In the past week, we've watched as the MLS SuperDraft and the NWSL College Draft have taken place. Both of the men's teams and the women's team are starting to take shape and we're really starting to get a feel for how these lineups are going to look once real games start taking place. In a few weeks, we'll start to see the first trial runs of how these pieces might actually fit together.
In the meantime, let The Mane Land hold you over with some sweet, sweet links.
OCB Adds a Few More Ingredients
The OCB stew is starting to take shape. Last week saw the team toss a few more ingredients into the pot, and we're starting to get a feel for what the final flavors will be. Still, we're not working off a final recipe yet, as this one is still in the test kitchen. Yesterday, the team tossed in a few more spices with the additions of Antonio Matarazzo and Tobenna Uzo in the third and fourth rounds of the MLS SuperDraft, respectively. Whether they're part of the final menu item remains to be seen, but it will be fun to watch. Not only that, but I'm freaking starving now.
Breaking in the EFSC Field
Before OCB gets their food on (or soccer, if you will), the senior team will use their field for regular season prep. Paul Tenorio lets us know that more than a few teams will be using Florida for preseason training (I can't imagine why). More importantly, though, we learn that Orlando City will be splitting preseason time between Sanford and Melbourne. File this one under "things that make me go 'WOOOOOO!!!'"
Major Outlets Talk OCSC
It would be more of a Lion Link if he said he thought the team was probably going to fall short again, but instead Kaká followed the narrative expected of the team's most popular player when he told SI.com's Grant Wahl that he expects the team to be stronger this season and make the playoffs. This saves us from having to spend appreciable time rebuffing the alternative, so I appreciate his consideration there. Jokes aside, the fact is that considering the return of Kevin Molino, the return of core members, and the MLS experience gained from the top players and coaches, there is no reason to believe that the team shouldn't be expecting a playoff run.
In other SI news, we learn that Cyle Larin is "excited" that other, non-MLS teams might be interested in his services. Let's see, young, budding soccer star scores a lot of goals and suddenly other teams want him. Nope, can't say I've heard that one before. Still, taking a cue from his elder, Larin reached into the stock answer vault and gave the expected response.
ESPN followed suit by also talking to Kaká, and mostly got the same off-the-shelf answers, though this one is a little more interesting because he talks about how he reached out to David Beckham and Thierry Henry about what to expect with a move to MLS. Kaká then finishes off the interview by saying that he thinks the league will be among the world's best in five to ten years. It would have been better if he had dropped his mike and walked off set at that point, but I guess that's not his style.
Lianne Sanderson Shares Sage Advice
Though they have yet to play a minute of organized soccer together, one thing I'm starting to pick up on about this Orlando Pride team is that they have a real sense of personality and community. It is starting to feel like every week when I start putting these links together, there is a link of a Pride player standing up for women's soccer rights or visiting an old school. This week is no different as Lianne Sanderson sits for an interview with a young girl from Football Beyond Borders. Sanderson gives excellent advice about believing in yourself and chasing your dreams. Football Beyond Borders is an organization that uses soccer to help less fortunate youths in London. Check out the video below.
More Discussion on Soccer Equality
To the point above, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that some of the Pride players would have some involvement in the second FIFA women's football conference in the future. This year many will be tied up with the She Believes Cup and preparing for the upcoming season, but if we've learned anything about these women, they will be involved in these types of activities.
That will do it. If you're still itching for some soccer after reading these links, shoot over here and sign up to be an Orlando City volunteer. If you already are, thanks for what you do to make the experience great.