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Lion Links: 2/26/15

Edwards signs, Collin profiled, a soccer club boom in North America, and more in your Thursday morning Lion Links.

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Thursday, Lion Nation!

May you get more work done than Orlando City SC and the Charleston Battery did last night in their 26-minute, 1-1 draw.

Our Lions might have played less than a third of a regulation game, but they looked more fluid than on Saturday and are still in a position to win the Carolina Challenge Cup with a win on Saturday against the Houston Dynamo.

I don't know about you, but I sure do want that shiny trophy, because I want all of the trophies.

But before we get on with bringing home the hardware, here are your Lion Links for today.

Edwards Makes Lasting Impression

Third-round picks in the MLS SuperDraft are generally longshots to make the team, but the Orlando City coaches obviously liked what they saw in goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. The club announced the signing of Edwards Jr. yesterday.

It was a much-deserved honor for the UCLA product, who has performed well throughout the preseason. Aside from stopping shots, Edwards is a vocal communicator and keeps his back line organized. His signing might mean that Josh Ford or Donovan Ricketts could be moved when Tally Hall returns.

While it isn't officially announced yet, Orlando Sentinel soccer writer Paul Tenorio says fourth-round pick Sidney Rivera has also signed.

MLS All-Star Enjoys Challenge of Orlando City

Franco Panizo from the Soccer by Ives website wrote this article profiling Orlando City center back Aurelien Collin. The piece is a good look at how the Frenchman is looking to repeat being a leader on a back line in need of a good foundation.

"I was the leader in Kansas City. Here, I'll be the same," Collin recently told SBI. "The players are a bit younger, so I have to be even better than I was in Kansas City as a leader and really take care of any details and it's a big responsibility. But I came here for a new challenge and I'm with the team and organization that honestly is the biggest I've played for and everybody wants to become the best.

"Here, nothing is easy, of course. I didn't come here to play and (just) have a great time. I'm here to win, and to win you have to be the best."

Fun fact: Collin will turn 29 on Orlando City's opening day.

Soccer Clubs Experience Boom in U.S. and Canada

When publications like the Wall Street Journal are talking about soccer growing, you kind of have to take notice. This article talks about the growing rate of men's soccer clubs in the United States and Canada. The article lists Orlando City as a model organization that other clubs are following.

Clubs with MLS aspirations have role models: The new Orlando City SC franchise, for example, spent the last four seasons in the USL. The Sacramento Republic, which last year won the USL title in its first season while averaging more than 11,000 fans, recently announced investments from the owners of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers and the NBA's Sacramento Kings. Its executives have long made their MLS ambitions known.

Greek First Division Suspended Due to Violence

For the third time this season, play has been halted in the Greek first division due to violence at matches. The latest outbreak of violence took place this past weekend at the Greek Derby between Olympiakos and Panathinaikos.

Flying flares and chairs should not be a thing at a soccer match, but that's what happened. Oh, by the way, Panathinaikos won, 2-1.

Free Kicks

The International Football Association Board has a pilot program in place to study video review in soccer... Striker Edson Buddle set for LA Galaxy return...Mexico coach Miguel Herrera says Club América defender Ventura Alvarado -- who holds dual citizenship in Mexico and the U.S. -- doesn't feature in his immediate plans. 

Attention, Jurgen!

That's it for today, kids. Be careful out there.