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Lion Links: 12/3/15

The Orlando City Foundation wants you to shop, MLS gets high marks for diverse hiring, OCSC girls U-12 team earns silverware at Disney, and mascot auditions--all in today's links!

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Happy #ThirstyThursday everyone. One day closer to the end of the work week, and exactly four weeks left in the year! You know, as the year draws to a close, I'm reminded of all the new friends OCSC made along the way. Like Houston Dynamo's Tyler Deric whose own-goal secured Orlando City's first MLS victory, and who could forget NYCFC's Ned Grabavoy fouling Kevin Molino just outside the box for a free kick that set up Kaká's first MLS goal? Of course, there's Edvin Jurisevic who allowed a goal off a ball that was kicked out of Tally Hall's hands. In honor of our new friends, today's wine and cheese pairing is Velveeta and Mad Dog 20-20's Habanero Lime-arita.

Good times. Let's get started with these links.

The Orlando City Foundation is "Shopping for a Cause"

Along Park Avenue today, shoppers can receive a bingo card from Luma (and a glass of champagne). If they receive eight punches on their card from participating businesses, they will be entered in a drawing for a prize pack that includes season tickets to the upcoming Orlando Pride inaugural NWSL season. Donations and proceeds will go towards the club's philanthropic and community relations arms. OCSC is also continuing its toy drive, where any donations can be made at either the club's headquarters in downtown Orlando, the Orlando City Youth Soccer training grounds in Sanford, or any Tradewinds Credit Union in the Central Florida area.

MLS Gets Highest Grade in Men's Sports for Diversity Hiring Practices.

Major League Soccer was recently graded a "B" overall in terms of the league's gender hiring, and was the only league in men's sports to obtain a "B" other than the NBA. The league also received a "B+" in racial diversity hiring practices and an "A+" for diversity initiatives for the seventh straight year. Other statistics in the report show persons of color hold 47 of the league's 122 professional positions, and women that hold another 46 of those jobs. Notably, Orlando City's Flávio Augusto da Silva is one of four people who are majority owners and a person of color in MLS.

OCSC U-12 Girls Team Captures Disney Junior Showcase Trophy

Over the weekend the Purple Academy U-12 girls team participated in an 8-on-8 bracket against the top youth sides in the state of Florida and swept the competition. The girls won each of their group fixtures over FC Florida (2-1), Space Coast (4-2), and West Florida Flames (3-2). The girls defeated the Chargers in dramatic fashion after going to penalties in the semi-final, before overcoming rivals Florida Rush 2-1 to capture the trophy.

Venezuela's National Team is Heading Into a Bit of a Problem

Players from the Venezuelan national team have threatened to quit unless directors from their federation step down. This could have interesting implications, as Orlando City's Aurelien Collin has previously expressed interest in representing La Vinotinto. Venezuela's team is the only South American team to never play in a World Cup and it doesn't appear as if that's going to change heading into 2018, as they currently have zero points after four matches in their group.

Extra Time +3'

Don Garber still wants David Beckham to put a team in Miami. Which, as I've said before, might not happen.

To the surprise of exactly nobody, Toronto FC's Sebastian Giovinco has won 2015 Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player Award.

Orlando City Soccer Club is looking for a new mascot performer to portray Kingston! If you think you have what it takes--and at least two years experience--submit your résumé to the club and audition your anthropomorphic lion heart out.

There you have it folks, enjoy your Thursday. Play us out, Rafa!