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Lion Links: 1/3/19

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Pulisic to Chelsea, MLS and NWSL draft news, and more!

Soccer: 2018 World Cup Qualifier-Panama at USA Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday Jr. everyone! The first week of the New Year is nearly over, but today is the first day of the MLS Combine. There should be lots of soccer news in the coming days between Orlando City and the Pride with the drafts approaching. There should also be “chaos” in the NWSL on the horizon. Here’s some what’s happening in the soccer world:

Pulisic to Chelsea is Official

Chelsea officially signed Christian Pulisic yesterday for $73 million. The U.S. international will remain with Dortmund until the summer, as he looks to help his side win the Bundesliga. Pulisic’s transfer was about three times more expensive than the next highest fee for an American — John Brooks to Wolfsburg last season for $22 million.

“It was always Christian’s dream to play in the Premier League. That certainly has to do with his American background, and as a result we were unable to extend his contract,” Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc said.

This is definitely a good move for Pulisic. He will need to bulk up some to compete every week in the Premier League, but it is a good signing for Chelsea. Well, that is if the coach is on board with it, of course.

MLS Combine Begins

As mentioned above, today is the first day of the MLS Combine. This is an essential stage for college recruits to give one last impression before the big day. It goes from today until Jan. 9, with the SuperDraft on Jan. 11. The MLS Combine is different from most U.S. sports combines.

The combine is broken down into four teams, essentially playing in a tournament. A total of 60 players were invited, and they all should get ample an amount of time to show their worth. MLSsoccer.com’s Travis Clark gives his top 12 players in this draft class here while SBI’s Ives Galarcep dropped his first Big Board. Galarcep will update his list as the draft gets closer.

The Lions have a total of seven picks this year. Orlando’s first pick is third overall. You can view the complete draft order here.

NWSL College Draft

A day before the MLS SuperDraft is the NWSL College Draft. The Pride still do not have a coach, of course, so what they will do remains a mystery at this point. Still, it is an exciting time for the league as a whole. Here is all the information you’ll need to understand how the draft works. The Pride have two picks this year — in the third and fourth rounds — but there is still plenty of times for trades to change that. While finding talent late in the draft is rare, don’t forget that Dani Weatherholt was a fourth-round pick back in 2016.

LA Galaxy Sign a Head Coach

Guillermo Barros Schelotto is officially the new coach of the Galaxy. It was rumored for a few days now but became official yesterday. Schelotto formerly coached Boca Juniors where he won two league titles.

“I am honored to be the head coach for the most decorated club in Major League Soccer,” said Schelotto in a statement. “This is a tremendous opportunity for me and I am excited to get to work. The LA Galaxy have long been the standard in MLS and I am ready to push the club to new heights.”

Free Kicks
  • A couple of former Orlando City GMs are getting together at the team down south.