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Lion Links: 12/18/17

Kaká retires, Morgan named Player of the Year, CONCACAF Champions League, and more!

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

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! We’re deep into the off-season, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have plenty of news to start off your week. We’re getting closer to Festivus, so I hope you have your aluminum pole and the meatloaf ready. Regardless, let’s hit the links!

Kaká Retires

It’s been a while since Kaká left Orlando City, but we had no idea what he was going to do next. Would he return to one of his old teams, like São Paulo FC in Brazil, or the Italian club A.C. Milan? Would he become a coach somewhere? No to the first, and maybe to the second, but all we know for certain is he has officially retired. Thanks to our captain for his time in purple, and good luck on whatever he decides to do going forward.

Alex Morgan Named CONCACAF Player of the Year

Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan was named CONCACAF Player of the Year. Morgan is now the first player to earn the distinction in back-to-back years after beating out a crowded field of big names like Samantha Kerr and Christine Sinclair. Morgan had a strong year not just for the Orlando Pride, but with Olympique Lyonnais and with the USWNT. Congratulations, Alex!

“I just want to thank everyone who voted for me for CONCACAF Female Player of the Year. It’s such a great honor to be named this,” said Morgan. “To all the fans who followed me throughout France and to the U.S., thank you so much for all that motivation. It really means a lot.”

On the men’s side, Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas was named CONCACAF Player of the Year.

MLS in CONCACAF Champions League

Several MLS teams will all be drawn into the Round of 16 in the CONCACAF Champions League competition to start in February. You can watch the Colorado Rapids, FC Dallas, New York Red Bulls, Seattle Sounders, and Toronto FC go through the draw tonight at 7 p.m. ET on the Univision Deportes Network. No, Orlando City isn’t in the draw, but why not support the league?

Pulisic being Pulisic

As you probably know, Christian Pulisic was named U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year. If you weren’t sure why that was, you can check out his game winner for Borussia Dortmund over Hoffenheim on Saturday. Pulisic has shown flashes of brilliance for both Dortmund and the USMNT in his short career. It’s hard to argue against if he deserved the PotY award, and frankly, it was quite a goal this past Saturday.

How Major is MLS?

The league is called Major League Soccer, but is that an accurate description? Taking a look at revenue, corporate sponsorship, attendance, TV audience, and social media, one might be able to figure out how MLS is doing as one of the supposed big time leagues in these United States. I know how I feel about it, but please make up your own mind.

Free Kicks
  • Usually, Orlando City Stadium is host to a bunch of healthy athletes running around. Next month there’s going to be another type of healthy in Parramore, as a farmer’s market will make an appearance. If you’re able to, head on down and check it out.
  • Atletico Madrid and French forward Antoine Griezmann created quite a stir on social media on Sunday. Let’s just say that “blackface” was involved. Griezmann retracted, apologized, and stated how big a fan of the Harlem Globetrotters he is, but it was still ill-advised.

That’s going to do it for today, but keep checking in with The Mane Land for all the soccer goodness you can handle.