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Lion Links: 12/21/16

Alex Morgan ships off to France, Orlando City’s stadium gets its pitch, the Lions are looking at a Ligue 1 defender, and more!

Soccer: International Friendly Women's Soccer-Romania at USA
Alex Morgan Is Off To France
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Wednesday everybody! Hope you all have a great holiday season and Merry Christmas! Today is OCB Assistant Coach Rob Valentino’s 31st birthday! Happy Birthday and best wishes to Rob!

Au Revoir, Alex Morgan

Although it has been pretty well known, yesterday it became official that Alex Morgan will leave the Orlando Pride to go play with Olympique Lyonnais in France for the rest of their 2016-17 season. She will return to Florida once the French season is over, rejoining her American club this summer. Morgan will still be available for all of her national team duties. She is joining one of the most successful women’s football teams in Europe. The French side won the treble last year, winning Champions League, French League, and the Coupe de France. They have also won their league title for 10 years straight. They currently sit in second place, three points back of PSG, who beat them this past weekend, 1-0.

Orlando City Close to Signing French Defender

Orlando City is very close to signing another defender this off-season. This time it is Grégory Sertic, a center back and defensive midfielder who plays in France’s Ligue 1 for FC Girondins de Bordeaux. The Frenchman has made 14 appearances this season, starting 13 matches. With Bordeaux, he won the 2008-09 Ligue 1 title, appearing in six matches as a 20-year-old. He has never played for the French senior national team, but has made appearances for the U-21 team. It has not been confirmed by the club or the player, but it is looking like the deal will be finished shortly. The Frenchman follows many members of the Orlando City organization on Twitter, including Kreis, Kaká, and club president Phil Rawlins (make of that what you will). Our take on it is right here.

Grass Installed at Orlando City’s New Stadium

We get closer to the opening of our shiny new stadium every day. Yesterday the venue took a huge step toward becoming the Lions’ home when the grass installation for the pitch began. In all, 2.2 acres of grass are being relocated from Quality Turf Farms in Avon Park, FL, to the new stadium. It will take up to seven truck-loads of grass over what is expected to be a three-day process. The new facility is starting to come together and it’s gorgeous. I mean, just look at this:

Image courtesy of Orlando City SC
Kreis Completes Coaching Course

The first U.S. Soccer Pro License Coaching Course was completed this weekend in Chicago. The course was attended by 13 coaches from MLS and the U.S. national youth programs. This course is now the highest form of soccer licensing in North America, replacing the previous highest level, U.S. Soccer A license. One of these coaches to finish was none other than Orlando City’s own manager Jason Kreis, who was one of eight MLS managers to complete the inaugural course over the last 12 months. Eventually, this license will become mandatory for coaches in all of the American professional soccer leagues: MLS, NASL, USL, and NWSL.

American Timmy Chandler Signs Extension

USMNT’s Timmy Chandler has signed a contract extension with his club, Eintracht Frankfurt. The German team is currently in third place in the Bundesliga. The American right back has made 54 appearances for the club since 2014. He has also earned 27 Caps with the USMNT, but missed this summer’s Copa América Centenario due to injury.

Thanks for reading! Have a great rest of your week and holiday season!