Hang tight, Mane Landers, as the off-season prepares to rise from its seemingly interminable slumber. We're only one day away from knowing the full MLS schedule, and a week away from the Marvel version of all drafts: the SuperDraft. Shortly after that, it will be preseason and then real, honest, life-altering soccer will be among us again. May these Lion Links whet your appetite for the smorgasbord to come.
Orlando City to Add Italian Midfielder?
The transfer window is nearly upon us, which means that rumors shall abound, though whether they materialize remains to be seen. Yesterday, Orlando City was linked with interest in Italian midfielder Antonio Nocerino. Nocerino is a member of AC Milan, but has recently been on loan to Parma. Man, if only there was a blog that could give us insight on how such a player might fit in with the Orlando City midfield. #foreshadowing. We'll have more on this later this morning. Stay tuned!
What to do with the MLS SuperDraft
Anyone who follows any team sport in the U.S. knows that drafts are money makers. They're as important to the building of the league's brand as they are to the building of the teams involved. The MLS SuperDraft doesn't have quite the cache of the NFL Draft, but it's clear that the league wants to mimic the excitement driven by these other leagues. The problem is that, unlike these other leagues, players have many more options to enter the league other than the draft. Teams are also trying to lock up players through these other means, such as signing Homegrown Players, to avoid letting them enter the crapshoot of the draft. Soccer America touches on this a bit deeper in this article, and while I suspect that business will continue as usual, it will be interesting to see this play out over the years.
USL Terminates Rochester Rhino's Ownership Group
Nothing to see here. Just the USL kicking out the ownership group of the defending champions. Apparently, the Adirondack Sports Club, which has owned the Rochester Rhinos since 2008, has failed to meet operating standards, so the league came down with the thunder. There are no details on exactly what those violations were, but the league will operate the team until a new ownership team can be found. The Rhinos dominated the league last season with 61 points and knocked out OCSC affiliate Louisville City FC (which was second with 48 points) from the playoffs.
Two Former MLS Players Hired for USMNT Youth Teams
Brad Friedel and Omid Namazi have been named head coaches for the USMNT U-19 and U-18 men's national teams. These teams are new levels that the the U.S. Soccer Federation has created, presumably, to increase exposure for young players that may not have been able to break through in the U-20 ranks. Friedel is well known as a long-time keeper for the USMNT who was instrumental during the spectacular 2002 World Cup run. He's recently been assisting in U.S. youth camps and with Tottenham Hotspur's academy. Namazi has recently been an assistant for the U.S. Women's National Team and the men's U-20 team. Before that, he was an assistant with the Iranian national team and helped them qualify for the World Cup. Namazi's journey is less revered than Friedel, but he is clearly comfortable with change as evident by his expansive playing and coaching career.
That will do it for today. Remember to stick around here for insight on all the prospective moves by all Orlando City teams.