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Lion Links: 11/19/16

Mark Ridgers talks leaving OCB, Alleway scores in the W-League, soccer’s unspoken problem, and more.

Matt Starkey, The Mane Land

It’s the weekend again, Mane Landers, and I hope you’re all enjoying your last weekend without being bombarded by Christmas music. I’m all for the holidays but I’m going to enjoy my last week. Plus, to keep your mind off holiday travel or family coming to visit, we’ve got a bunch of Links on tap for you all today.

Mark Ridgers Speaks About American Soccer, OCB

Mark Ridgers was not among the small number of players retained by Orlando City B after the team’s inaugural year, but it’s possible he could have been offered an MLS deal had he stayed in the country. Ridgers was the starting keeper for OCB this year and had some decent matches, earning an invitation to practice with the first team at the end of the year. But when Jason Kreis told him that he was the second choice for a new goalkeeper on the MLS side, Ridgers elected to return home to Britain with his new wife. Ridgers has some great insight on the differences between British and American soccer and why he chose to turn down Orlando City’s conditional offer to stay.

Pride Players Excelling in W-League

Orlando Pride defenders Laura Alleway and Steph Catley took on NWSL teammate forward Jasmyne Spencer in the Australian W-League. Alleway scored for Melbourne City in the 18th minute and the defenders took home a win on the weekend. Elsewhere, Maddy Evans and the Brisbane Roar were held to a scoreless draw by Perth Glory.

Alecko Eskandarian on Soccer’s Unspoken Problem

The Player’s Tribune is one of the greatest additions to sports journalism in the last decade. Giving current athletes a voice on relevant issues inside and outside their sport has been great. The latest great piece is by former first overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft, Alecko Eskandarian. He talks about his first match as a professional and how a brutal head injury began to end his career almost immediately. Concussions have been a huge national issue in the NFL recently but that’s not the only sport that they’re sustained in. Great MLS players like Taylor Twellman had their careers cut short by concussions and Eskandarian is no different.

He talks about his childhood with Pele all the way up to his multiple concussions. The crazy thing is that he passed the cognitive tests after each but the damage was obvious after his third in 2005. Concussion awareness is slowly spreading to professional soccer in America and hopefully Eskandarian’s testimony will shed more light on the seriousness of the issue.

Liga MX Open to Tournament with MLS

They don’t have Copa Libertadores to look forward to, so Mexican clubs are trying to fill the holes in their schedule another way. Rumor has it the league is open to an inter-league cup with MLS. That could involve MLS clubs in Copa MX but there are apparently other options to peruse. MLS and Liga MX teams are already nearly guaranteed to play in the knockout rounds of the CONCACAF Champions League, but it would be nice for teams not normally in the continental cup to get a shot at each other, even if it’s just in the preseason.

Potential MLS St. Louis Ownership Group Eyes Stadium

The newest buzz about potential expansion franchises has come to St. Louis. An ownership group has come together around St. Louis FC and plans on bringing a new top-level pro team to the city. The only catch is that they want $80 million in tax payer money to build a soccer-specific stadium. Whether or not that will get by the people of St. Louis is another thing; after all, they’re still on the hook for the Rams’ old home for a few more years without a team to see. There are a lot of good things about Orlando City’s new stadium but the best might be that the people of Orlando didn’t have to pay a dime.

Those are your links on this fine Saturday morning. Everyone here at The Mane Land is hoping you all have a great weekend.