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Lion Links: 1/10/18

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Giles Barnes has a new home, Colman is Florida bound, academy goes residential, Weatherholt re-signs, and much more.

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MLS: Orlando City SC at San Jose Earthquakes Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Wednesday! Here’s hoping your resolutions are still going strong in week two of the new year. We’d like to give a shout out to Pride Assistant Coach Khano Smith on his birthday today!

And a shameless plug for us, we officially hit 5,000 Twitter followers! Can you get us to 6,000? If you haven't followed us yet, then what are waiting for? I mean come on, do it. 5,000 other people have. And I’ll bet we’re better than someone on your list.

On to today’s stories:

Another Day Closer to Josué Colmán

It looks like Colmán watch is getting hotter as it’s being reported he’s set for Orlando on Thursday:

Stay tuned to The Mane Land for all the breaking details this week.

Orlando City Development Academy Heads to Monteverde Academy

The organization is making some interesting moves and the latest is the moving of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy over to Monteverde Academy — and the S.I.M.A. program in 2018. CEO Alex Leitão on the partnership:

“This is an entirely new strategy designed to increase and grow the overall investment in our Development Academy, while offering our younger players the best development opportunities, S.I.M.A. is an accomplished program with a consistent track record of producing top young talents and exceptional young adults.”

This is a an interesting development, and one that is a bit confusing, considering the original plans for an Orlando City-run residential program in Lake Nona. There’s no mention of future plans of the development but it’s something to keep an eye on for the future of the club.

It is unusual to have a residential academy outsourced but not unheard of, as Real Salt Lake did for many years out of the Grande Sports Lakes complex — currently the Barça Academy in Casa Grande, AZ. While this could have some positives, I cant help but wonder if this is more of a business move than a soccer one.

Barnes off to Liga MX

Midfielder Giles Barnes is off to Club León in the Liga MX. After being cut by City, some of us here were hopeful for a renegotiation at a lesser value to secure Barnes and keep building much-needed depth.

I have to say, this one hurts. While he never really performed to his contract, City has depth issues and could have used a player like Barnes (if he came more affordably). I may be more of a fan than most, but his style of play — never afraid to attack — was enjoyable on a team that didn't seem to have that fire and aggressiveness at times.

Pride Re-sign Midfielder Dani Weatherholt

The Pride were able to lock down one of their young rising stars in third-year player Dani Weatherholt. Per team and league policy, no details were announced, but we would hope that it’s a minimum two-year deal or longer for the U-23 U.S. Women’s National Team player.

Weatherholt was a main cog in the midfield with Camila and Alanna Kennedy, starting 17 matches in a defensive midfield role. While her stats may not jump off the page, don’t make a mistake about it, she was a huge part of the team’s success allowing Camila to roam free.

Memphis is Officially Joining USL in 2019

Memphis had already been announced as a new member of the USL, but until today we had no idea which year — 2019 or ’20 — it would be. USL announced Tuesday that Memphis will be in the league starting the spring of 2019 along with two other teams: Birmingham, AL, and the rebirth of Austin.

Free Kicks:
  • The USL schedule is set to come out next week. We still don’t know what is going on with the young Lions, but it’s not looking good.

I leave you with words of wisdom: Never let your kid win at anything. Nothing. Be savage. Be like Dom Dwyer: