How’s it going, Mane Landers? We’re approaching the first weekend of 2020 and I hope you have some fun or relaxing plans lined up. I’m already failing my exercise and diet resolutions and we’re not even a week into the new year yet so wish me luck. Hopefully all of your 2020 hopes and dreams are off to strong starts though. Now, let’s kick off this Friday with some links from around the soccer world.
Orlando City Off-Season Round-Up
Here is a nice refresher on all of the moves Orlando’s made so far this off-season, the most recent being the addition of center back Antonio Carlos. Now the club looks ahead to 2020 and most attention will be on new Head Coach Oscar Pareja as he is the latest to try leading Orlando to the playoffs. Pareja will likely bring in more players for the upcoming season and there are plenty of transfer targets he could try bringing in. The MLS SuperDraft begins on Jan. 9 and Orlando has the fifth pick and a decent track record at finding talent in past years, so make sure to get up to date on the details and how to tune in.
Pride Players Nominated as Central Floridian of the Year Finalists
The Orlando Pride and United States Women’s National Team’s Alex Morgan, Ali Krieger, and Ashlyn Harris were named as finalists for the Orlando Sentinel’s Central Floridian of the Year. Not only did the trio win a World Cup this past summer, but they were outspoken in support of equal rights and pay for women’s soccer players. While you will definitely recognize their names on the list of finalists, I suggest checking out the others you may not have heard of to learn more about the unsung heroes in our community.
W-League Recap and Preview
Pride defender Alanna Kennedy made the W-League Team of the Week after a strong performance in Round 7 down in Australia. Kennedy led Sydney FC’s defense to a 2-0 shutout win against Adelaide United and seems to have found her footing with the team after a sluggish start to the season.
In Round 8 action, Emily van Egmond and Claire Emslie both started for Melbourne City in a 2-0 victory against Pride teammate Carson Pickett and the Brisbane Roar. Pickett had five shots, three on target, but couldn’t find the back of the net as City won its sixth-straight. Later this week, Camila and Canberra United host Kennedy and Sydney in a tough test with plenty on the line.
Traxler Returns as SeaWolves’ Coach
The Orlando SeaWolves named Tom Traxler as their head coach once again on Thursday. Traxler was the head coach for the SeaWolves in their inaugural season when the team went 9-15, missing out on the playoffs. Traxler is a known figure in the Central Florida soccer scene and has his work cut out for him with a team that is performing worse than when he last coached them.
“I’m very excited to return to the Seawolves organization,” Traxler said. “The club, its players, and especially its supporters have a very special place in my heart. I can’t wait to rekindle our relationship. I look forward to working alongside Andrew Haines and the staff to help the club continue to grow.”
Here is Traxler’s video message to the fans:
- In Orlando City B news, versatile midfielder Austin Amer will be back with the team for the upcoming season.
- Nani opened up about his time with Manchester United, talking about his exit and how the club put a stop to a potential move to Juventus. But the best bit from Nani was how Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t care if players came to training drunk after New Year’s Eve.
- OCSC forward Tesho Akindele could step up to help Canada reach World Cup qualification in the next six months.
- Chief Revenue Officer Chris Gallagher is no longer with Orlando City and we wish him the best in the next stage of his career.
Chris Gallagher, CRO at Orlando City SC, announced this AM via Linkedin that he’ll be leaving the club. Will be a sales and marketing consultant with Nashville SC — and working on other projects — as he figures out longer-term plans.— Mark J. Burns (@markjburns88) January 1, 2020
- Former Lion Matias Perez Garcia — you may remember him as MPG — will play for Diego Maradona down in Argentina with Gimnasia La Plata.
- In more former Lion news, Hadji Berry has a new home with North Carolina FC, where he joins former teammate Conor Donovan.
- The United States Men’s National Team will face Jesse Marsch’s RB Salzburg side on Jan. 18 in Qatar as part of its training camp.
- USMNT defender DeAndre Yedlin broke his hand in Newcastle United’s 3-0 loss to Leicester City.
- The Portland Timbers have a new Designated Player, signing winger Yimmi Chara from Atletico Mineiro. If he sounds familiar, it’s because his older brother, Diego Chara, is also on the Timbers.
- Sorry Pride fans, Florida State University star Deyna Castellano signed with Atletico Madrid.
- The Ghana Football Association cleaned house, dissolving the technical teams of all of its national teams. New year, new Ghana?
That’s going to do it for me, Mane Landers. I hope each and every one of you have an awesome Friday and I’ll be bringing you even more links tomorrow.