Welcome, Mane Landers! It's a little known fact that New Year's Eve preparations can be quite draining. It's important to maintain your energy levels, and properly fuel up before engaging in any serious party planning. And so, we have gone through careful consideration to ensure that these Lion Links have sufficient caloric content to help you through.
Rawlins Ready to Step In
Monday's news that Chief Soccer Officer Armando Carneiro was leaving the club after only 55 days came as quite a surprise. In the meantime, without a GM, President and Founder Phil Rawlins told mlssoccer.com that he's ready to assume those duties for Orlando City, Orlando Pride and OCB...for a limited time.
"This is a role I am very accustomed to," Rawlins said. "It's something I have done for seven years in the USL and it is not in any way strange or new to me. I am very happy to step in for the intervening period, which will probably be for around three to six months.
"The main part of the job is to head up the search for a new leader of the club's soccer operations to take care of all three teams, and we will be casting our net very wide for that."
Rawlins is tasked with rounding out three rosters while looking for Carneiro's replacement. Oh, and doing his regular job. Good luck, Phil!
Tim Holt Talks OCB
Before Tim Holt became Orlando City Vice President of Development, he was the president of the USL. He recently attended the USL Winter Summit and sat down with the USL Today to discuss what it's like being on the other side of the table. Holt touches on subjects such as carrying over the tradition of USL success from Orlando City's history, but what gets me the most excited is what he says about creating a vibrant game day experience. My season tickets for Orlando City B are already paid for, and comments like that give me goose bumps about the start of the season.
MLS Mock Draft
I used to write for an NFL site and draft season was almost more insane than the season itself. We would start looking at mock drafts months before the actual draft, and ultimately sift through (no joke) hundreds of mocks. In MLS, though, there are dimensions that make mock drafts much more complicated. Namely, it's hard to know who's even available. All that said, they're still fun. In this version, SBI mocks North Carolina forward Omar Holness to Orlando City. Holness isn't a dominating offensive presence, but does bring impressive pace, which is something that we're seeing the team pursue more. Holness may still return to UNC for his senior season, but if I learned anything from those NFL drafts, we shouldn't start buying jerseys just yet.
TopDrawerSoccer.com has diminutive (5-foot-8, 143 pounds) Virginia attacking midfielder Jake Rozhansky coming to Orlando in version 1.0 of their 2016 mock draft.
U.S. Soccer Federation to Launch Girls' Version of Development Academy
Aided by the USWNT Women's World Cup victory and the growth of the NWSL, interest in women's soccer in this country is at an all-time high. Even from a local perspective, one only needs to look at the crowd at the USWNT's match at the Citrus Bowl in October, and the number of Orlando Pride magnets around town. Well, the U.S. Soccer Federation is looking to ensure that this is not a peak, but rather the beginning of a long, sustained period of prominence, by establishing the girls' equivalent of the Development Academy. Nothing is a done deal yet, and it is uncertain how the organization would work with the Elite Clubs National League, but hopefully this effort culminates in a successful and collaborative system that continues to grow the women's game.
The Impact of Melbourne FC's Championship
In yesterday's links, we celebrated Melbourne FC winning the Australian W-League championship, thus giving Orlando Pride player Steph Catley a title, but today we look at the impact that their victory might have for women's soccer in Australia. In this piece by The Guardian, there is some discussion about the inequality of the league as shown by Melbourne FC's +29 goal differential, but for the most part, the consensus seems to be that they have simply set a new bar that other clubs must follow. As mentioned above, the popularity of women's soccer continues to skyrocket.
That will do it for today's links. Before we part ways, though, I would like to leave you with this clip of Orlando Pride goal keeper Ashlyn Harris. When I first looked at this, my old keeper mind thought, "that isn't too hard." Then I realized that she's BALANCING ON A FREAKING BALL!
These girls are good.