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Lion Links: 11/28/17

Bledsoe loaned to Sydney FC, Vanney named Coach of the Year, NWSL coaching hires, and more.

Toronto FC v Columbus Crew SC - Eastern Conference Finals - Leg 1 Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, Mane Landers. I hope everyone is doing well today. I’m afraid we don’t have anything too crazy that happened over the weekend, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t links to discuss!

Loan Move for Bledsoe

Orlando Pride goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe has been loaned to Westfield W-League team Sydney FC for the duration of the NWSL off-season. Bledsoe played in 11 games of the most recent NWSL season, compiling a respectable 5-4-2 record and keeping two clean sheets while doing so. The loan move is designed to keep players sharp and match fit during the NWSL off-season, and Bledsoe is the fifth Pride player to go on loan in the top-flight Australian women’s league for this off-season. Bledsoe joins a Sydney team that could use some help at the goalkeeper position, as they have conceded 10 goals in their first four games of the season. Best of luck to you Aubrey!

Recognition for Orlando City Stadium

In an article covering the biggest off-the-field moments in 2017, MLSSoccer.com gave Orlando City its due, as it talks about the club opening its new stadium. Among the things discussed were The Wall and the stadium’s safe-standing supporters section, which just so happens to be the first of its kind in MLS. Since its opening, Orlando City Stadium and especially The Wall have received rave reviews, specifically for the overall atmosphere and noise in the stadium, and the boisterous nature of The Wall. LAFC’s new stadium will also incorporate one of these safe-standing sections, but the Lions did it first. Copycats.

Vanney Named MLS Coach of the Year

Toronto FC’s Greg Vanney has been named the 2017 MLS Coach of the Year. Vanney led his team to a prestigious regular season, setting the record for points with 69 and tying the number for most wins in a season with 20. Toronto is attempting to become the first MLS team to win the domestic treble, having already won the Canadian Championship and the Supporters’ Shield. Vanney is now in his third full year with the club and has a 51-35-26 regular season record. Vanney won the award with 37.1% of the overall vote, with Atlanta United’s Tata Martino coming in second with 22.3%.

Laura Harvey Named Head Coach of Utah’s NWSL Team

Two-time NWSL Coach of the Year Laura Harvey will serve as the first head coach for Real Salt Lake’s NWSL franchise, which will begin play in 2018. Harvey was previously the coach of the Seattle Reign, and got the team to the NWSL final twice in her five years with the team, although they were not able to win the NWSL championship in either season. Harvey has also spent time with England’s women’s youth teams, and Birmingham City and Arsenal’s women’s teams. During her playing career she suited up for both Wolverhampton Wanderers and Birmingham City. We wish Laura luck with her new club in its maiden season. Not too much luck, though.

Dash Hire Pauw as Head Coach

More NWSL managerial news, as the Houston Dash have announced the hiring of Dutch coach Vera Pauw. While this will be Pauw’s first gig coaching at the club level, she has extensive experience coaching international sides, as she managed the women’s sides for Scotland, her native Netherlands, Russia, and South Africa. She was named on the shortlist for the FIFA Best Women’s Coach in 2016 following her time with South Africa. Pauw joins a struggling Dash side that has finished eighth out of 10 teams for the last two seasons, and has never qualified for the NWSL playoffs.

Free Kicks
  • Today marks the one-year anniversary of the Chapecoense tragedy, which saw all but three players lose their lives in a plane crash. The club has since bounced back better than many expected and is riding a nine-game unbeaten streak in the Campeonato Brasileiro, and is still in the fight to qualify for the Copa Libertadores.
  • Real Madrid has made a statue that actually looks like Cristiano Ronaldo. And thank god they did, because the last one was...haunting.
  • Today’s birthdays include Miami Dolphins player Jarvis Landry, hockey player Marc-Andre Fleury, and TV host Jon Stewart.

That’s all for me today. Y’all come back now, you hear?