It's a sure fire sign that the season is getting closer now that the open training session is finally upon us well as getting to see your boys strut their stuff on the turf of the Citrus Bowl, the club will also be unveiling the new away jersey and will be holding a season ticket holders only autograph session after training. The session will start at 6:30 PM, which means you have plenty of time to read today's Lion Links! Let's get started.
Josée Bélanger Joins the Pride
The Orlando Pride continued its roster building yesterday with the signing of Canadian International Josée Bélanger. 29-year-old Bélanger joins the Pride as a Canadian Allocated Player and has spent most of her career as a forward. Recently however she has switched to playing on the back line, most recently in the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, and with the depth that the Pride has up front expect Bélanger to line up there for the Pride this season.
USWNT Responds in Union Dispute
Last week's filing by the United States Soccer Federation in federal court sought to clarify the current CBA position between USSF and the USWNT. Well yesterday the USWNT union, the WNTPA, fired back with a scathing response. The response highlights numerous problems (you can get the whole pleading here) including that the filing of the suit by USSF was untimely as the players had not threatened to strike, and that USSF acknowledged in its own financial statements that no CBA exists between the players. Though time will tell how this turns out, The Mane Land will keep you up to date as the situation continues to develop, as well as on the USWNT's progress through CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying, which starts tomorrow.
MLS Off-season Loans on the Decline
Despite the travel demands placed on MLS players throughout the season, many well-known aging MLS stars of yesteryear often chose to spend their offseason plying their trade overseas. This has been on the decline in recent years (this year only Portland Timbers Defender Liam Ridgewell returned home) seemingly due to the increased competitiveness of the league and it seems that players have instead chosen to spend the offseason resting. Hopefully these decisions will help MLS continue to shake off the retirement league tag despite some people thinking otherwise.
Despite the glitz and the glamour of Sunday's Super Bowl and the massive TV ratings, there are still dark clouds hanging over America's biggest sport. With the number of concussions on the rise and increased CTE diagnoses, a decreasing talent pool, millennials and a shifting American ethnic demographic, the NFL heyday may be over. However, you don't need to worry. Why? Because you are already reading blogs of the sport on the rise. Yup you guessed it, soccer. The downfall of the NFL will be soccer's gain here in the United States and it seems that with a new TV contract for MLS and better stars playing in the league, the changes are already afoot.
That's it for today Mane Landers. Keep a page open at www.themaneland.com, or follow us @themaneland on Twitter to make sure that you know everything Orlando City. May your Tuesday be less combative than this game from the women's second division in France:
Bare knuckle fight from the French Women's 2nd Division! pic.twitter.com/ywobaFU1rk— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) February 8, 2016