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Lion Links: 2/27/18

Why Justin Meram plays for Iraq, Pride players recognized in W-League, Ashlyn Harris feels bad for Pride opponents, suggestions for U.S. Soccer, and more.

W-League Semi Final - Brisbane v Melbourne City Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images

Greetings, readers. I hope everyone’s weeks are off to a good start. Sadly it’s only Tuesday and I’m already plum tuckered out (which I feel like I say every week, but every week it’s true). The good thing about Tuesday is that I get to bring you lovely people your daily dose of Links, so, without further ado, let’s boogie.

Meram Writes About His Heritage

New Lion Justin Meram has written an absolutely beautiful piece for The Players Tribune about representing the Iraqi National Team. The article covers the process he went through in order to play for the team, his motivations for doing so, and what he felt when he played on Iraqi soil for the first time. If you have the time, I highly recommend you give it a read. Not only is it extremely well written but it’s also a touching piece that provides an excellent opportunity to get to know one of Orlando City’s newest sons.

Pride Players Recognized in W-League

The Australian PFA has announced its W-League Team of the Year, and three Orlando Pride players have been recognized for their contributions. Defender Carson Pickett and midfielder Emily van Egmond, were named in the team’s starting 11, which is picked by the W-League players themselves. and forward Rachel Hill made the bench. With the NWSL season quickly approaching, it’s good to see that they’ve been keeping sharp, and the hope will be that they can transfer their form flawlessly to the NWSL as the team looks to make the playoffs for the second year in a row. Former Pride defender Steph Catley also made the best XI.

Harris Pities NWSL Opponents

Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris has gone on the record as saying that she feels bad for the team’s opponents this season. It’s tough to argue with her too, as the team that led the NWSL in scoring last year added another mercurial offensive player in Sydney Leroux and a world-class attacking midfielder in van Egmond. While a variety of players missing the beginning of training camp could prove to be detrimental, Harris doesn’t believe it will be too much of a problem, and said that she’s glad she’ll be watching the action from the other end of the pitch.

Suggestions for U.S. Soccer

The gentlemen over at WorldSoccerTalk have written an excellent article about strategies the USMNT should implement in order to keep fans in the wake of not qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. Among them were to play games in smaller soccer-specific stadiums against stronger opposition, make strong hires, and my personal favorite: slash ticket prices. Since I started going to USMNT games back in 2009, the ticket prices have steadily climbed. While that’s acceptable to a degree when the team was making the knockout rounds at the World Cup, the USSF would be wise to lower the prices to meaningless friendly games or risk already disgruntled fans not showing up.

Free Kicks

That’ll do it for me today. In case you’ve been living under a rock don’t forget that OCSC has its first game this weekend at 7 p.m. against D.C. United. So scurry around this morning and try to score a scarf, make plans with the amigos to attend/watch the game, and in general get excited for another MLS season! Ciao.