Happy Saturday Lions fans! Welcome to another edition of Lion Links where we cover all that happens in the world of soccer during a 24-hour period. Enjoy a brief glimpse into today's world of soccer.
Heath on the Hot Seat?
Before the season has even begun, speculations are being made that Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath may already be on the hot seat, says FourFourTwo. Following last year's disappointing season end, some may have thought Heath could have lost his job as head coach for the Lions. The front office decided to keep Heath on and he is back for a second round, but does that mean he is officially off the hook? While many are predicting a playoff run this year, should they not qualify, expect to see Heath looking for a job this time next year. Until then, Heath needs to take it one game at a time, starting with opening day on March 6. For the record, FourFourTwo's piece predicts Orlando City will make the playoffs and keep Heath safe for another season.
Pride's Morgan and Harris Make SheBelieves Cup Roster
United States Women's National Team Head Coach Jill Ellis has announced the 22-player roster that will partake in the first ever SheBelieves Cup. This tournament will bring four of the top five teams in the World, including France, England, Germany, and of course the USWNT. It will be played in several different cities from March 3-9. Ellis called up 19 of the 20 players on the roster for the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament and added back World Cup winners Whitney Engen and Heather O'Reilly. Receiving her first call up for the full team is Lauren Barnes, defender for the Seattle Reign. Both Alex Morgan and Ashlyn Harris of the Orlando Pride will look to contribute in this incredibly tough competition beginning for the U.S. side on March 3 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
Orlando City Close to Filling the Bowl
For the second consecutive year, Orlando City is close to filling the Citrus Bowl, home field of the Lions, for their home opener on March 6. The game has already sold more than 43,000 tickets, and to help get the bowl a bit more full, Orlando City will be holding certain events, such as the Purple Pride 5K run and the Pub Crawl, in which participants will receive a free ticket to the opener. Have you purchased your ticket yet?
U.S. Soccer Teases New Crest
In addition to new uniforms, U.S. Soccer will be receiving a new crest. In anticipation of this event, all U.S. Soccer social media outlets have removed the former crest from their avatars and have released a teaser video, showing the old crest being removed form outside headquarters in Chicago. Speculation as to what the new crest and uniform will look like have circulated around the internet, including a black, red, and blue jersey with a simple crest with the letters "USA" in blue.
U.S. Women's Soccer Recognized Again
The United States Women's National Team was once again recognized for being the best at the espnW IMPACT25 event. IMPACT25 recognizes the impact that the USWNT has had on America. Players Hope Solo, Christie Rampone, and Shannon Box all attended the event and spoke on their excitement and joy at seeing how far the women's game has come.
Former Orlando City Player Finds Home in Tampa
Former Orlando City midfielder Eric Avila has signed with the Tampa Rowdies.. Avila played for Orlando City on loan from Mexican side Santos Laguna during the Lions' inaugural season. He played in 21 games for the Lions netting one goal in the club's first home win in MLS over the LA Galaxy. Before playing in Orlando, Avila played for FC Dallas, Toronto FC and Chivas USA. The Rowdies are excited to have a veteran MLS player with great skill and technical ability.
FIFA Has a New President
Following Sepp Blatter's
eight- six-year ban from soccer, Gianni Infantino was elected president of FIFA yesterday. Infantino, a 45-year-old lawyer from Switzerland, has vowed to "work tirelessly to bring football back to FIFA and FIFA back to football." He plans to work to restore the corrupt image of FIFA and work together with the other representatives to gain back respect, through hard work, commitment, and complete focus on the game of soccer. Critics of FIFA and former FIFA members alike all seem in support of Infantino.
Well that's it for today! Enjoy your Saturday and get ready, because next week is game week!