Yesterday was Groundhog Day which always brings back memories of Bill Murray's masterpiece. Sadly, that movie has been overplayed (though that seems oddly appropriate). Preseason can sometimes feel like Groundhog Day, but I think we're still in the honeymoon phase, and we look for news anywhere we can get it.
Still, it looks like Punxsutawney Phil (Rawlins) did not see his shadow, so we're only five weeks from real soccer. Or something like that.
Before diving into your daily Lion Links, we definitely want to wish a heartfelt happy birthday to Pride forward Lianne Sanderson. Sanderson turns 28 today and should be a key part of the Pride's season. I hope her wish of a Pride championship comes true.
OCSC Preseason Update
Speaking of preseason, the team has been spending the first few days in Melbourne as it starts the process of getting ready for the season. Yesterday, the players did some initial fitness testing as they were put through a beep test. Assistant coach Mark Watson talks a bit about the result in this video. He also discusses the importance of the Brevard facilities and how important they will be for the OCB players that will be using them throughout the season. Paul Tenorio followed suit with a story about the value of giving some of the younger players consistent playing time in the USL.
Of course, the main interest is in the first team, and it looks like everyone's primary interview candidate was Brek Shea. Florida Today put up an article on Shea and Orlando City added a video. There are some common elements across both pieces, but it's awesome to see the team on the field again.
Stay tuned to The Mane Land for more preseason news. Check back here for a story on the beep test at 2 pm.
Nocerino on Hold
Everyone was interested to see the newest member of Orlando City, Antonio Nocerino, in action. Wait, hold on, my editor is calling... wait, what?... discovery?... is he a lost city or something?... ok. So, yeah, about that Nocerino thing. Apparently, MLS didn't like the way that was playing out, so they have told OCSC to cease and desist, as DC United owns the Discovery Rights for Nocerino. No word yet on whether Ben Olsen or Adrian Heath has called "shotgun" for their next lunch outing.
Ian Fuller Joins Minnesota United
Remember about a month and a half ago when Orlando City parted ways with assistant coach Ian Fuller and everyone got themselves in a tizzy? Well we're happy to report that Fuller has landed on his feet with Minnesota United FC. We still don't know why Orlando City parted ways with Fuller, but teams in all sports make coaching changes without releasing extensive details, so there's really no reason to suspect anything other than a simple shift in approach. We wish Fuller luck as he attempts to yet again help guide a new team into MLS.
USWNT Prepares for Olympics
The U.S. Women's National Team set the bar high in 2015 by winning the World Cup. Now in 2016, the team sets its sights on the Olympics. Coach Jill Ellis must balance roster questions with preparations as she looks to firm up her squad for the competition. Between injuries and pregnancies, Ellis must use the limited preparation time she has to put together a team that can do in Brazil what they did in Canada. The interesting nugget in here, for me at least, is Ellis' decision to run a pretty impressive gauntlet with the SheBelieves Cup in March followed by a friendly against Japan. That stretch will see the team play the second, third, fourth, and fifth ranked teams. Of course, the U.S. is ranked number one.
- The USMNT faces off against Canada this Friday, and this rather humorous preview has all the info you need. Personally, I can't believe they forgot to mention the Pork and Beans War.
- Again trying to prove that he can do everything Messi does, Neymar has been charged with tax evasion in Brazil. As a Barca fan, it absolutely pained me to make that joke.
- Budget and site constraints are just a few reasons that stadium renderings often change as the project evolves. And, if it's anything like my home improvement projects, the desire to avoid yet another trip to Home Depot is also a factor.