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Lion Links: 12/8/16

The happiest birthday for Hadji Barry, Ashlyn Harris’ Liberian adventure, Mix and Burrito gone, and more.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thursday, everyone. If we can just get through today, the weekend will be within our grasp.

I’m always a bit sad on Dec. 8. On this date, 36 years ago, John Lennon was shot dead outside his New York City home. I was in junior high school at the time and I remember Howard Cosell delivering the news as I watched Monday Night Football. I’ll never forget that announcement.

But on to happier news. It’s been a big week for Orlando City B signings and we should be getting some news from the MLS side before too much longer, with Jason Kreis out circling the globe to find fresh talent to put in a purple uniform. A couple of Decembers ago we got us a shiny Brek Shea. What will Santa bring us this year? We’ll have to wait 17 more days to find out. So, for now, let’s just get to some links.

Hadji Barry Gets Early Birthday Present

Orlando City striker Hadji Barry turns 24 years old today and we at The Mane Land would like to wish him a happy birthday. But Hadji may have already gotten the best birthday present ever. Barry came to the United States from his home country of Guinea a decade ago to pursue his dream of becoming a professional soccer player. He realized that dream in 2016 with the Lions, but achieving his goal came with a price. Barry hadn’t seen his mother in 10 years. He was reunited with his parents recently on a trip back to Guinea.

“I came to America in September 2006,” Barry said in an interview with LionNation. “I was thirteen. I’ll never forget that day. It was very emotional. I cried. Leaving my parents was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make in my life.”

Barry said he talks to his parents every day via modern technology, but he looks forward to the day he can look up in the stands and see his parents cheering him on.

Ashlyn Harris Doin’ Good Work

Orlando Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris accompanied USWNT Head Coach Jill Ellis to Liberia recently. The two traveled to the African nation to visit the Monrovia Football Academy to promote the women’s game, as well as women’s rights. In Liberia, as in many parts of the world, the women’s rights movement lags behind places like the United States, so it’s good to see Harris helping to empower young girls. Check out the linked story to see some of Harris’ photos from the trip.

Mix, NYCFC to Part Ways

The Mix Diskerud era in New York City is coming to a close. Patrick Vieira said our fellow 2015 expansion club is working with Mix Diskerud “in order to find a suitable arrangement for the club and player to part ways.” Based on his playing time over the last year and a half, this isn’t terribly surprising. Diskerud was once a highly regarded player for the USMNT, but his club and international fortunes have been sliding almost since his arrival in MLS. Hopefully the glorious-haired one can land on his feet with a new club and revive his career.

Atlanta United to Nab Parkhurst

According to (read: Ives Galarcep), our new noisy neighbors to the north have set their sights on center back Michael Parkhurst, who was recently let go by the Columbus Crew. Galarcep writes that his sources confirm a deal is in place for Atlanta to send allocation money to Columbus in exchange for the rights to Parkhurst. This comes on the heels of the splashy $8.5 million signing of Miguel Almiron. It would be another solid pickup for the expansion side. I’m not going to lie — I kind of wanted Orlando City to go after the former USMNT defender. An experienced MLS center back is exactly what the Lions need while Tommy Redding (and to a lesser extent, Jose Aja) continue to develop.

Bye Bye, Burrito

In a move all too reminiscent of Adrian Winter’s departure from Orlando City this summer, Real Salt Lake and Burrito Martinez have mutually agreed to part ways. Martinez and his family want to return to Argentina to be closer to friends and relatives. The talented Argentine scored 10 goals and added four assists in his 47 matches with RSL. In my opinion, MLS will be the poorer for losing a player of Burrito’s caliber.

Free Kicks

This is awkward — Kaká’s ex-wife’s boyfriend was given a Kaká Orlando City jersey (linked story in Portuguese, but good old Chrome will translate it)...The NASL’s Carolina Railhawks have rebranded as North Carolina FC in hopes of moving to the USL and, eventually, to MLS. They also want to add an NWSL team...Please pay the Nigerian women’s national team so they can go home...China’s trailer for Rogue One...In addition to John Lennon, Slim Pickens died on this date in 1983, so now I’m going to have to watch Blazing Saddles and Dr. Strangelove today, dammit. On a happier note, today’s birthdays include Dwight Howard, Nicki Minaj, Philip Rivers, NASCAR’s Kevin Harvick and Ryan Newman, Sinead O’Connor, and Kim Basinger.

That’s it for me, today. If you need me I’ll be listening to John Lennon and Beatles songs all day. Play us out, John!