Welcome to the first Friday of 2022, Mane Landers! Hopefully your first week of the new year went smoothly as we head into the weekend. My resolutions have been going well so far as I read two books this week and have been going on daily walks. Let’s get this Friday started off on the right foot with links from around the soccer world!
Daryl Dike Discusses His Return to England
In an interview with ESPN, forward Daryl Dike spoke about his return to the English Football League Championship after being transferred from Orlando City to West Bromwich Albion.
“It was an easy decision when I heard about the club’s interest in me,” Dike said. “It’s always been in my head to be over here in England.
“Growing up I have always dreamed of playing here, especially at a club like this with history, the manager and the opportunity to go up to the Premier League. There were so many different factors for me that made the decision a lot easier.”
Last year, Dike went on loan to help Barnsley FC climb the EFL table and reach the playoffs for a chance at promotion. Although that attempt fell short, Dike did well adjusting to the physical demands of the league and joins a West Brom side that currently sits in fourth place. While it’s bittersweet for Orlando fans to see Dike make the move abroad, it’s nice seeing him fired up about this opportunity to play in the English Premier League.
Lloyd Yaxley Leaves the Orlando Pride
Orlando Pride goalkeeper coach Lloyd Yaxley announced on Twitter that he is leaving the club. Yaxley thanked the Pride organization, the fans, and the many goalkeepers he has coached during his time in Orlando.
Yaxley was appointed as the Pride’s goalkeeper coach back in 2017 by former head coach Tom Sermanni. He’s been an integral part of goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris’ development over her career and helped ensure the Pride were strong at the position throughout his tenure. It will be interesting to see if he will head to NJ/NY Gotham FC to reunite with Harris after she was traded there during the off-season. Regardless, we wish Yaxley the best of luck in the next step of his career.
Generation Adidas Class Announced Ahead of MLS SuperDraft
The MLS SuperDraft is set to take place on Tuesday and the league announced eight players as part of the 2022 Generation Adidas class. The salaries of Generation Adidas players are not charged against the salary cap of the team that chooses them, making them premium choices in the draft. While Orlando won’t make a selection until the 18th pick, the Lions have chosen a forward with their first pick in their past three drafts and may trade up for one this year as well. If so, international forwards Ousseni Bouda and Thorleifur Ulfarsson are Generation Adidas players who may be worth taking a chance on. Here’s the full list of the players eligible for Tuesday’s draft, as well as a breakdown on the draft’s value for MLS teams.
Gregg Berhalter Calls In 19 Players for USMNT January Camp
A total of 19 MLS players were called up by United States Men’s National Team Head Coach Gregg Berhalter for a two-week camp in Arizona that starts today and lasts through Jan. 27. There’s a mix of USMNT experience among those called up. Of the 19 players headed to Arizona, 10 were part of the USMNT’s World Cup qualifying, including Walker Zimmerman, Kellyn Acosta, and Matt Turner. This camp will also be a great opportunity for Berhalter to better evaluate players like midfielders Djordje Mihailovic and Cole Bassett, who both showed promise at times in 2021. Winger Jordan Morris will also be at the camp as he makes his way back from injury to become a part of the USMNT’s World Cup plans.
- FC Dallas will play a preseason match against Orlando City on Feb. 5, with the location still to be determined.
- Orlando City fans are waiting with bated breath for the Lions to make a signing this off-season. The Lions have been linked with a move for Uruguayan winger Facundo Torres over the past month, but there hasn’t been much progress and his club, Peñarol, stated that Torres is one of many players to test positive for COVID-19.
SANIDAD: Se informa los casos de COVID-19 positivos que se registraron en el plantel principal. Los jugadores se encuentran siguiendo los protocolos sanitarios dispuestos por las autoridades. pic.twitter.com/TUh4BkgGk6— PEÑAROL (@OficialCAP) January 6, 2022
- Orlando City also announced a number of events leading up to the start of the 2022 season, including City Art Jam and a chance to enjoy a few beers with Head Coach Oscar Pareja.
- Former Pride player Camille Levin was named general manager of the Kansas City Current.
- Real Salt Lake co-owner David Blitzer spoke on Twitter about the organization’s commitment to bring NWSL soccer back to Utah.
- D.C. United is reportedly open to trading away Ola Kamara, who finished with a whopping 19 goals last season.
- In MLS transfer news, the Colorado Rapids added Brazilian attacker Max Alves de Silva as a U22 Initiative signing while the San Jose Earthquakes have signed Jan Gregus using Targeted Allocation Money. The LA Galaxy also added defender Kelvin Leerdam as a free agent.
- Ed Woodward will leave his role as Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman at the end of the month.
That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a wonderful Friday and rest of your weekend. Make sure to drink plenty of water and look out for one another. Go Orlando!