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Lion Links: 1/19/17

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Alex Morgan’s award, Orlando City Academy, Tim Howard throws shade, FIFA goes old school, and more!

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Romania v United States Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Happy Thursday, Mane Landers! It was quite a busy day yesterday, and there’s plenty to go over. However, can you feel it? Each day passes and we get closer to Orlando City soccer kicking off. Each day seems to bring more and more news as things start to ramp up. I urge you to take the time and enjoy it. On to the Links!

Alex Morgan wins a Major Award

The Pride’s (and Lyon’s) own Alex Morgan has won the 2016 CONCACAF Player of the Year award along with Bryan Ruiz on the men’s side. Alex finished with 17 goals in 2016. She scored five goals in the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, two in the Olympics and four with the Orlando Pride. Ashlyn Harris also won Goalkeeper of the Year along with Keylor Navas. In addition, Ali Krieger was named to the Best XI. News of the CONCACAF Awards has trickled out over the last few weeks but it is now official.

Orlando City Academy Making Waves

Orlando City Academy welcomed U.S. Youth National Team member Joe Gallardo to its ranks. After an injury in 2014, Gallardo lost his spot on the National Team, and even though he worked his way back by 2016, he wasn’t starting anymore. It was after this that Gallardo quietly made his way to the Orlando City Academy. Though the program hasn’t been around very long, it’s making a good name for itself.

Tim Howard Talks USMNT and Jurgen Klinsmann

Current Colorado Rapids and USMNT player Tim Howard recently spoke out about the state of the U.S. National Team. Howard believes that Klinsmann’s plan of bringing in U.S. citizenship-eligible players from abroad was good on paper but lacking in results. Howard spent many seasons in the English Premier League with Everton, and has more than 100 caps with the USMNT. Having played for both Bruce Arena and Jurgen Klinsmann, he certainly can speak to the differences. It boils down to heart for the longtime keeper. He said he believes that Arena will utilize more players that have a passion for the United States. Here’s hoping that he is right, and that will make the difference.

O’Reilly Heads for Arsenal Ladies FC

If Bruce Arena is keen on using more MLS players, it seems the ladies are heading overseas. We all know about the Pride’s Alex Morgan signing with Lyon. Now former USWNT member Heather O’Reilly has signed with Arsenal Ladies FC. O’Reilly has retired from international play after 231 caps with the USWNT and stints at Sky Blue FC of the Women’s Professional Soccer league, as well as Boston Breakers and FC Kansas City in the NWSL. The longtime USWNT member never considered playing abroad while with the National Team, but is now taking advantage of the opportunity. For their part, Arsenal Ladies FC is excited to have an experienced, world-class player with their club. Good luck, Heather!

FIFA Takes a Page from the old NASL

FIFA is considering bringing back one of the most interesting (or strange) styles of determining a winner in a soccer game. It’s the old U.S. style shootout. Most of you might not be old enough to remember the old NASL shootout style, so I thought it would be worth a look:

It might seem crazy, but the World Cup might expand to 48 teams, broken into 16 groups of three teams. Because of that, there is the possibility that two teams could realize that they could both advance with a draw at the expense of the third team. The shootout would alleviate that problem. Plus, we might be able to witness the glory of those shootouts again.

Other MLS Stuff, Because Why Not?

So it appears that former, then current, then not again LA Galaxy veteran Landon Donovan might continue his career after all. Real Salt Lake coach Jeff Cassar is hopeful the Utah club can get Donovan signed for the coming season.

The LA Galaxy aren’t just losing one former USMNT member, but gaining a current one. Jermaine Jones has officially signed with the club following stints with Colorado Rapids and New England Revolution.

Well that’s going to do it for today. It was fun stopping in the middle of the week, but I’ll see you all next Monday. Until then, keep stopping by for all the soccer coverage you can handle.