Happy Friday, Mane Landers! Oh, to be young again. Even if I had the ability to relive my youth I probably would not have become a standout defender good enough to be drafted by the Orlando Pride with the 10th overall selection. I bring this up as today is Pride defender Samantha Witteman's birthday--so be sure to wish her well! I'll cope by stocking up on Girl Scout cookies as we begin National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend. Without wanting to start a cookie war, feel free to share your favorite variety in the comments section. On to the links!
Previews Roll In As Season Nears
With Orlando City's season opener against Real Salt Lake only nine days away, the previews continue to roll in prior to the beginning of the 2016 season. The latest comes from American Soccer Analysis, which provides a statistical preview of what fans can expect from the club this season. What do you make of the article's conclusion for OCSC? Do you have higher hopes/expectations? Is Orlando City more than a mid-tier Eastern Conference team?
Boden's Noble Cause
Luke Boden's son, Kaleb, is currently battling against a rare eye disease called nystagmus. According to the American Optometric Association, "nystagmus is a vision condition in which the eyes make repetitive, uncontrolled movements, often resulting in reduced vision." Boden's wife, Kerem, set up a gofundme page to raise money to help doctors find a cure. Kaleb is adorable and nystagmus stinks; do what you can, Lion Nation!
Ashlyn Harris Apparel
For all you fashionistas out there, be sure to check out Ashlyn Harris' new apparel. The Orlando Pride goalkeeper has a variety of designs available offering fans an alternative way to show support for the returning Floridian.
CONCACAF Reform Measures Unanimously Passed
As a result of the corruption scandal uncovered last year, CONCACAF member nations have unanimously passed reform measures, which will be implemented immediately. From a statement released by the regional association (originally quoted in the linked story):
The reforms passed today go further than ever before to incorporate essential principles of good governance and compliance into CONCACAF's statutes. However, it is only the beginning of the equally important process of changing the culture of how football is governed and administered by implementing these reforms in a meaningful and sustainable way.
Professional Futsal League to "Americanize" Game
When is a sport no longer the sport it claims to be? That question will seemingly be pertinent to the Professional Futsal League, slated to begin play in 2017. The U.S. league already has big names of world soccer attached to it, and deep-pocketed owners and league investors aplenty. As the fledging league establishes its foundation, reports suggest that the league will strive to "Americanize" the game by implementing a unique set of rules. Any suggestions for christening the proposed hybrid game? Will the league be simply be a flash in the pan, or do you think it has lasting potential?
MLS News and Notes
- Don Garber is in Zürich as a representative of MLS at the newly formed World Leagues Forum, a new organization formed with the intention to represent the interests and collective views of professional soccer leagues around the world. Speaking of this morning's FIFA Congress, Garber hopes the new head of the sport's governing body will initiate "sweeping change."
- The San Jose Earthquakes have acquired Panamanian international midfielder Alberto Quintero on loan for the upcoming season from Mexican second division side Lobos BUAP. Quintero played in all six of Panama's matches at last summer's Gold Cup, in which his side finished in third place.
- Future post-L.A. Galaxy career for Steven Gerrard? If his managing plans fall apart he has an in with the world of journalism.
- FIFA is currently holding elections for its new president. Here's a good primer on the election process, who is running, and what outcomes you can possibly expect. For what it's worth, Sunil Gulati said Thursday that the U.S. Soccer Federation will throw its support behind Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein. Tokyo Sexwale would certainly win if this election were for best name.
- Today's birthdays around the soccer world include former Manchester United player and current Molde coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (b. 1973), current Crystal Palace striker Emmanuel Adebayor (b. 1984), Spanish international Fernando Llorente (b. 1985), and Brazilian midfielder Diego (b. 1985). Also celebrating a birthday is American singer Michael Bolton (b. 1953) to which I leave you to enjoy your weekends with the following: