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Lion Links: 6/15/20

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MLS expands advertising, transfer rumors, United States Soccer Federation woes, and more.

Soccer - MLS - Chicago Fire v MetroStars - Giants Stadium Photo by Matthew Ashton - PA Images via Getty Images

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! We’re another week closer to the return of Orlando City soccer, and I can’t wait. It’s about time we had something good this year, because 2020 has been the longest six months I can remember. Of course, the year is not nearly over, but at least we have soccer to look forward to. Let’s get to the links.

MLS Opens Advertising

Thanks to the shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, MLS Commissioner Don Garber estimates the league lost $1 billion in revenue. In an effort to stop the bleeding, the league will allow clubs to increase the advertising allowed on uniforms. Previously, clubs were allowed to have sponsors on the chest and right sleeve of the uniforms. Now, MLS has opened up sponsorship placement on the shorts, and is considering allowing it on the left sleeve as well. Atlanta United, LAFC, D.C. United, Sporting Kansas City, and Toronto FC have all signed up for the initiative already.

Even with clubs returning to play for the MLS is Back Tournament, there won’t be ticket sales. This type of advertising should help clubs increase revenue and fulfill agreements with sponsors.

Europe to America Rumors

There are always rumors regarding players in the European leagues coming to MLS. With the league returning to action, the rumor mill has started up again. Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos expressed interest in signing with Inter Miami CF following the 2022 World Cup. The news is not very surprising considering he and David Beckham are former teammates.

In other recent rumor news, United States Men’s National Team defender/winger Fabian Johnson may be in talks with several MLS clubs. Johnson currently plays for Borussia Mönchengladbach but is out of contract in a few days. The 32-year-old has played his entire professional career in Germany, but is looking for a Designated Player contract in MLS.

U.S. Soccer Problems

The United States Soccer Federation has had a rough go of it lately. The organization realized it was on the wrong side of the kneeling during the anthem issue, and new USSF President Cindy Parlow Cone issued an apology.

USSF will also launch a “diversity, equity and inclusion council” to address ongoing and future concerns. It hasn’t gotten any easier for the USSF, as it also announced a projected deficit of nearly $28 million for the 2020 fiscal year, $16.8 million more than previously planned. The shortfall is the result of the pandemic, a weak investment atmosphere, and lower than expected fundraising. U.S. Soccer furloughed approximately 50 employees and shuttered seven national youth teams for 2020.

D.C. United Player Tests Positive

An unnamed D.C. United player tested positive for the coronavirus. The club said the player’s symptoms are mild, and he was not a part of the group of players, families, and staff that painted Audi Field with “I Can’t Breathe” and “Black Lives Matter” last Sunday. The player is under isolation protocols and the club’s medical staff is working with local specialists to treat him.

The player is the third MLS player to test positive, with the Philadelphia Union’s Kacper Przybylko and an unnamed FC Dallas player. D.C. United is following all protocols in monitoring players and staff, which is how it discovered the positive test.

Free Kicks

That will do it for today. If you’ve got a couple of hours to spare, don’t forget to go listen to the 200th episode extravaganza of the Mane Land Pawedcast with special guests Oscar Pareja and Amanda Duffy.