In Don Garber’s State of the League event on Tuesday, a lot of news was made regarding the future of MLS and North American soccer in general. One aspect that hasn’t received too much discussion is the official disbandment of the MLS Reserve League and the league officially becoming “deeply committed to the USL Pro.”
“The Reserve League is going away. Every one of our clubs is either going to own or be affiliated with a USL Pro team,” the commissioner said. “And the reason why we’re doing it with the USL Pro is because they’re interested in doing that. They’re interested in affiliating with us and working together to help develop players.”
So what does this all mean for USL Pro?
Continue reading Louisville City Update: USL Pro to be New Reserve League?
The core of Orlando City’s roster is currently built around youth. With all the signings over this past year, one of the most recent ones came towards the end of the USL Pro season. Taking advantage of the partnership with SL Benfica, Orlando City brought in two young Portugese players to play with the first team. One of those players was Valdomiro Tualungo Paulo Lameira, also known more commonly as Estrela.
This defensive midfielder impressed in his limited time with the Lions. Although only playing in eight games last season, Estrela was able to prove his worth, despite his young age. He worked well in tandem with Darwin Cerén in the holding midfield and looked comfortable playing within Adrian Heath’s system, familiarizing himself with it in the span of just a few weeks.
Continue reading Lion Player Profiles: Estrela
I listen to Louisville’s local ESPN radio affiliate nearly every day. I listen to John Ramsey and Drew Deener in the morning on my way to work and school, and to Jason Anderson, Andy Sweeney, and Bob Valvano (the brother of the late Jimmy V) on my late afternoon rides home. They’re an enjoyable group of guys to listen to. They talk sports in a reasonable and entertaining way, bereft of much of the cliched gimmickry that sports talk radio often loathfully leans on.
They talk college football and basketball mostly, and not terribly much else. This is Louisville, after all, the self-proclaimed “Best College Sports Town in America.” It’s not something they really need to defend, frankly. They know their audience.
You know what I’ve never heard them talk about? Soccer.
Continue reading Louisville City: Does Louisville Have the Chops for MLS?
With the one-year anniversary of Orlando City’s MLS announcement passing the other day, it seems an appropriate time to look back to last year’s USL Pro team and see just where those players that have meant so much to the franchise over the years, have gone.
Out of the 24 players that were on last year’s roster, only eight have been retained to make the move to MLS—Homegrown Players Tommy Redding and Tyler Turner, Portuguese imports Rafael Ramos and Estrela, El Salvador captain Darwin Ceren, Trinidad and Tobago star Kevin Molino, and English imports Luke Boden and Harrison Heath. Each of these players were chosen because the coaching staff believed that they could be valuable assets to the team, come next year.
Continue reading Tracking Orlando City’s 2014 USL Pro Players
The weather in Louisville, Kentucky has cooled down considerably this week. We even awoke to find (gasp!) snow on the ground. All before Thanksgiving. However, despite the weather cooling, Louisville City FC news is heating up.
The club held a town hall meeting at Against the Grain Brewery, which is inside its home stadium, Louisville Slugger Field. Coach James O’Connor and club President Djorn Buchholz were made available to answer questions from a crowd of around 100 LCFC fans. Here are my notes on the meeting:
(By the way, if you find yourself wondering what Louisville City FC is, you can find my introduction to the club here.)
- O’Connor already has expectations for what his first team will look like on the pitch next spring. He expressed his desire to have a team that can play “attacking, possession-based football” featuring a high pressure system with players that will be able to “win the ball back high up the pitch.” He discussed that he has specific expectations for each role on the team, and if a player doesn’t meet those expectations, the club won’t sign him. However, he lamented the dimensions of the pitch at Slugger Field, particularly its lack of length, and said that it may have an effect on his potential style of play. Will O’Connor be successful in bringing visually pleasing, attacking soccer to LCFC? Will LCFC be able to sign players with the requisite skills to play the O’Connor’s system? The coming weeks will be telling. Continue reading Louisville City: Signing Announcements Soon?
This is the first of what will be regular weekly posts on Louisville City FC, the USL Pro affiliate of Orlando City and the legacy of what was the Lions’ USL franchise. We hope to bring you all of the pertinent Louisville City news and information as it becomes available. This being the first post, we felt it was a good idea to introduce you to the fledgling club and it’s relationship with Orlando City.
Wayne Estopinal – Principal owner of Louisville City FC. Estopinal is the president and founder of TEG Architects and, among his other business interests, is the owner of Mockingbird Valley Sports Complex, which is Louisville’s leading and most visible soccer facility. He has been an investor in a professional soccer team since 2007, including the Austin Aztex franchise that later became Orlando City. An avid soccer fan, he led the push to bring the Orlando City USL franchise to Louisville after MLS awarded Orlando an expansion franchise.
Djorn Buchholz – President of Louisville City FC. Buchholz has been a soccer executive for 13 years, including stops at Sporting Kansas City of MLS as director of fan experience, and Minnesota United FC of the NASL, as president. He more or less is single-handedly responsible for professional soccer’s existence in Minnesota, having run the Minnesota Thunder for four years until 2009, and then taking over the league-owned Minnesota NASL franchise in 2011 and leading it through a rebranding to become as successful a club as there is at its level. He has experience with the Louisville City franchise, having been CEO of the Austin Aztex between stops in Minnesota. Continue reading Louisville City: Better Know the Front Office, Stadium, Supporters
[Editor’s Note: Jeff Milby is The Mane Land’s Louisville City FC correspondent and will provide weekly coverage of Orlando City’s USL Pro affiliate this season. We’re excited to have ‘boots on the ground’ in Louisville to bring you this coverage.]
For a sports fan, as in life, it’s the tough moments that shape who you are. It’s the gut-punch losses that leave you feeling empty, used and beaten. The games that you rehash over and over with your friends saying, “What if…?” Every sports fan has their own list of heartbreaks. They are the reasons we keep coming back, to right the list of wrongs.
I wouldn’t be the sports fan I am today if it weren’t for Dwyane Wade triple-doubling his way into the national consciousness and beating the team my 11-year-old-self thought was unbeatable. I can remember the sheer rage that overcame me when Edgar Sosa spoiled what would have been improbable last-minute comeback with an absolute dagger of a shot. And I won’t forget how I didn’t move off of my couch for an hour after the USA couldn’t quite shock the world by coming back to equalize after Belgium went up 2-0 this past summer in Brazil. Continue reading Greetings, From Your Louisville Correspondent