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Lion Links: 1/13/19

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Orlando City done waiting on Diego, SeaWolves get revenge, soccer is thriving in the City Beautiful, and more.

MLS: MLS Super Draft Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Hey there, Mane Landers. I hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful Florida weather this weekend as you soak in some quality football like yesterday’s Florida Cup. Personally, I’ve just adopted a kitten! It’s been a plan in the making, but my trip to Germany held it off...but I’ve finally pulled the trigger. She’s a Tortie (Tortoiseshell), and she’s currently hiding in my elaborate L-shaped couch. I hope she comes out soon because I haven’t had the opportunity to introduce her to the litter box yet.

Regardless, I’m ecstatic to have a new furry companion. I haven’t yet landed on a name, but I think Java or Bean (Beanie) have potential. She’s beautiful, in brown, orange, black, and white, so if you have any nice suggestions, drop them in the comments section below.

Anyway, back to the reason you’re here; your Sunday serving of delicious Lion Links. Enjoy!

Lions Moving on from Diego

Despite having a three-year offer on the table that was agreed to in principle, Diego Ribas is mulling a new offer from Flamengo and Orlando City is done waiting for the talented No. 10. Diego was going to be a big part of what the Lions wanted to do in 2019 and would make a great mentor for a guy like Josué Colmán, but OCSC isn’t interested in waiting for him to finalize a decision, although the door is reportedly not all the way closed just yet.

“We’re done waiting,” the executive said. “Our offer is off the table because we cannot wait and we will not get into a bidding war. You can’t think twice about an offer that involves a life project like the one we did.”

Orlando Becoming a Hub for Soccer

With an ever-growing supporter base for the Lions and the Pride, notable tournaments like the Florida Cup, featuring internationally renowned clubs, are contributing to an expanding soccer culture here in the Orlando area. The R9 Ronaldo Academy, opened in 2015 by the legendary Brazilian striker of the same name, has seen tremendous growth in its admissions of prospects into its competitive programs. The sport is growing in the Central Florida area, and it’s only a matter of time before the results and development of our state’s youth players comes to fruition. One thing is certain: it’s a good time to be into soccer in the Central Florida area (despite the recent disappointing seasons from the city’s top clubs).

SeaWolves Exact Revenge on Florida Tropics

Gordy Gurson netted four goals and added an assist, and Osvaldo Rojas and Lewis Neal each added a brace to lead the Orlando SeaWolves to a huge 11-6 road win over the Florida Tropics in Lakeland. The ‘Wolves bounced back from a 9-6 defeat in their last trip to Lakeland and picked up their first ever road victory in MASL play. It was also the team’s largest offensive output of its short existence.

2019 MLS SuperDraft: Conservative?

According to mlssoccer.com’s Sam Stejskal, he thinks so. In a class lacking a clear number one and/or number two selection, teams didn’t feel the need to make any aggressive moves. The general feel was that the top seven to 10 prospects were of around the same caliber, which allowed teams to sit back and wait on their pick, rather than trading up to nab their guy. That made this year’s draft noticeably conservative compared to years past.

“I think it has to be a reflection of some of the over the top talent,” Columbus Crew SC president Tim Bezbatchenko told MLSsoccer.com on Friday. “I think in the past there’s been some players that really had something different and unique, and they did this year, but maybe not to the same level. It’s a bit of a reflection of that.”

That doesn’t mean there were no deals struck, of course, as there was plenty of movement. The difference? The movement wasn’t notable or captivating. Stejskal even goes on to hypothesize that the continuing emergence of MLS academies will stymie the quality of future MLS SuperDrafts, with teams looking towards developing their Homegrown talent.

“I think people are more confident with their academy players and people coming through in their USL programs, so maybe they’re not maneuvering as quickly and aggressively,” said Bezbatchenko.

Only time will tell...but what do you think, was this a conservative year for the MLS SuperDraft?

Who Owns Inter Miami?

That’s the question a lot of people are asking right now, as the club has failed to officially disclose its investors — an ethical problem that could potentially throw a huge monkey wrench in Miami’s future MLS plans. as it’s preventing the club from obtaining construction permits for their Miami Freedom Stadium. To boil it down, the local face of the club, Jorge Mas, MasTec chairman, and his brother Jose are investors and own 35% of the team. Sprint chairman Marcelo Claure owns another 35% of the team, with SoftBank’s CEO Masayoshi Son owning 20% and David Beckham owning the remaining 10%. No forms were filed to officially verify these claims however, and there is no evidence to corroborate the team’s investment group. Until the water is no longer muddy, Inter Miami is sitting at a red light — a really, really awkward and seemingly unnecessary red light.

French Federation Hopes to Leave “Strong Legacy” for Women’s Sports

With the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup just around the corner, host country France and its Football Federation has expressed hopes of leaving a strong legacy in France, as they hope to emulate the United States in the respect that women’s footballers are looked up to as role models.

“What I like and what I wish we could bring in France is the atmosphere, the support of the game,” Georges said. “To have role models – because in France, now it’s starting, players are role models. When I came to the U.S. … it was already in the culture, a woman’s football player, you’re a role model.”

Brigitte Henriques, the French Federation’s vice president, and Laura Georges, the secretary general, gave an hour-long presentation in Chicago last Thursday, and spoke about the vast potential this tournament holds. They have their eye on highlighting the value of women’s soccer to their male counterparts, as well.

“What we expect is to have more men’s professional teams supporting the women’s game,” Georges said. “Make sure that they really think: ‘We are doing it because they ask us? No, we are doing it because it’s worth it.’”

Free Kicks
  • Last but certainly not least, we have American U-18 prospect Charlie Kelman netting an impressive goal from midfield after helping out in the tackle that won the ball. Take a bow, sir.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for you today, folks. Now, I need to go find this kitten. Have a great week!