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Lion Links: 6/2/20

NWSL Challenge Cup schedule released, possible MLS lockout looms, Elinsky’s road to Orlando, and more.

SOCCER: AUG 24 NWSL - Orlando Pride at Washington Spirit Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Good morning and happy Tuesday, everyone. I’m extremely tired after a long drive back from visiting family, and there’s a ton of important news to cover today so let’s get right down to it.

NWSL Challenge Cup Schedule Set

Yesterday the NWSL released the schedule for the league’s upcoming Challenge Cup, a tournament which will start later this month. The Orlando Pride will open the tournament with a game against the Chicago Red Stars on June 27, with more specific details regarding a time and broadcast information to be determined at a later date. A draw was held yesterday afternoon to determine the dates and opponents for each team during the tournament’s first round. The Pride’s schedule isn’t exactly easy, as the team faces the Portland Thorns and then the North Carolina Courage after taking on the Red Stars.

Potential MLS Lockout Looms

The Major League Soccer Player’s Association has voted to approve its most recent counteroffer to Major League Soccer’s proposed economic concessions for the current season, alterations to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and the proposed summer tournament in Orlando. However, MLS said Monday that it will not change its current offer and is said to be giving players until noon Wednesday to accept the league’s terms or MLS will lock the players out. However, that hard deadline was originally set for noon today.

The league and the MLSPA have struggled to come to terms on a variety of different things ranging from the details of proposed salary cuts, to the terms of players participating in the summer tournament in Orlando. Players did not take Major League Soccer’s threat of a lockout lying down, and players from various teams around the league did not attend training sessions yesterday. Atlanta United, Minnesota United, the Columbus Crew, and Orlando City were among the clubs who had players decline to attend scheduled training sessions.

Elinsky’s Road to the Pride

Abby Elinsky has had to work her butt off to get to where she is today — a midfielder for the Pride. While she was selected by the Houston Dash in the 2018 NWSL College Draft, she was released by the team before the season started. Even though she landed with Orlando as a national team replacement player she only featured in two games that season. After coming back for the 2019 season though, she made appearances in 18 games, and is back again for the 2020 season. She’s had quite the interesting journey to becoming a professional athlete, and hopefully she’s able to become an important contributor for a Pride team looking to rebound from a very difficult 2019.

A Letter From Orlando’s CAO

After the various events and unrest that have taken place in the U.S. over the last week, Orlando City’s Chief Administrative Officer Caesar Lopez wrote a letter to the Orlando community addressing several things. Lopez talked about his own experiences as a person of color and asked for the community to stand together and try to intentionally be proactive and change things for the better. He also spoke about the club’s intention to try and be more aware of the issues faced by its black and minority staffers and players, and called for the club to take a leadership role in the city.

Free Kicks

That’ll do it for me today, y’all stay safe out there.