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Lion Links: 2/9/21

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New CBA ratified, Muzzi and Pareja look to duplicate success of Dallas academy, Orlando City transfer rumor, and more.

Sao Paulo v Atletico MG - Brasileirao Series A 2019 Photo by Miguel Schincariol/Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, everyone! After a key piece of news dropped yesterday, we’re that much closer to the start of a new MLS season! There’s plenty of good stuff to get to today, so let’s not waste any more time.

New CBA Ratified

Major League Soccer and the MLS Players Association have officially ratified a new collective bargaining agreement, with the news coming yesterday evening. The new CBA covers the next seven years, and will run through 2027. A big point that likely helped get the agreement over the line is that players will get 100% of their salaries and bonuses in 2021, after taking pay cuts last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Another large change is that starting in 2026, a player only needs to be 24 years old with four years of service in the league to qualify for free agency, whereas they previously needed to have five years of service. Now that the new CBA has been ratified, the league will announce the regular season schedule in the near future, but word is that camp and opening day could get pushed by a week or so.

Muzzi and Pareja Want to Replicate Academy Success

One of the big appeals of bringing in Oscar Pareja and Luiz Muzzi is the success they engineered at FC Dallas at all levels of the club. In particular, Dallas became known for its youth system under the two, and the announcement of the Orlando City Youth Soccer Network is their effort to try to bring the type of success to Orlando City’s academy that they did to Dallas’. Florida has a ton of youth soccer talent and Muzzi believes that the OCYSN is going to help the club recruit and develop that talent, while also growing the game and bringing it to places where the sport didn’t always have a ton of exposure.

Orlando City Reportedly Makes Offer to Alexandre Pato

We have a transfer rumor to bring you this morning, with reports that Orlando City is interested in signing Alexandre Pato. The 31-year-old Brazilian striker does not currently have a club, after he left Sao Paulo in the summer. He would be an interesting signing for the Lions, and would certainly fulfill the need for an experienced striker alongside Daryl Dike, Derek Dodson, and Tesho Akindele. It’s fair to ask questions about his scoring ability and durability, although it’s unlikely he would be brought in to be the first choice striker. Regardless of all that, it’s important to note that this is nothing more than a rumor at present.

Mike Dean Asks for Officiating Break Following Death Threats

Referee Mike Dean has asked for a break from officiating matches in the Premier League after receiving death threats aimed at him and his family. Dean gave a controversial red card to West Ham’s Thomas Soucek during the team’s game against Fulham over the weekend. While the red card was eventually overturned, Dean and his family have still received plenty of abuse. Dean is still set to officiate an FA Cup game between Leicester City and Brighton and Hove Albion tomorrow, but will not handle any league games this weekend. The death threats have been reported to the police.

Free Kicks
  • Toni Pressley killed some time with Orlando Pride teammate Ali Riley.

That’ll be all for me today. Y’all stay safe out there.