not a Year to Remember for Soccer
It hasn't been a year to remember for soccer in general. With players getting shot, the FIFA scandal and its ensuing indictments, and the suicide attacks outside the Stade de France in Paris. Controversy is never far away and decisions can always been argued, so here is hoping for a better 2016 for soccer.
However, all hope is not lost. We need to remember that the U.S. has seen an explosive growth in the popularity of soccer this year and even though some big name players have recently departed the domestic league, we should not yet despair and realize that the acquisition of MLS players by other leagues highlights a significant swing from "retirement league" to one of development and growth, and that this development, despite Abby Wambach's feelings, means that the USMNT could also get better.
Well, that is it for me. However, make sure you keep it tuned to The Mane Land for any breaking news that relates to Orlando City, Orlando Pride or OCB.