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Lion Links: 2/10/18

Kljestan speaks, Rachel Hill talks W-League, Orlando City groundskeepers get new toys, USSF election ramps up, and much more.

W-League Rd 13 - Perth v Western Sydney Photo by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images

Happy Saturday, Mane Land readers! Another beautiful weekend is here and the news did not disappoint.

There is big USSF election taking place today which could decide the future of U.S. Soccer as we know it. Also, Orlando City will play its second preseason scrimmage taking on Minnesota United at Slyvan Lake Park.

Oh and only 3 more weeks until the start of the Orlando City season!

Now on to the links!

Orlando Pride Waive Midfielder Nickolette Driesse

OK, so the news did disappoint for at least one person. The Orlando Pride made another roster move by waiving Nicolette Driesse on Friday afternoon. Driesse was drafted in 2017 from Penn State, as the No. 32 overall pick. She appeared four times for the Pride totaling 47 minutes. Head Coach Tom Sermanni praised her work ethic during her time with the team and we wish the best of luck to Nickolette in the next step of her career.

Sacha Kljestan comments on New York Red Bulls Experience

In an interview with Sirus XM FC earlier this week, Sacha Kljestan was asked about his experiences in New York and the new Lion did not mince words when it came to talking about his old squad.

“It’s never easy to be told you’re no longer wanted at a club, especially a club that you gave a lot for and were extremely successful for over a short period of time,” Kljestan stated in his interview.

He went on to say that he wasn’t happy with the way his old team were building up for this season. He did end the interview on a positive note, sharing his excitement about all the roster building Orlando City has done this off-season, citing the additions of Justin Meram and Uri Rosell. Though Kljestan has moved on to a new team, the pieces around the 32-year-old midfielder could push him to even higher heights.

Rachel Hill Reflects on W-League

If there is any particular Orlando Pride player that had a great off-season, look no further than Rachel Hill. Hill was loaned out to Perth Glory in the W-League where she finished third in the league in goals scored and first in assists, totaling nine and six, respectively. She proclaimed that her experience in Australia was life altering and that she got a bit better playing there. She had the opportunity to train with Samantha Kerr, which she believes improved her game.

“At every game and training session she is just so grateful to be there and just the joy and happiness that she plays with, it’s inspiring,” Hill said of Kerr. “Obviously she works harder than most so that too was something I really look up to. I definitely learned a lot from her.”

Orlando City Adds Two Grow Lights to Strengthen Field Quality

Orlando City Head Groundskeeper Matt Bruderek has picked up a new tool to keep the field in tip-top shape. With the first season in the books, the club wanted to improve the quality of the field due to all of the games played on the surface. There were 50 games played last season as well as two Florida Cup games and six days of the MLS Combine since the start of the new year. The club went out and bought two grow lights that help assist the growth of grass through an artificial light the simulates sunlight. There were issues on the ends of the pitch due to the lack of sunlight they receive during the winter months so the club invested in the lights to ensure that the pitch is healthy going into the season.

USSF Candidates Ramp up Before Election

With the election for U.S. Soccer Federation president occurring today, there has been a combination of events occurring over the past few days that are sure to shake up the race. According to Jeff Carlisle, there is a group of six candidates who are banding together to ensure that a reform-minded candidate would win and not some of the same, which could be what Kathy Carter or Carlos Cordeiro would bring. It was reported earlier this week that Carter had collected the NWSL vote as well as a block of the athlete council. Today will be an exciting day, for the future of U.S. Soccer could be drastically changed depending on who wins the election. Grant Wahl tries to make sense of this group and what this means to the election but no one is truly sure what this all means. Carlisle and Sebastian Salazar provide the latest update on the election.

Free Kicks
  • The U.S. Soccer Federation is rolling out an initiative to help connect the national team programs to the college game through a partnership with six of the top college men’s programs. The colleges included will be Clemson, Duke, Georgetown, North Carolina, Virginia, and Wake Forest.
  • Geoff Cameron writes a tell-all in the player tribune about what the United States Men’s National Team loss meant to him and how it will affect his career from this point on. He speaks to the failures within the system and what needs to change so that the USMNT can be successful.
  • There has been talk this transfer window about a possible move for Christian Pulisic. The young American star has been turning heads in Europe and some of the larger clubs in the region have eyes on the young star. Sport1 has reported that Borussia Dortmund has put the price tag 90 million euros on Pulisic.
  • Former Orlando City player Brek Shea went from being a Designated Player down to a TAM-level player as the Vancouver Whitecaps stated in a radio interview that they will be buying down his contract to make way for another DP. Shea had an underwhelming season for the Whitecaps and hopes to bounce back next season.
  • The United States Men’s National Team has added another friendly to their schedule taking on the Republic of Ireland on June 2. The match will take place in Ireland at Aviva Stadium. This will be the first trip to Ireland for the U.S. since 2014, when they lost, 4-1.

As I always do, I like to end on a positive and what better way to do that then share the new vision of the club going into this season. Last night Orlando City held an event at Lions Pride highlighting the club’s new campaign, Face of Our City, a program about the fans that’s for the fans. If you were there or were watching, you probably caught a glimpse of our very own TheBeardedGuy, as he was one of the fans called up to the stage.