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Lion Links: 7/2/16

Alex Morgan’s birthday edition: some more weekly awards for the Pride, a court case against some USMNT stars, and more!

Japan v United States Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

It’s Saturday again, and it’s finally the most hectic and wonderful time of the year in the soccer world. The summer transfer window is finally open in Europe after months of hearsay and speculation and MLS’ summer window opens up in just two days. While Orlando City may have started the transfer season on a sour note having to release Adrian Winter, there’s always a sense of positivity and excitement when it comes to new signings. Plus, with the added international spot, the Lions will likely be linked to every single aging Brazilian and European star in the next month. Unfortunately Zlatan Ibrahimovic is already off the market, but I’m sure Orlando will be linked to plenty more names that don’t make a whole lot of sense.

In other news, today is Orlando Pride and U.S. Women’s National Team superstar Alex Morgan’s birthday. Happy birthday to the captain! Now, on to the day’s Lion Links.

Pride Sweep Weekly Awards

If you guessed that Ashlyn Harris won Save of the Week yet again, you’d be right. Really, at this point, it would be more of a surprise if she was nominated and lost. Her full-stretch parry on a bicycle-kick attempt is just another highlight to add to her portfolio this season and she’s been hands-down the best player for the Pride this season.

Joining Harris in the winners’ circle this week is winger Jasmyne Spencer, whose clinical, game-winning finish against the Dash earned her Goal of the Week. It’s nice to see that Orlando soccer’s flair for dramatic finishes isn’t limited to Orlando City. You can check out Spencer’s late winner here:

The Pride have found their offense again and it’s nice to see Spencer step up and get rewarded for all the effort she’s put in this season.

Youth Clubs File Suit against MLSPU, National Team Stars

The question of whether or not youth soccer clubs in America should be compensated for producing professional players has been a heated debate for several years, but now the gears are turning toward a resolution. The Dallas Texans, Crossfire Premier, and Sockers FC are looking for compensation for producing Clint Dempsey, DeAndre Yedlin, and Michael Bradley, respectively, and it could set a massive precedent for development in the U.S. The major issue is an article in FIFA’s Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players, which states that "any club that has contributed to his education and training shall receive a proportion of the compensation paid to his former club."

Basically, if an MLS team sells a player abroad, the youth clubs believe have a right to a cut of the transfer fee. Now, there are a lot of complicated moving parts in this whole scenario, the NCAA and the pay-to-play youth system chief among them, so there’s a lot of things this lawsuit will attempt to nail down. But it could be a milestone for a shakeup in the American youth setup.

Landon Donovan Joins Swans Group

U.S. Men’s National Team legend Landon Donovan announced that he had joined Swansea City’s new American ownership group yesterday via Twitter. It’s the next step in Donovan’s career and a slight step up from managing the MLS Homegrown Game. It’s a great new challenge for him in a unique situation where he can earn his stripes as a higher-up at a moderately large club. He’s still not the face of the ownership — though he’ll reportedly be a consultant on some decisions — but with the fistfuls of cash Premier League teams have to play with and the worldwide brand awareness, it’s not a bad situation to be in at all.

Wales Makes History

It’s been a year of shock and awe in the United Kingdom’s soccer landscape, first with Leicester City trumping the blue bloods for their first Premier League title, then Northern Ireland making a plucky run into the Round of 16 for the Euros. Now, it’s Wales’ turn, as they became the first team to reach the Euro Semifinal in their first tournament appearance since Sweden in 1992. It helps that they’re led by Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey, and Joe Allen, but not many people gave them a chance against a stacked Belgian team. Bale didn’t even have to get on the score sheet to send them through, however, as it was Ashley Williams, Hal Robson-Kanu, and Sam Vokes that pushed the Welsh past the Belgians yesterday. Wales now have 10 goals in the tournament, more than any other nation, and they have a date with Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal in the semifinals. Can Bale and company defeat another top team and make a dream run to the final?

Those are all of your Lion Links for this Saturday. Hope you all have a safe Independence Day weekend!