clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Lion Links: 1/4/23

Benji Michel linked to European club, Central Florida Crusaders announce inaugural season schedule, U.S. Soccer releases statement on Gregg Berhalter investigation, and more.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Orlando City SC Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

[Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to better outline what happened on Tuesday with regard to the Gregg Berhalter situation.]

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. I’ve been busy getting back to work, but now that the holidays are over, it will be a slow period for a few months but a great time to catch up on some shows and soccer. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Benji Michel Linked to Move to Europe

Benji Michel’s contract expired with Orlando City after the end of the 2022 MLS season and he may be headed to Europe. The Lions made a qualifying bona fide offer to Michel in an effort to bring him back for 2023, but he is free to sign with another club. The latest rumor is that Michel will reportedly sign a two-and-a-half-year contract with Arouca FC in Portugal’s first division.

Michel has played in Orlando since the 2019 season. After four years with the Lions, the 25-year-old may be ready to move on to a challenge in Europe.

Central Florida Crusaders Announce Inaugural Season Schedule

The National Indoor Soccer League’s Central Florida Crusaders announced their inaugural schedule for the 2023 season for the men's and women's teams. The Crusaders will begin their season at home at UCF’s Addition Financial Arena as they host the Memphis Americans at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 5. Memphis is the reigning women’s division champion, so this should be a tough first match for the Crusaders. The Crusaders will then play the Tampa Bay Strikers on Feb. 18 at home and again on Feb. 26 in their first road match. The reigning men’s division champions, the Fayetteville Fury, will visit on March 25 and March 26. The Crusaders’ final home game of the season will be on April 23 against the Strikers, and they will close out their season in Tampa on April 29.

Gregg Berhalter, USSF Drop Bombshell Statements

Tuesday was a crazy day for fans of the United States Men’s National Team. It started with Gregg Berhalter — out of contract but still in contention to re-sign as the USMNT head coach — making a statement about an incident of domestic violence against his now-wife, Rosalind, while the two were dating as teenagers. Berhalter acknowledged kicking his wife in the legs during a heated argument and detailed how he sought counseling and used the incident as a learning experience. But the biggest part of the story was that someone threatened to go public with information about that incident in an effort to “take him down” with the information during the 2022 World Cup. He shared his story, which the as-yet-unnamed person threatened to use against him with the U.S. Soccer Federation.

The USSF later released its own statement on the matter, stating that it was investigating the incident and that individuals (plural) outside the organization had exhibited “inappropriate behavior” towards multiple members of the staff.

This is a wild story that is likely only going to get stranger as more details emerge, as it involves an apparent blackmail attempt of the national team coach for a 31-year-old matter that the parties involved seem to have long put behind them. In the meantime, the USMNT is preparing for its January camp and upcoming friendlies against Serbia and Colombia later this month. U.S. Soccer will announce the squad and who will be leading it in the coming days.

MLS Transfer News Roundup

MLS clubs are continuing to make moves during the off-season ahead of the 2023 season. LAFC made a trade with the New England Revolution, acquiring $400,000 in 2023 General Allocation Money (GAM) in exchange for midfielder Latif Blessing. LAFC could also receive $300,000 in GAM if certain conditions are met. Austin FC signed goalkeeper Matt Bersano to a two-year contract through 2024, with a club option for the 2025 season. Nashville SC has signed forward Tyler Freeman to a four-year contract. Also, the New York Red Bulls officially announced what has already been widely reported — that defender Aaron Long will move on from the club.

Free Kicks
  • Uruguayan midfielder Mateo Barcia was linked with a move to Orlando City last week, but it looks like the 21-year-old will reportedly join Independiente in Argentina.
  • USMNT forward Haji Wright scored his first goal of 2023 for Antalyaspor in Turkey.

That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Wednesday and I’ll see you next time.