Good morning, Mane Landers! It’s Saturday and we are that much closer to Orlando City, the Orlando Pride, and Orlando City B all playing again. It’s like when your birthday is getting close and you can feel the excitement start to build, but with soccer.
Speaking of birthdays, I would like to send a huge happy birthday to my father, Lou. I won’t say how old he is, but he is the one that instilled a love for soccer in me from as far back as I can remember, and it is something we still share today. Thanks, Dad!
Let’s also wish a happy birthday to Pride defender Morgan Reid, who turns 25 today. Now, on to the links!
Remembering the 49
Yesterday was the fourth anniversary of the tragic Pulse nightclub shooting that took the lives of 49 people, and injured 53 more. It is etched in the hearts of the Orlando community, including those with Orlando City, the Orlando Pride, OCB, and those of us at The Mane Land. Typically, there are services and vigils in remembrance of the 49, however, with the coronavirus still around, more of those observances moved online. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a proclamation that June 12 will be “Pulse Remembrance Day” and that all flags be flown at half-staff.
The outpouring on social media was not the only thing that happened, as several Pride players visited the Pulse memorial earlier this week.
It looks like over half of the Orlando Pride visited the Pulse memorial yesterday. Both teams typically dedicate their game before or after June 12th to honoring the 49 and the LGBT community. (Pics from Kristen Edmond’s instagram) pic.twitter.com/CqfNZss2SH— Julia Poe (@jpoe24601) June 12, 2020
Our thoughts remain with the families and friends of the victims, as well as the survivors of this terrible tragedy.
MLS Tournament Preparation
Several MLS clubs returned to full training this week, though Orlando City is not on that list as of yet. The moratorium was lifted on June 4 and clubs needed to submit plans for safe training to the league. The plans must be approved by the medical staff and a local infectious disease expert, and a strict testing schedule for the coronavirus must be in place.
Meanwhile, Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson got a little chippy about his club’s draw in the MLS is Back Tournament.
Looks like we got the cupcake group . Seattle sure got a challenging draw. Never easy for Portland. Wouldnt want it any other way!— Merritt Paulson (@MerrittPaulson) June 11, 2020
Bring it on!
I’m not saying he’s wrong, but that is some serious passive aggressive tweeting. Of course, if you’d like to try your hand at picking the bracket for the tournament, you can sign up for the official MLS Bracket Challenge here.
Black Lives Matter in the Soccer Community
The English Premier League will put a Black Lives Matter badge on jerseys, alongside a badge thanking the National Health Service for its work during the pandemic. The EPL also confirmed players who wish to take a knee before or during matches will be allowed to do so with no repercussions.
In the Bundesliga, Borussia Mönchengladbach has over 150,000 members, but the club was disappointed to learn that many posted racist and bigoted comments after the German side released a statement supporting the BLM movement. The club wasted no time trying to clean up the comments, and told any members that don’t share their values to go ahead and terminate their memberships.
United States Men’s National Team goalkeeper Zack Steffen started a fundraiser to help businesses damaged in the protests, raising over $40,000 already. Steffen also founded VOYCEnow, a platform designed to give a voice to black athletes and let others learn about black life and history in America. Steffen’s club, Fortuna Düsseldorf is supporting his efforts promoting the cause.
You may remember that USMNT left back Antonee Robinson was ready to move from Wigan Athletic to AC Milan on an $8 million transfer back in January. Unfortunately, he failed his medical exam due to an irregular heart rhythm. Over the last six months, Robinson underwent a heart procedure in March, and has worked his way back to full fitness. He is now set to play with Wigan Athletic when the English Football League Championship returns.
- With the help of his wife and two sons, former Lion Jamie Watson held a gender reveal for his third child.
- While many USL teams are gearing up for the upcoming season, some affiliated with MLS teams may not participate.
Buried the news here, but I can confirm Steven’s reporting that several MLS affiliates in the #USL are looking at opting out of a 2020 return-to-play.— Jeff Rueter (@jeffrueter) June 13, 2020
All but two voted against the Championship return to play last week. 22-13 vote, 7 MLS2 against. https://t.co/5oJL8Kgmug https://t.co/aludazMcKv
- Let’s give a big shout out to the Richmond Kickers after they raised over $4,000 to provide 16,000 meals for those in need in the community. That’s the kind of story we need right now.
- I don’t usually like to point out good things done by Manchester United players, but Marcus Rashford really made it hard not to this time. In conjunction with the charity organization Fareshare UK, he provided three million meals to those in need in the UK. This is also the kind of story we need right now.
- On the mask front, another Manchester United player is helping by donating all proceeds from the sale of his “Jlingz” masks to the National Health Service.
Really pleased that we can do this. The new Jlingz mask to help keep you all safe with new guidelines coming in. Best part all proceeds will be going to the NHS to help with their amazing ongoing work. Stay safe out there! https://t.co/XUrpeu3CZo pic.twitter.com/pIeGBspxjT— Jesse Lingard (@JesseLingard) June 12, 2020
- Meanwhile at the top of the table, Liverpool’s LFC Foundation donated 25,000 masks to local doctors through the Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group. These are definitely the types of stories we need right now.
- I’m not sure why I hadn’t heard about Space United FC before, but I think I might need one of its very clean jerseys, or at least a scarf. The club is made up of players that work for SpaceX, Blue Origin, and other space-based companies.
Have a great weekend, remember the 49 and stay united, Orlando.