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Lion Links: 12/2/18

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Jonathan Spector pays tribute, David Villa set to join Iniesta, Florida State makes it to the NCAA Women’s Championship, and much more.

MLS: Houston Dynamo at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Hey there, Mane Landers, and happy Sunday! You probably haven’t noticed, but I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus throughout the last month. I attended a friend’s wedding and then took a trip with a soccer program across the pond over to Munich, Germany! Well, this edition of your trusty links marks my return, and I couldn’t be happier to back with you.

I had a blast in Munich, with our team winning two of our three matches and enjoying the training grounds of FC Bayern Munich, TSV 1860 Munich, and FC Unterföhring. We also visited Bayern’s Bundesliga action as we traveled to neighboring Augsburg to see FC Augsburg drop three points to Eintracht Frankfurt. The experience was unforgettable, the food delicious, my teammates wonderful, and the city was incredible. I’d love to go on and on about the trip, but that’s not what you’re here for...you’re here for your Links.

Before we jump in though, make sure to wish Orlando City goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar a very special birthday today! We love you, Mason, and the club is fortunate to have you!

All right, with that said, let’s jump right in.

Jonathan Spector Pays Tribute on Instagram

Former club captain Jonathan Spector shared a touching message via Instagram recently, thanking the club, the club’s personnel, and the fans for embracing he and his family during his stint as the Lions’ skipper. His presence, when healthy, will without a doubt be missed by the club, and it’ll be a tall task in finding a suitable replacement for the former U.S. Men’s National Team stalwart. His time in Orlando was appreciated, and the fans have reacted with both sadness and appreciation, as Spector brought nothing but class and professionalism to Orlando City Soccer Stadium. You will be missed, Jonathan!

David Villa Set to Join Iniesta

Former New York City FC striker and skipper David Villa is headed to Japan’s Vissel Kobe to join up with fellow World Cup winners Andres Iniesta and Lucas Podolski. The club, which aims to become the “best club in Asia,” has been quite ambitious in its attempts to acquire game-changing talents, and it’ll be exciting to see the former Barcelona and Spain National Team duo of Villa and Iniesta team up once again. The league will miss you, David!

Florida State Headed to NCAA Championship

My alma mater, Florida State University, has experienced a rough year when it comes to its football program. The same cannot be said about its women’s soccer team, which is headed to the NCAA Women’s Soccer National Championship to face off against the North Carolina Tar Heels later today. The Noles, who knocked off the Stanford Cardinal and their top-ranked attack (which was riding a 45-game unbeaten streak), will now have the opportunity to join an echelon of programs to have won multiple titles. Their opponents, the Tar Heels, are a different story. They’re the program that everyone else seems to chase, as they’ve hauled in an impressive 21 NCAA titles throughout their school’s history.

Former OCSC Head Coach Jason Kreis Remains in Orlando

There’s not much to talk about here, but it appears that former Lions gaffer Jason Kreis has stuck around in the central Florida area - recently making an appearance at a local half marathon. As a dedicated father, husband and manager, we obviously wish him the best in his eventual search for the next step in his coaching career.

Free Kicks
  • Speaking of women’s college soccer, Anson Dorrance, the Tar Heels’ coach, wants to see an increased investment in the sport from his school in order to prove that the program can be a revenue-neutral sport at UNC. To be honest, I think he makes an excellent point.
  • Wayne Rooney took some time to visit the reigning NHL champion Washington Capitals with his family this weekend, showing that the iconic striker is ever-committed to his journey with D.C. United.
  • Young American striker Haji Wright got his first start for topflight Bundesliga side FC Schalke 04, playing 70 minutes before being subbed out in a 1-1 draw against Hoffenheim. It’s nice to see young Americans making an impact in some of Europe’s top teams.

That’s all I’ve got for you today, folks. Enjoy your Sunday and keep an eye out for any impending news concerning, well, all of the things that you’re waiting for news on; a new OCSC general manager, a new Orlando Pride manager, a new USMNT manager, how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop, etc.