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Lion Links: 12/24/17

Morgan’s return to form, Prospects Cup results, Outlaws speak up, and more!

Soccer: International Friendly Women's Soccer-Canada at USA Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Merry Christmas Eve, Mane Landers! We are less than 24 hours until Christmas, so hopefully all of your shopping is done and all that’s left is some final wrapping. Growing up, I always loved Christmas Eve as my brother and I would take naps and do puzzles in an effort to make time go by quicker. Now, I’d do anything to go back and savor those holiday moments with my family since things seem so hectic during this time of the year when you’re an adult.

But that’s enough of my nostalgia, let’s get to the links. Don’t worry, I’ll spare you from tons of Christmas puns since I’m sure “yule” get a lot of them for tomorrow’s Lion Links with Dave.

Alex Morgan’s Return to the Top

Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan definitely got her groove back in 2017. Morgan won a UEFA Champion’s League title with Olympique Lyonnais, helped the Pride reach the NWSL playoffs for the first time, and was appropriately named CONCACAF Female Player of the Year for the second straight year. Internationally, the 28-year-old led the USWNT with seven goals despite the heavy rotation of players to give younger players more playing time. In the story, Graham Hays of ESPNW gives great details and anecdotes on Morgan’s time in France and the level of competition she faced not only in games with Lyon, but in practice.

Manchester City Win Inaugural Prospects Cup

While its senior team dominates the Premier League, Manchester City’s U-12 squad has carried the club’s success to the U.S. as it won the first-ever Prospects Cup after beating Weston FC 3-0. The Prospects Cup was largely a success with popular clubs in Europe and South America sending their U-12 teams to Kissimmee, FL to show the world what the future of soccer looks like.

American Outlaws Changes Their Tune on #SaveTheCrew

Although previously holding a stance against intervening with club affairs, the American Outlaws (AO) released a statement showing support for the Save the Crew movement. The statement comes as MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, OH, was announced as one of the hosts for the USWNT in the SheBelieves Cup next year, allowing AO an avenue to get involved with the Columbus Crew’s potential move to Austin, TX.

Sean Boyle Named Disabled Player of the Year

U.S. Paralympic National Team goalkeeper Sean Boyle was voted as the 2017 U.S. Soccer Disabled Player of the Year after leading his team to a fifth-place finish at the 2017 IFCPF CP Football World Championship in Argentina. There, he helped the U.S. take down heavyweight teams like Ireland and Brazil while putting up an incredible 89 percent save percentage. Once told by doctors that he may never play soccer again after surgery to remove a malformation around his brain stem, Boyle is now one of the top Paralympic goalkeepers in the world.

“Travelling the world with people who have simultaneously known every limit yet no limit about their body, pushing their talent against a soccer culture that doesn't understand the word ‘excuse,’ has shaped how I see soccer as a catalyst for inclusion the world over. When a goalkeeper wins an award, it’s never an individual honor. It’s a testament to the collective unit we are, both on and off the field.”

Free Kicks
  • Lionel Messi reached 526 goals and made some European history.
  • USSF candidate Kyle Martino is crying foul over fellow candidate Kathy Carter’s dinner guests as she meets with delegates.

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That’s all I’ve got for you this morning Mane Landers. Please stay safe with your holiday traveling since there will be a lot of cars on the roads this weekend. To families with members who work on Christmas and are opening presents and celebrating today, Merry Christmas from me to you. See you guys next Sunday for the last day of 2017!