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Lion Links: 9/9/20

Orlando Pride sign seven players, MLS NEXT unveiled, FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifying matches postponed, and more.

SOCCER: OCT 12 NWSL - Reign FC at Orlando Pride Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Good morning, Mane Landers! I hope the day finds you well. Let’s go ahead and jump right into the links.

Orlando Pride Signs Seven Players

With the NWSL Fall Series about to start and many of the Pride’s players out on loan, it comes as no real surprise that the club has signed seven players to short-term contracts. The Pride announced yesterday the signing of defenders Carrie Lawrence and Ally Haran, midfielders Zandy Soree, Deneisha Blackwood, Jordyn Listro, and Savanah Uveges, and forward Kate Howarth. They will all join the team for the upcoming series.

“We are very excited to add each of these players to the Orlando Pride,” Head Coach Marc Skinner said. “All seven represent the young, hungry talent we are hoping to identify and work with for the upcoming match period. We’ve been very happy with the progress each of these players have made since joining us and look forward to giving them the opportunity to play for the Pride in the Fall Series.”

MLS NEXT Unveiled

The new elite youth development platform created by MLS and top academies around the world, known as MLS NEXT was unveiled this week. The platform will include 489 teams across 113 clubs, while stretching over six age groups, all in an effort to advance players to first teams.

”MLS NEXT advances player development in North America, furthering Major League Soccer’s commitment to developing world-class players through an elite competitive pathway,” said Fred Lipka, VP and technical director of MLS Player Development, in a statement. “Major League Soccer is excited to begin MLS NEXT competition which will place player development at the forefront while giving players a safe and healthy environment to advance from academies to MLS first teams.”

Lee Nguyen Traded Back to New England Revolution

Orlando City is set to play Inter Miami again this weekend, and it was announced yesterday, that the New England Revolution have acquired Lee Nguyen from Miami. In exchange, Miami will receive a fourth-round selection in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft and up to $50,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM). His best seasons were with the Revs from 2012-2017 when he scored 51 goals and added 49 assists, helping New England make it to the 2014 finals.

FIFA World Cup 2022 World Cup Update

Concacaf has had continued discussions with its members, FIFA, and other stakeholders as the confederation works toward returning to competition. Following those discussions, Concacaf and FIFA both agree that the Concacaf qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar will not be played during the October/November FIFA match windows, but will instead begin with the first round in the FIFA match window of March 2021. New schedules will be released when finalized.

Free Kicks
  • Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 100th international goal.
  • Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford has received the PFA Merit Award for his efforts in fighting childhood hunger during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • Early reports suggest the NWSL Expansion Draft is coming in November.

That’s going to do it for me today, everyone. Have a great day and stay safe!