Hello to all and welcome to Thursday’s edition of Lion Links. As we gear up for another week of Major League Soccer, let’s get you caught up on the news surrounding the league. And as we ready ourselves for game day this weekend against the New York Red Bulls, remember one thing: #NeverHuntAlone.
For now, let’s get to some links.
Luis Gil loaned out to OCSC
The former Real Salt Lake midfielder is set to return to Major League Soccer after spending some time with Mexican club Querétaro FC of Liga MX. Gil will join Orlando City on loan with the Lions having the option to buy at the close of the season.
As part of the deal, Orlando City will have an option to purchase at the end of the 2017 MLS season. To pacify Real Salt Lake — the club that owns Gil’s MLS rights — the Lions will send $100,000 of Targeted Allocation Money to RSL in 2018, and that total drops to $50,000 if Gil doesn’t remain with Orlando.
This move is sure to help bolster Orlando City’s midfield and help make the depth chart a little deeper as the season still has a long way to go.
Donny Toia’s Journey to Orlando City
Check out this quick interview on OCSC’s left back Donny Toia. He has gone from dreams of being a race car driver, to a striker, and is now a defender. Take a listen to what he has to say about his career and his growth as a player.
USWNT Labor Saga Comes to an End
U.S. Soccer and the U.S. Women’s National Team have finally come together to ratify a new labor agreement. With a settlement being reached, members of the USWNT will now be paid much more for their contributions to American soccer. They did not successfully negotiate a deal that guarantees equal pay with the men’s national team, but they did broker needed changes, and for the most part it has brought solidarity between both parties.
“We tried to completely change the methodology for how to define our value, and we made progress in that regard, and it changes the equation for the future,” Becca Roux, the union’s executive director, said.
Having made significant strides in our new USWNT contract, these changes will not only have an immediate positive impact on our team, but...— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) April 5, 2017
... will also greatly help the future of this team. I'm so proud of our team and the unity we showed during this process. #ChangeTheGame— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) April 5, 2017
Alex Morgan appears to be happy about the changes in the USWNT contract and I believe her Orlando Pride supporters will be happy for her and all the U.S. women on their progress.
Ashlyn Harris Shares Some of Her Life Through Photos
USWNT goalkeeper and Orlando Pride’s very own Ashlyn Harris was recently followed for a photo shoot as she prepared for a day of training camp. Check out some of her quotes along the way as well.
“At lifting I usually spend time on my shoulders and continue to strengthen my back; things I need as goalkeeper. Every day I hit the ground, so I have to make sure my arms are strong. Shoulder strength and shoulder stability are key to make sure my arms are moving well and to prevent any injuries.”
Pride Trialist Carol Rodrigues Caught in Numbers Game
UCF product Carol Rodrigues is having an outstanding preseason as a trialist with the Orlando Pride. But that doesn’t mean she’ll make Tom Sermanni’s 2017 squad. Because she’s Brazilian, Rodrigues requires a coveted international slot and NWSL teams generally use those on veteran players from overseas (Marta, anyone?). So, Rodrigues will likely end up overseas herself, writes the Orlando Sentinel’s Alicia DelGallo.
“Having the international tag is really hard for me, actually, because I’m right out of college and most people want to use those spots on more experienced players,” Rodrigues said. “So, I’ll probably go overseas. I have some opportunities there, and maybe years from now I can come back to the American league.”
Rodrigues said she’s interested in a spot in Germany, Norway, or Sweden.
Orlando City Foundation Hosting 4th Annual PlayBingo Event
June 10 will bring the 4th Annual PlayBingo Ladies Luncheon brought to you by the Orlando City Foundation. The event will take place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel with the goal of bringing ladies together for a great cause. Before Bingo, there will be an auction and lunch.
The City Beautiful has gone through an evolutionary adventure over the years and the payoff has been prodigious. Not only does Orlando have a thriving MLS franchise, but the city itself is thriving as well — it was even called “the only proper city in the state.” Over the years, Orlando’s trustees have seen it flourish, and “The Happiest City on Earth” has risen to become more than just a place that people go to because of Disney.
Orlando has quietly been growing beyond its theme-park roots. No longer a mere glut of vacationers and every chain restaurant in history, it's one of America's most surprisingly dynamic places. Almost 50 years after Disney put training wheels on Orlando, you'll find a real city there -- in one of the country's 30 largest metro areas -- with a real identity. And it's attracting young, creative people looking for a cheap place to set up shop, amid a town that's uncommonly savvy about how it wants to evolve.
St. Louis MLS Bid Suffers Huge Defeat
The citizens of St. Louis, Missouri have voted against the funding needed to build a proper stadium to support a Major League Soccer franchise. With this vote that means more cities will now become available as options in MLS’ expansion efforts.
It looks like St. Louis will remain a two-sport town after voters defeated a measure that would have helped pay for a stadium as part of an effort to lure a Major League Soccer franchise.
City voters turned down Proposition 2 on Tuesday by a 53 percent to 47 percent vote. It would have provided $60 million from a business-use tax to help fund a soccer stadium.
Those are all of the links from us here today. The Orlando City-New York Red Bulls game is days away, and I can’t wait. You can catch the game this Sunday on ESPN starting at 4 p.m. If you want more of me, then this is where you find it: @awesomeniemeier.