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Lion Links: 1/5/23

Zackory Campagnolo called up, Danielle Reyna told U.S. Soccer about Gregg Berhalter, Aaron Long joins LAFC, and more.

Netherlands v USA: Round of 16 - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope 2023 has been treating you well so far. I’ve spent most of 2023 working, reading, and walking. I’m also trying to try at least one new restaurant each week and am looking forward to a new burger joint this weekend.

Before we get started with today’s links, let’s all wish a happy birthday to Orlando Pride forward Darian Jenkins!

Zackory Campagnolo Called Up for Training Camp

U-17 U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach Michael Nsien called up 23 players for a training camp in Tampa, including Orlando City academy goalkeeper Zackory Campagnolo. This isn’t Campagnolo’s first rodeo with the team, as he was called up for a similar camp in August and the Football Federations Cup U-16 in Spain this past November. This training will last through Jan. 13 and will help prepare the team for the Concacaf U-17 Championship in Guatemala next month.

Danielle Reyna Reported the Gregg Berhalter Incident

Danielle Reyna, the mother of United States Men’s National Team midfielder Giovanni Reyna, stated that she was the one who informed U.S. Soccer Sporting Director Earnie Stewart about Gregg Berhalter’s domestic violence incident from 1991. She gave that information on Dec. 11, which is the same day Berhalter detailed at a leadership conference how a player was nearly sent home during the World Cup. Giovanni Reyna revealed he was that player the next day.

“I thought it was especially unfair that Gio, who had apologized for acting immaturely about his playing time, was still being dragged through the mud when Gregg had asked for and received forgiveness for doing something so much worse at the same age.”

Claudio Reyna, Giovanni’s father, messaged Stewart and USMNT General Manager Brian McBride during the World Cup about his son’s lack of playing time, although he denies he threatened to share allegations about Berhalter’s past. U.S. Soccer reportedly did not receive any details about the claims until an executive’s phone call with Danielle and Claudio Reyna on Dec. 11.

USMNT Will be Coached by Anthony Hudson in January

Anthony Hudson will coach the USMNT for its training camp and friendlies against Serbia and Colombia in California later this month. Stewart announced the news. Hudson served as an assistant coach for the USMNT during the World Cup. He has coaching experience at both the club and international level, including a rather lackluster stint with the Colorado Rapids. The pair of friendlies will be the USMNT’s first matches since the World Cup, and it will be interesting to see which Americans are called up by Hudson and his staff.

Long Joins LAFC, Gazdag Re-Signs, and More MLS Transfer News

LAFC ended up winning the race for American center back Aaron Long, signing the 30-year-old to a deal through the 2024 season. The California native has been with the New York Red Bulls for the past six seasons and was named MLS Defender of the Year in 2018. Long was also named to the USMNT’s World Cup roster, although he didn’t take the field in Qatar. He joins a strong center back unit in LAFC that already includes Giorgio Chiellini and Jesus Murillo.

The Philadelphia Union re-signed Daniel Gazdag to a new contract that makes him a Designated Player and keeps him with the club through 2025, with an option for 2026 as well. The 26-year-old started in all 34 of the Union’s games last year, and became just the sixth MLS player to contribute at least 20 goals and 10 assists in one season.

In other Eastern Conference news, FC Cincinnati signed 22-year-old midfielder Alvaro Barreal to a contract extension. Veteran defender Harrison Afful re-signed with Charlotte FC and will also hold a player development role with the club. New York City FC officially signed 18-year-old right back Mitja Ilenič to help fill the void left by Anton Tinnerholm’s departure. The New England Revolution reportedly agreed to sign Nashville SC defender Dave Romney. The center back has been a key part of Nashville’s defense over the past three seasons.

Free Kicks
  • Congratulations to Pride teammates Erin McLeod and Gunny Jonsdottir on their marriage!
  • The official match ball for the 2023 MLS season was unveiled and it incorporates the “sonic identities” from each MLS club. I’m pretty indifferent to how these match balls look, but I do prefer last year’s floral pattern compared to this Beyblade design.
  • Inter Milan handed Napoli its first loss of the Serie A season, winning 1-0 thanks to a goal from Edin Dzeko and a late save from Andre Onana.
  • FC Barcelona had its hands full in the Copa del Rey against a CF Intercity team that scored three equalizers. Barcelona won 4-3 to advance to the next round, joining Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, and Sevilla in the round of 16.
  • Lionel Messi received a guard of honor from those at Paris Saint-Germain after he beat France to win his first World Cup.
  • Robert Lewandowski’s three-game ban was upheld, meaning he will miss Barcelona’s road match against Atletico Madrid this Sunday.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday and rest of your week!