Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. I’m just trying to stay warm as it’s getting colder up here in Chicago. However, I’m looking forward to coming back to visit Florida again soon. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links!
Orlando Pride Name Amanda Cromwell as Head Coach
The Orlando Pride hired former UCLA and UCF women’s soccer head coach Amanda Cromwell as the club’s third-ever head coach. Cromwell had a successful run at the collegiate level with UCLA, leading the Bruins to a 2013 NCAA championship during her first year as head coach. In nine years at the helm, Cromwell helped UCLA win four Pac-12 conference titles and reach the College Cup three times. Before joining UCLA, Cromwell also coached at UCF and led the Knights to 11 NCAA tournament appearances in 13 seasons. Cromwell expressed her gratitude for this opportunity in the National Women’s Soccer League.
“I am grateful to the Wilf family and the entire Orlando Pride organization to have the opportunity as the next head coach of the Orlando Pride,” Cromwell said. “I am thrilled to lead this tremendous group of players and be part of a world-class club. The NWSL is a natural transition for me at this point in my career and I am excited to return to the Central Florida soccer community. At the same time, I am thankful for the nine fantastic years I have spent as the head coach at UCLA, supported by my players on the field, coaches by my side, and an administration dedicated to competitive excellence. I have a heavy heart leaving the players and coaches, but I know the future is bright.”
Cromwell replaces Marc Skinner and takes over for interim coach Becky Burleigh after a 2021 season that finished with the Pride in eighth place. The Pride’s new coach fielded questions regarding how her experience as a player and collegiate coach will help her at the professional level and how she wants the team to play a style that’s engaging for fans and players.
.@Cromwell_Coach is excited to get going.— Orlando Pride (@ORLPride) December 7, 2021
Hear from our Head Coach for the first time. #AdAstra pic.twitter.com/eQazSP7PsB
Emily van Egmond Returns to Newcastle
The Pride announced the transfer of midfielder Emily van Egmond to Newcastle Jets FC in Australia’s top-flight women’s league. The Pride will retain her NWSL playing rights while van Egmond returns to Australia to play for her hometown team during the NWSL off-season. This will be van Egmond’s fifth stint playing in Newcastle and the transfer allows her to join the Australian side immediately. After playing for West Ham United in England earlier this year, van Egmond returned to the Orlando Pride late in the season and appeared in the club’s final two games. Her contract with the Pride expires on Dec. 31 and only time will tell if she will be part of the Pride’s plans for 2022 once Newcastle’s season comes to a close.
Carles Gil Wins Major League Soccer MVP
New England Revolution midfielder Carles Gil was named the 2021 Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player. Gil led the league with 18 assists this season, with eight of those resulting in a game-winning goal for New England. The 29-year-old also scored four goals as he helped the Revolution claim their first Supporters Shield and the all-time MLS single-season points record. Gil won a majority of the vote and finished ahead of Nashville SC’s Hany Mukhtar and the Seattle Sounders’ João Paulo. The Spaniard was also named MLS Comeback Player of the Year and earned a spot on the MLS Best XI alongside Goalkeeper of the Year and Revolution teammate Matt Turner.
Champions League Teams Learn Their Fate
Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool, Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Ajax, and Sporting CP all advanced to the knockout stage of the Champions League. FC Porto and Atletico Madrid played a thrilling match that included four goals and three red cards all in the second half. Atleti won 3-1 to advance while Porto will head to the Europa League. Elsewhere, Liverpool beat AC Milan 2-1, Real Madrid shut out Inter Milan 2-0, and Ajax won 4-2 against Sporting CP. In RB Leipzig’s first match since Jesse Marsch’s departure as head coach, the German club upset Manchester City 2-1 and will now compete in the Europa League. Sheriff Tiraspol will also join the Europa League alongside Borussia Dortmund, which won 5-0 against Besiktas.
In today’s action, there are four knockout stage spots still up for grabs. If Benfica wins against Dynamo Kyiv then FC Barcelona will need to win on the road against Bayern Munich in order to advance. Atalanta will battle with Villareal for a spot in the next round while Manchester United hosts a BSC Young Boys squad that could still reach the Europa League. All four teams in Group G are still in contention with plenty of Americans in action as Timothy Weah’s Lille takes on John Brooks’ Wolfsburg while Brenden Aaronson and RB Salzburg host Sevilla.
- Orlando City signed eSports player Javier “JMendez17_” Mendez to represent the club at the eMLS and FIFA 22 Global Series.
- MLS Commissioner Don Garber delivered his annual State of the League Address and spoke about the progress to bring the 30th expansion team to Las Vegas. Garber also stated that he is against the idea of a biennial World Cup.
- MLS updated its diversity hiring policy to increase consideration of minority candidates for positions across the league.
- The NWSL will host the 2022 Expansion Draft and 2022 NWSL Draft remotely out of an abundance of caution.
- The Guardian began listing its top 100 best female footballers in the world in 2021. The players ranked from 100th to 71st were unveiled, including Americans Carli Lloyd, Trinity Rodman, and Julie Ertz.
That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Wednesday and I’ll see you next time.