It’s the final day of October, my friends. Happy Halloween!
The weather has been gorgeous for the past several days and it almost makes me glad to have more time on my hands, not having to follow soccer nearly as closely since Orlando City’s season is over. But almost doesn’t count and even though I’ve been enjoying this cooler weather, it would be nice to be preparing for a playoff game. Alas.
Let’s get your Wednesday started with all the latest happenings.
Orlando Pride’s Chioma Ubogagu Called Up to...England?
You may recall that Chi Ubogagu was called up to the USWNT camp last year around this time as a potential defender but she didn’t play in a game. Ubogagu is a dual citizen and this time it is England that has come calling. The Lionesses have upcoming friendlies against Austria and Sweden in November and Ubogagu could see some international action with England in those matches. The USWNT seems a bit crowded for Ubogagu at the moment, so this could end up being a big positive in her quest to play international matches. Best of luck to Chi.
SeaWolves Name Club’s First Manager
The Orlando SeaWolves are getting closer and closer to their inaugural season in the MASL and the club named Tom Traxler as its first head coach yesterday. Yes, that Tom Traxler. A color analyst on Orlando City games for the last several years, Traxler has high school coaching experience but taking over a professional indoor club was — at least to me — a pretty huge surprise.
Traxler, 49, has most recently been serving in the capacity of broadcast analyst on TV and radio for Orlando City of Major League Soccer. Tom, who resides in Oviedo and has one son Riley (22), has an extensive background in soccer and was member of the Tampa Bay Rowdies organization from 1989-1993. Tom has served in a variety of coaching roles for the past 23 years and is highly recognizable in the Central Florida Soccer community through his time as Director of Coaching for FC America, and for the past 12 seasons at Winter Park HS, where he has guided the Wildcats to numerous titles on the way to becoming the winningest coach in that school’s history.
The club also announced that SeaWolves goalkeeper Piotr Sliwa will serve as an assistant coach and Charles “CJ” Gonsalves has been named “performance coach.”
For his part, Traxler said he’s looking forward to this challenge.
“It’s pressures that you want. It’s something that can push and challenge you, and I’ve always been up for a challenge. I love challenging myself. Looked at the roster and I think this roster has players that love to push and challenge themselves, as well. Felt very comfortable. I thought this felt like a good fit.”
The interesting thing to me is that SeaWolves GM Chris Kokalis selected Traxler not for his breadth of knowledge of the MASL or the indoor game, but for his willingness to learn.
I guess I’ll take a wait-and-see approach with the Traxler hire and how the players respond to his leadership. It would be nice to have a winning soccer club around here.
Brandon Vincent’s Surprise Retirement
Chicago Fire defender Brandon Vincent was the No. 4 pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft and had played pretty solidly for three seasons in Chicago. Yesterday he surprisingly announced his retirement at age 24 after 86 appearances and 82 starts to his credit. The 2016 MLS All-Star played well enough to earn a USMNT call-up and yet he’s calling it a career after three years with Chicago, announcing his decision on Twitter, saying “This may come as a surprise to many, but I’m at a time in my life where it is best for me to move on from the game.” Vincent was making a base salary of $122,375 and was set to receive $144,250 in total compensation for the 2018 season.
Vancouver Whitecaps End Season in Ugly Fashion
Orlando City had a nightmare season but at least it didn’t devolve into a lot of public bickering at the end the way it did in Vancouver. Players openly talked about cliques in the locker room and called each other out as the team met with the media for the final time in 2018. Yikes.
- UCF’s Vera Varis was named American Athletic Conference Goalkeeper of the Year for the second straight season. Stefanie Sanders joined Varis on the All-AAC first team, while teammates Dina Orschmann and Carrie Lawrence earned second team honors and Kristen Scott was named to the All-Rookie Team.
- Gyasi Zardes rode his first career hat trick all the way to MLS Player of the Week.
- Could the New England Revolution rebrand with a new name and team colors? It’s not imminent but it was among topics discussed in a fan focus group recently.
- The Colorado Rapids have affiliated with USL side Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC. This move seems like a no-brainer. Orlando City could use an affiliation since OCB will be purely developmental.
- East Stroudsburg University football coach Denny Douds took a fourth timeout (and an intentional penalty) to tell his team he was retiring, then walked out of the stadium and got in his car. Like a boss.
- Those born on this date include English Romantic poet John Keats (1795), journalist Dan Rather (1931), Little House on the Prairie star Michael Landon (1936), M*A*S*H actor David Ogden Stiers (1942), Brian Doyle-Murray (1945), John Candy (1950) — by the way, how awesome is it that a guy named Candy was born on Halloween? — Alabama football coach Nick Saban (1951), Lord of the Rings filmmaker Peter Jackson (1961), U2 drummer Larry Mullen, Jr. (1961), actor Rob Schneider (1963), Brazilian manager and former player Dunga (1963), Beastie Boy King Ad-Rock (1966), Vanilla Ice (1967), and Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford (1997).
That’s all my time for today. Enjoy your Halloween, save me a few Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and don’t miss this week’s season-ending PawedCast, dropping this afternoon.