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Lion Links: 12/18/20

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Daryl Dike reportedly on Belgian club’s radar, Alex Ring traded to Austin FC, The Best FIFA Football Awards, and more.

New York City FC v Orlando City SC: Round One - MLS Cup Playoffs Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

How’s it going, Mane Landers? We’re only a week away from Christmas and two weeks away from 2021, so hang in there. It’s certainly been a long year, but we are almost through it. I’m still trying to get into the swing of the holiday season and am looking forward to this weekend to put up some decorations. But for now, enjoy these links from around the soccer world.

Daryl Dike Noticed by Belgian Club

According to reports, Orlando City forward Daryl Dike is on Club Brugge’s radar after a strong rookie reason in Major League Soccer. The Belgian club is in the market for a striker, although it may try to bring in a more experienced veteran than the 20-year-old. Still, Dike draws comparisons to Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku. Although there may not be much to these reports for now, it’s not surprising he is being watched by clubs abroad and that will only increase as he improves in MLS.

Alex Ring Goes Green After MLS Trade

New York City FC midfielder Alex Ring is headed to Texas after being traded to Austin FC in exchange for up to $1.25 million in General Allocation Money (GAM) if Ring hits performance-based incentives. Ring was a regular starter for NYCFC over the course of four seasons, showcasing both his versatility and leadership. He brings those important qualities to Austin ahead of its inaugural season in 2021 and reunites with former NYCFC Sporting Director Claudio Reyna in a move that made sense for both sides.

Austin wasn’t the only Texas team wheeling and dealing. The Houston Dynamo gave up $275,000 in GAM in a trade with FC Dallas to acquire Fafa Picault. The winger will help the Dynamo stretch their offense across the field and add some more firepower so that Darwin Quintero isn’t the team’s “lone star.”

NCAA Approves Waiver Ahead of NWSL Draft

The National Women’s Soccer League draft is set for Jan. 13 and the NCAA approved a waiver that allows collegiate players to register for the draft without forfeiting their college eligibility. It’s important news due to the possibility of a spring season and now drafted players can choose between immediately joining their NWSL team or staying in school and joining after the spring season. Players have until Jan. 11 to register and Jan. 22 to decide when they will report to their NWSL side.

International Award Winners Announced

As part of The Best FIFA Football Awards, Robert Lewandowski beat out Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to be named The Best FIFA Men’s Player of the Year for 2020. The Polish forward amassed an incredible 55 goals to lift Bayern Munich to a treble and the award was well deserved. England’s Lucy Bronze was named The Best FIFA Women’s Player of the Year, becoming the first defender to do so after a strong season with Lyon.

Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp predictably won The Best FIFA Men’s Coach of the Year while The Best FIFA Women’s Coach of the Year title went to Sarina Wiegman, who managed the Netherlands to an unbeaten UEFA Women’s Euro qualifying campaign. Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford also received the FIFA Foundation award for his work fighting child poverty and lobbying for free school meals during the pandemic.

Canadian left back Alphonso Davies became the first North American player to make the FIFPro Men’s World XI. Megan Rapinoe and Tobin Heath were the only Americans to make the FIFPro Women’s World XI, although Rapinoe was surprised by her inclusion considering she hasn’t played since March.

Free Kicks

That’s going to do it for today, Mane Landers. Make sure to deck those halls and whatever the heck is left before next week. If you’re still shopping, I wish you the best of luck and stay safe out there. Have a great Friday!