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Lion Links: 12/16/17

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What’s next for Kaká, Orlando City passes on Re-Entry Draft, Pride cuts Crown, ex-USL Lions sign, and more.

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Saturday to you, readers of our website. I hope that you’ve either seen the new Star Wars movie or that no one in your life spoils it for you. I won’t spoil it for you but I can tell you I enjoyed it immensely. Please don’t spoil anything in the comments section, as that’s just not cool.

While you wait for the theater to open so you can see Star Wars: The Last Jedi (or see it again), you can pick up one of our cool new Soccer Capital of the South t-shirts. Otherwise, here are some piping hot Lion Links for your enjoyment.

Kaká to Announce Future Plans on Sunday

Former Orlando City captain Kaká will reveal what the next chapter of his life will look like in an interview that will air on Sunday.

(Translated)

With proposals to be a player or manager of Sao Paulo and Milan, precisely the clubs he most shone, the player who played three World Cups spoke about his past and his future exactly a decade after receiving the award from Pele. Do not miss out on this Sunday at Esporte Espetacular .

I don’t know about you but I am very intrigued to know what’s next for the Brazilian.

Orlando City Passes in Re-Entry Draft Stage 1

The Lions noped out of the first phase of the MLS Re-Entry Draft on Friday, which doesn’t mean that they won’t pick someone up next Thursday in Stage 2. Players chosen in the second phase can have their contracts renegotiated, so a better deal for the club can be struck. Only two players were selected, with Colorado grabbing Mike Grella — who might have been a good pick-up for Orlando — but then dealing the former Red Bull to Columbus in exchange for a second-round pick. That’s a good bit of business for the Rapids, in my opinion. The other player chosen was Tyrone Mears from Seattle by Minnesota United.

Orlando Pride Remove Official SG Designation from Crown

I’m not going to pretend to have all the details on this one. I’ve exchanged messages with several parties and there are various versions and a lot of second-party hearsay, so, rather than get into the details at this time, let’s just say that the Orlando Pride have removed official supporters group recognition from the Crown following a recent meeting. Here is what the Crown said about it publicly.

The Crown did a generally good job of supporting the team in 2016 and 2017, I think, and so hopefully they can pull together, fix whatever needs fixing, and get back to lifting up the Pride in 2018.

Pulis Signs ex-OCB Forward Albert Dikwa

Montverde Academy product Albert Dikwa showed flashes of skill as a 19-year-old with Orlando City B in 2017 but he was surprisingly part of the USL side’s postseason purge. But we know what Anthony Pulis thinks of him because the new Saint Louis FC skipper has signed the young Cameroonian. Dikwa scored three goals and added two assists in 22 games (10 starts) in 2017 with OCB, but tailed off badly toward the end of the year. Hopefully he’ll find his form in St. Louis, where he’ll be teammates again with Austin Martz.

Two Former Lions Have Teams for 2018

Speaking of USL Lions, two more former Orlando City players from the pre-MLS days found jobs this week. Veteran midfielder Austin da Luz re-signed with North Carolina FC. Da Luz, who played with Orlando City in 2014, has scored 14 goals with the club in more than 100 games and 9,000 minutes played. Meanwhile, midfielder Christian Duke, who helped Orlando City SC win a USL championship in 2013, has left Swope Park Rangers for another OSCS — Orange County SC. Duke was Swope Park’s captain and played every game the last two seasons with the club but now he’ll start fresh in California.

USWNT Ranked No. 1 to Close 2017

The final FIFA rankings came out and the United States will end the calendar year ranked No. 1 in the world. While the U.S. men may have had a disappointing 2017, the women’s team continues to more or less stay at the top of the pack despite a few friendly tournament results that didn’t go their way. Also, the rest of the world continues to make strides at reaching the USWNT’s level — chiefly the next several teams in the rankings: Germany, England, Australia, Canada, and France. Orlando Pride stars Steph Catley and Alanna Kennedy have elevated the Aussies to the No. 4 spot after an impressive year, while Marta, Monica, and Camila have helped Brazil to a No. 8 ranking.

Free Kicks
  • Sporting Kansas City signed 25-year-old Frenchman Yohan Croizet to a DP contract and no, that doesn’t mean the Lions are sitting on their hands, doing nothing, so just stop. Patience, as they say, is a virtue.
  • I really like the way Minnesota United is going to immortalize their inaugural supporters. To be honest, I expected Orlando City to go big with Society XXI in some fashion similar to this, but in the end I was underwhelmed. Here’s MNUFC’s way:
  • Defender Drew Moor re-signed with Cup champion Toronto FC.
  • Among those born on this date were a lot of creative folks, like Ludwig van Beethoven (1770), Jane Austen (1775), Noel Coward (1899), Arthur C. Clarke (1917), Philip K. Dick (1928) — seriously, if you don’t know those last two, hit Wikipedia and enjoy the rabbit hole you’re about to go down — Abba’s Benny Andersson (1946), ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons (1949), comedian Bill Hicks (1961), William “The Refrigerator” Perry (1962), and Jessica Jones actress Krysten Ritter (1981). You may be wondering why The Fridge is creative, but hey, he was a pro wrestler for a bit, too.

That’s all my time this morning. Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

I leave you with this goal from Orlando City’s Alejandro Colon at the Winter Showcase, which somehow finished second in the Twitter voting held by the USSF Development Academy.