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Lion Links: 6/19/20

Juneteenth celebrations, Kamal Miller is ready for the tournament, NWSL player tests positive for coronavirus, and more.

SOCCER: JUL 27 MLS - Orlando City SC at New England Revolution Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

How’s it going, Mane Landers. Today is Juneteenth, a day to remember the emancipation of slaves in the United States. While not a new holiday, it is especially poignant this year and you can take part in demonstrations and events throughout the Orlando area to celebrate one of the biggest events in U.S. history. Now, let’s dive into today’s links.

Juneteenth Named Orlando City Soccer Club Holiday

In observation of the holiday, OCSC will close its Exploria Stadium offices today and will annually recognize Juneteenth moving forward. The club is committed to holding an active dialogue with minority communities in the Orlando area and speaking out against social injustices in the country.

Kamal Miller Reflects on Full Team Training

In his second year with the team, Orlando City defender Kamal Miller is glad the team held full team training this week for the first time since March 12. The change comes at a great time with the MLS is Back Tournament right around the corner in a few weeks. Head Coach Oscar Pareja and his staff are able to work with Miller and the rest of the team at a greater capacity and the 23-year-old Canadian is ready to show Major League Soccer what the Lions are made of in the upcoming tournament.

“Moving into this tournament, the message is definitely to be the hardest working team there,” said Miller. “We’ve been working extremely hard in these conditions every day to make sure we’re ready for the tournament. So when the tournament finally gets here, we know that no team will outwork us, and we’ll do everything we can to defend our home and defend our home state of Florida.”

Nani Discusses Tournament and Future

After missing the first two games of the season due to suspension, Orlando City midfielder Nani is ready to finally return to competitive play in the MLS is Back Tournament. In a video call with Taylor Twellman (Nani comes on at the 23:30 mark), Nani discussed how he is staying fit so that he’s ready to return next month. Nani also isn’t buying into the talk that Orlando is at an advantage playing in the Florida heat, stating that the quality of play is the true difference maker and that the Lions’ first opponent is fellow Floridian club Inter Miami CF.

You can check out all Nani had to say in the video below, including European players asking about MLS, Manchester United’s top four chances, and his aspirations to play well enough to represent Portugal once more.

NWSL Player Tests Positive

An unidentified National Women’s Soccer League player tested positive for the coronavirus. The league didn’t name the team the player is on, but stated the club is following contact tracing and resulting tests have been negative in possibly exposed players and staff. No changes are announced for the NWSL Challenge Cup set to begin on June 27 and the league will continue to monitor the situation with player safety as a priority.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando City defender Robin Jansson is selling a signed jersey for a great cause.
  • Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary for Marta adding yet another accolade to her legendary list.
  • Relive this Orlando City flashback, courtesy of Júlio “The Beast” Baptista.

That’s going to be it for me, folks. I hope you all have a great Juneteenth and a fantastic rest of your weekend, including Father’s Day.