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Lion Links: 1/3/16

In this edition of Lion Links, we have every important date for a soccer fan, Steven Gerrard announces his future, and members of Orlando City and Orlando Pride make Top 100 Central Florida figures to watch. Finally, we give you some soccer tactics from a former MLS Superstar.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In my Mane Land debut of Lion Links, we'll take a look at important future dates for soccer in 2016. Steven Gerrard's playing career might be coming to an end, and Orlando soccer is well represented in a list highlighting Central Florida sports figures.  We conclude today with a video of former MLS superstar Thierry Henry explaining a top manager's philosophy.

2016 Soccer Almanac has broken down the biggest dates for soccer in 2016. The guide has important dates, such as the beginning of the MLS season, the two leg Men's Olympic Qualifier, Copa America, and Euro 2016.  There are a lot of events this year, and other than Orlando City matches, I am looking forward to finding out which team will be the darlings of Euro 2016.  Can Spain three-peat, or will a dark-horse win, like Greece in 2004?  One of the best tournaments in the world will surely bring the drama. Similarly, the U.S. Men's National Team has never missed the "The Hex," and this year we will see them continue on the road to qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.  First up will be fourth-round matches in March and September to see who will qualify for the final round of CONCACAF qualifying, and the 'Hexagonal' will begin Nov. 7.

Steven Gerrard Likely Retiring

Steven Gerrard, the heart and soul of Liverpool, has been training with Jurgen Klopp's team in the MLS off-season. Sky Sports reported that this will be Gerrard's last year as a player, and that he is focusing his time on obtaining the various coaching licenses necessary to begin his managerial career. He hasn't yet been offered a role at Liverpool, but this is likely our last year seeing Gerrard orchestrate the Los Angeles Galaxy midfield.

Orlando City and Orlando Pride Make the List

The Orlando Sentinel compiled a list of 100 Central Florida Sports Figures to watch in 2016. Orlando City and the Orlando Pride are well represented on the list. Kaká, Darwin Cerén, Kevin Molino, and Alex Morgan make the cut. The front office also makes an appearance, as Adrian Heath, Tom Sermanni, and Phil Rawlins make the list, as well. Central Florida natives Dax McCarty and Graham Zusi are also listed.

Thierry Henry Explains the Guardiola Way

Finally, in my mission to educate the casual soccer fan, I give you this excellent video of a different style of soccer explained by former New York Red Bulls star Thierry Henry. Henry dives into Pep Guardiola's brand of soccer. The style of team soccer and freedom in the final third is something that stretches the the back four and creates lanes to attack.  This is a great video on finding those weaknesses and points of attack.