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Lion Links: 1/10/23

Orlando City opens preseason, NWSL announces sanctions, Kansas City signs Debinha, and more.

Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Everyone’s favorite Major League Soccer team has officially begun preseason, which means we’re that much closer to Orlando City’s first game of the season next month. There’s a lot to cover today, so let’s jump straight in.

Orlando City Starts Preseason

Orlando City opened preseason on Monday and there are a few notable things to cover from the Lions’ first day back at the office. New signings Martin Ojeda, Lucas Petrasso and Felipe Martins were all on hand Monday, and Gaston Gonzalez was also with the team after missing last year with a torn ACL. Pedro Gallese, Ivan Angulo and new signing Rafael Santos were not with the team due to visa issues, while Antonio Carlos, Robin Jansson, and Jake Mulraney were away for personal reasons and Favian Loyola is busy training with the U-19 USMNT.

NWSL Announces Sanctions

The National Women’s Soccer League has announced a number of sanctions against both individuals and teams following the publishing of findings of the joint NWSL-NWSL Players Association investigation. Notable among the sanctions against individuals include lifetime bans from the league for Paul Riley, Christy Holly, Rory Dames, and Richie Burke. The Chicago Red Stars and Portland Thorns were fined $1.5 million and $1 million, respectively, and the league will work with both clubs to make sure their sales are conducted quickly and in the correct manner. Racing Louisville, North Carolina Courage, OL Reign, and NJ/NY Gotham FC also received penalties, while the Washington Spirit and Kansas City Current were named in the report but did not receive any sanctions.

Debinha Lands in Kansas City

Speaking of the Current, the team announced yesterday that it has signed Brazilian midfielder Debinha to a two-year contract, although many expected her to sign with the Orlando Pride. The 31-year-old had spent the last five seasons with the North Carolina Courage, and scored 42 goals in 115 games for the team. She has also made over 100 appearances for Brazil and was easily the best free agent on the NWSL market. The Current have made splash after splash this off-season, and Debinha’s arrival further solidifies the team as one that should be a force to be reckoned with in the 2023 season.

Gareth Bale and Hugo Lloris Announce Retirements

A pair of high-profile players announced their retirements yesterday, although one was only from the international game. Hugo Lloris announced his retirement from the French national team at the age of 36, having made 145 appearances for the team and winning the 2018 World Cup.

Gareth Bale however, announced his total retirement from soccer on Monday morning. Bale hangs up his boots at 33, having won the UEFA Champions League on numerous occasions, and helping LAFC to its first MLS Cup during the 2022 season. Bale’s retirement means that the reigning champions now have a Designated Player spot open and will have flexibility to bring in one or more players without needing to worry about a big contract for an aging player.

Free Kicks
  • Check out some of the scenes from the first day of preseason.

That does it for me today. Y’all stay safe out there.