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Lion Links: 1/13/21

Andres Perea changes association to the U.S., the Orlando Pride name Ian Fleming general manager, NWSL draft news, and more.

MLS: New York City FC at Orlando City SC Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

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

Andres Perea’s Change of Association

It was announced yesterday that FIFA has officially accepted the request for Orlando City midfielder Andres Perea’s one-time change of association from Colombia to the United States. Perea, who was called up to the USMNT camp in December as well as the U-23 USMNT camp in January, filed for the one-time change and Gregg Berhalter delivered the news Tuesday that FIFA had approved.

“It was a very important decision for me. Colombia is my country as well, but it’s an honor for me to represent the United States as I did Colombia in the past. I’m young and I still have a lot to learn,” he continued. “It’s an opportunity that a lot of players dream of and I can’t let this chance go by. From now on, I will continue to give everything for this jersey, for this country and I’ll be very happy because there are better things to come.”

Daryl Dike Spotlighted by ASN

American Soccer Now shared a player spotlight on Orlando City’s Daryl Dike. At the start of the U-23 USMNT camp, Dike aims to build on the success he found in the 2020 season. Not only is he confident in his size, but he wants to make sure everyone he’s working with is aware of his skill too.

“I think obviously looking at me, people say - a hold-up striker, a big guy, he uses his body, he’s athletic,” Dike explained. “For me, I am a bigger player. I like to use my athleticism. I like to use my size when I play. I think that was one of the many things the coaches had me do - tweak my brain to not only enhance that, but add other things, the technical side, the vision. The coaches have definitely done a good job at helping me add elements to my game. I’ve always made sure and that all the coaches I’ve ever had have made sure that I am not just a big body,” he added. “I go out there and I show them my technique, I show them my brain, and I show them the other thing that I can do. As you level up, it gets faster. You have to be cleaner with everything. You have to be smarter.”

Orlando Pride Name General Manager

The Orlando Pride have officially announced that Ian Fleming will join the club as the new general manager. The 34-year-old joins the Pride from the Houston Dash, where he worked with not only the Dash but the Houston Dynamo as well.

“In the short term, what we have here is a great staff set in place. I have a lot of faith in Marc and the group. Amanda is a great hire for this club in the past year that is going to provide good direction on where we’re going from both a business and a soccer standpoint. The short-term goal is to make this team as competitive as possible immediately, with a view towards long-term of making us competitive, winning championships, and doing so in a sustainable way,” Fleming said.

The Orlando Sentinel’s Julia Poe, spoke with Fleming who shared about his first big move with the Pride, trading Emily Sonnett, and the future of Sydney Leroux. It was clear that things would be up in the air after husband Dom Dwyer was not re-signed to the Lions. Will the couple play in separate leagues for the first time in three years with their two young children, or leave Orlando?

“There is a desire for them to want to be together, and I respect that,” Fleming said. “At the same time, Sydney wants to be here and we want her here. We’re in a really good spot in terms of our negotiations right now. I’m feeling very, very good about getting her back in here as soon as possible and under contract, so I don’t want the fans to worry too much from that perspective.”

The club is to begin preseason training on Feb. 1.

He’s bringing in a little humor as he prepares for the draft.

NWSL Draft Updates

Here’s everything you need to know about tonight’s draft from the Orlando Pride’s Duda Pavao:

The NWSL has officially announced the list of players registered for the 2021 NWSL Draft.

In other NWSL news, commissioner Lisa Baird has announced that Sacramento will be entering the league as an expansion team for the 2022 season. The news is so new that neither the club nor the league have released a statement at the time of this writing.

Free Kicks
  • Six MLS players, including Orlando City’s Pedro Gallese, have reported to the Peruvian Soccer Federation’s facilities to ramp up fitness ahead of the MLS preseason and are working to claim a spot for for World Cup qualifiers.
  • MLS Commissioner Don Garber issued the latest updates on the 2021 season including facing continued restrictions most of, if not all of, the season.
  • Dom Dwyer and Sydney Leroux Dwyer’s son Cassius scored his first goal and took a shot at celebrating.
  • The USWNT moves closer to the appeal:

That’s going to do it for me today, everyone. Be sure to check back in later for all things NWSL Draft. Have a great week and stay safe!