Hello all, and welcome to today's edition of Lion Links! It's already the end of the shortened week and as a reward for working so hard for four days, here are some fantastic links providing everything you would want to read heading into the weekend.
Molino Earns Lions' Second Straight Goal of the Week Award
Kevin Molino's last minute header won the popular vote, ensuring that Orlando City has now taken home its second consecutive AT&T Goal of the Week award. The Trinidadian's goal against NYCFC endured a solid draw for the Lions away from home and left City fans with a lovely image before the international break. Plus, who doesn't like to get one over NYCFC?
MLS to Experiment with Video Officiating
Seeing that Orlando City fans have often been on the receiving end of some appalling officiating decisions, fans will rejoice at the news of some new officiating technology being introduced in MLS. Though the technology will most likely not affect any actual game decisions until 2017, it's certainly a step in the right direction. Countless games have been decided by referees that weren't in a good position to see a certain handball, corner dispute, challenge, etc., and it's good to see the governing body of the world's game embrace technology that can only improve the sport. This news also allows for the speculation that MLS may one day soon utilize goal line technology for the confirmation of goals. If they're to use systems such as video replay officials, then one can only assume that they will also install a technological improvement that has already been tested.
Getting Serious with America's Youth Soccer Inefficiency
As someone who has close ties to the ins and outs of youth soccer development in the U.S., this article by Les Carpenter of The Guardian holds nothing back concerning a serious issue for the United States. Youth Soccer in the states is often far too expensive for families even in the middle-class financial bracket, and that's a subject that has been a serious detriment to the development of raw talent stateside. Stories like that of Manchester City star Raheem Sterling, a kid who grew in a poor part of London with his single mother, got a chance to develop his natural abilities because he and his family weren't the ones footing the bill.
It's the summer we've all been waiting for. Euro 2016 and the Copa America are set to start very soon in what is set to be an exciting summer of soccer/ football/ futbol. Regardless of what you want to call it, The Guardian has been kind enough to produce this wonderfully detailed preview of Euro 2016, detailing every single player and team within the tournament. They've also done a less comprehensive but equally enjoyable Copa preview for all you America-loving fans out there.
Looking Toward the Horizon
MLS has seen itself grow in a number of ways throughout the past few years. More teams, more recognizable players, more money, and, most importantly of all, more fans. It's a league that's sailing uncharted waters. Soccer in the U.S. has only recently taken off and discerning whether it will simply be a fad or a legitimate part of the sports landscape is yet to be determined, and something that will test the mettle of the American sports model in the process.
That's all I've got for you today. We'll have your USMNT Copa America Centenario preview up later so check back with The Mane Land.