Hello and welcome to your Thursday edition of Lion Links. Today’s soccer news seems to be piling up for MLS and Orlando City specifically, but here we are to round it all up for you. I personally am suffering from some sunburns and am in recovery mode, so my hope is that none of you have been sunburned recently — it is no bueno. But for now lets dig in to some of the headlines surrounding soccer today.
Jason Kreis Nominated for Soccer Hall of Fame
Along with 32 other names on a list for the National Soccer Hall of Fame our beloved head coach Jason Kreis has been nominated for election in the player category.
Kreis, 44, had a prolific 12-year MLS career as player, amassing 305 games and 108 goals, a number that ranks him as the sixth all-time goal scorer of the league. He played for the Dallas Burn, now FC Dallas, from 1996 to 2004, and for Real Salt Lake, from 2005 to 2007, becoming the first player to ever a score a goal for both franchises. Kreis’ No. 9 was the first MLS player number to be officially retired on July 4, 2011.
The induction ceremony details for this years class will be announced at a later date.
Orlando Pride Defender on the Rise
Orlando Pride defender Toni Pressley is highlighted by Equalizer Soccer as an up-and-comer in the NWSL. The 5-foot-11 defender played college soccer at Florida State and is hails from nearby Melbourne, FL. Her rise this season as a defender is certainly putting people on notice.
After a standout college career at Florida State, years in the USYNT system, and a WPSL Elite championship with the Western New York Flash, Pressley appeared set for a solid NWSL career. However, she struggled through tough seasons with Washington and Houston, briefly returning to the Flash in between and never really making her mark. The Pride acquired her in their expansion draft, and when she finally emerged from the bench in the second half of the season after Orlando’s backline was decimated by international duty and injuries, it was for a stretch of unremarkable performances and a dreadful spell at outside back.
Pressley will be back in action Saturday when the Pride visit Sky Blue FC.
OCYS Girls win State Championship
Orlando City Youth Soccer’s 2004 girls team won the state championship this past weekend after defeating the defending champions, Tampa Bay United, 2-0.
"Progress from the round of 16 has been smooth. All the way through to the final game Orlando City YSC didn't concede a single goal. The work rate, effort and togetherness of the team was remarkable throughout the competition," said Coach Gobble. In addition to the players, Coach Gobble highlighted the collective effort of the families of the players too, "the team is so much more than the players and the Coach, we had supportive families who were willing to travel and reinforce our teachings throughout the season. When this happens we achieve more together."
Orlando City Partners with Insurance Broker
The Insurance Office of America has officially been named the insurance broker for Orlando City SC. This will be the insurance broker’s first venture with an MLS club and the hope if for many future successes.
“We are excited to not only join Orlando City in our IOA headquarters market, but also to have our first partner within Major League Soccer (MLS),” IOA Chairman & Founder John Ritenour said. “Orlando City has delivered the passion of world-class soccer to our town with overwhelming affinity and we look forward to working with them.”
- U.S. U-20 midfielder Gedion Zelalem could miss nine months of action after rupturing his ACL. This injury will end Zelalem’s World Cup run with the U-20 World Cup team and leave the squad with only four midfielders on the roster.
- Bill Heavner lives a life in limbo as an emergency goalkeeper for teams around MLS. Read more on the pool goalkeeper’s story here.
That is all from me today. Thank you for your time and enjoy the rest of the day. If you want more from me follow me on twitter: @awesomeniemeier.