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Lion Links: 1/8/21

Shelina Zadorsky signs with Tottenham Hotspur, the Orlando Pride re-sign Toni Pressley, Exploria Stadium may host the SheBelieves Cup, and more.

SOCCER: JUL 20 NWSL - Sky Blue FC at Orlando Pride Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

How’s it going, Mane Landers? Hopefully the first work week of 2021 wasn’t too rough on you as we head into the weekend. I’m personally trying to shed some weight picked up over the holidays, but we’ll see how long I can keep it up. We can only take the year one day at a time and I hope this Friday goes well. Now, let’s get to the links!

Shelina Zadorsky Will Stay In England for Now

Orlando Pride center back Shelina Zadorsky signed a deal with Tottenham Hotspur, opting to stay with the Women’s Super League team until the end of the 2020-2021 season. The Canadian was loaned to Tottenham by the Pride last season and could opt to return, although not until after Tottenham’s final regular season game on May 9. It’s not ideal for the Pride to be without one of their core members of defense, especially considering the lack of depth at the position, but they do have resources at their disposal to bring in another center back if needed.

Tottenham also signed former Pride defender Alanna Kennedy, who was selected by Racing Louisville FC in the NWSL Expansion Draft, for the rest of the WSL season.

Pride Re-sign Toni Pressley

Defender Toni Pressley will be with the Pride during the 2021 season after signing a one-year contract that includes an option for an additional year. With so many defenders from 2020 gone, Pressley’s signing secures some level of familiarity on the back line. The 30-year-old has been with the Pride since their inaugural season in 2016 and has made 46 regular-season starts in purple. Still, Pressley’s signing alone doesn’t shore up the center back position with Zadorsky, Kennedy, and the recently traded Emily Sonnett no longer on the roster, plus the departures of Morgan Reid and Julie King.

Exploria Stadium May Host SheBelieves Cup

The 2021 calendar year may be a busy one for soccer in Orlando as the city continues to host games and tournaments during the pandemic. Exploria Stadium is already set to host a pair of United States Women’s National Team friendlies later this month, but it may also host all of the SheBelieves Cup in late February.

Orlando hosted a pair of games during the 2018 and 2020 SheBelieves Cup tournaments and this year’s edition will likely include the USWNT, Brazil, Canada, Japan, and Norway. While a limited number of spectators are permitted for the upcoming USWNT friendlies, nothing is finalized yet for the SheBelieves Cup. It’s nice seeing Orlando’s soccer scene thriving and hosting all of these tournaments may bode well for the city’s chances at hosting during the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

MLS Transfer News

Former Orlando City player Kevin Molino officially signed with the Columbus Crew, joining an already loaded offense. It will be Molino’s first time playing under a head coach who isn’t Adrian Heath since 2010. Philadelphia Union center back Mark McKenzie also completed his move to Genk, officially joining the Belgian side with a reportedly $6 million transfer fee. Fellow American Bryan Reynolds is also expected to head to Europe, with Juventus joining AS Roma and Club Brugge for the FC Dallas right back.

The New England Revolution added winger Emmanuel Boateng and defender A.J. DeLaGarza, both reuniting with Bruce Arena. Real Salt Lake officially signed Rubio Rubin, bringing the American to MLS for the first time. Midfielder Roger Espinoza also re-signed with Sporting Kansas City.

On the managerial side of things in MLS, Inter Miami and head coach Diego Alonso mutually agreed to part ways, MLS will take the reins on selling Real Salt Lake, Nashville SC gave a contract extension to General Manager Mike Jacobs, and former United States Men’s National Team defender Steve Cherundolo has reached out to coach in MLS.

Free Kicks

That’s going to do it for today, Mane Landers. I hope each and every one of you stays safe and healthy out there. Have a great Friday and I’ll catch you next time.