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Lion Links: 12/4/16

Orlando City supports youth soccer in Lake Nona, the tenuous future of the NASL, Chapecoense crowned champions, and more.

Fans Pay Tribute To Brazilian Football Team Chapecoense Following Fatal Plane Crash Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Welcome to the Sunday Edition of Lion Links. This has been a difficult week for the soccer world, but it was encouraging to see many clubs and players sending their support to those most affected by the Chapecoense tragedy.

Here are your Sunday Links:

Orlando City Promoting Youth Soccer in Lake Nona

Orlando City Soccer Club continues to be an ambassador for soccer in central Florida with an the announcement of a new partnership with the Lake Nona Youth Sports League. The OCSC-backed league will offer youth soccer opportunities for ages U-9 through U-18. Check out the link for more information—space is limited.

Speaking about the goal of the partnership, Stephen Harrison, Orlando City Community Soccer Director explained:

“We’ve got to get people engaged at young ages so that once they’re finished playing . . . they end up giving back to the community and make sure other kids play.”

Lake Nona is also the future home of OCSC’s new 23-acre training facility. The facility is scheduled to be complete in 2017.

U.S. Women Finish Fourth at U-20 Women’s World Cup

The U.S. women fell to Japan in the third-place match of the U-20 World Cup this weekend. The game was headed to penalty kicks (the consolation game would have gone straight to penalties), but Japan’s pressure paid off as Mami Ueno scored the winner in the 87th minute. Japan out-shot the U.S. women 29 to 3.

U.S. head coach Michelle French had this to say about the quality of the Japanese team:

“Anybody that watched the games knows that Japan is absolutely world class...I couldn’t be more impressed with Japan as a team, but on the flip side our players took every single punch that they threw until that goal at the end.”

The Uncertain Future of the NASL

The future of the NASL remains uncertain as rumors of teams leaving for the USL or folding for good continue to swirl. Sports Illustrated writer Brian Straus reports that club executives are waiting for the first move to be made before throwing their support behind a limping NASL. Members of the USL and the NASL are scheduled to meet with U.S. Soccer this week in New York to discuss plans for next season. There are serious doubts as to whether Rayo OKC, the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers, the Jacksonville Armada, and the New York Cosmos will return to the league next year.

Chapecoense Crowned Champions of Copa Sudamericana

In a moving gesture, CONMEBOL has declared Chapecoense the champions of the 2016 Copa Sudamericana. The confederation also announced that the $2 million in prize money will be given to the club. Support for the Brazilian side was seen all over the world this weekend through moments of silence and player tributes during goal celebrations. It seemed inevitable that CONMEBOL would come out with this announcement with many South American clubs publicly requesting the declaration.

Chapecoense Survivor to Return to Soccer

Chapecoense crash survivor, Neto, is expected continue his playing career, according to the defender’s father. Only six people survived the crash, and three of them were players. As reported by FOX Sports, sadly, it appears that only Neto will have the opportunity to continue a playing career.

Until next time, have a great rest of the weekend, OCSC friends.