Well, folks, we did it. Much like the Jeffersons, we’re moving on up. But instead of to a deeee-luxe apartment in the sky, over on the East Side, we’ve gone to SB Nation.
In late September, I started this little independent blog on a free WordPress site with the intention of seeing it grow into one of the finest team-specific soccer blogs on the internet. We’re not there yet, but hey, we’ve only been at this a couple of months.
What we have accomplished in about nine weeks is pretty exciting. We’ve grown from a few sporadic page hits to several hundred each day and thousands every month. We went from having just me to a staff of nine, including dedicated writers for our USL Pro affiliate in Louisville and for the Orlando City academy system. We’ve added a podcast (or PawedCast, as we like to call it), which will grow and hit iTunes before the MLS season starts.
We thank you for finding us here and for making us a part of your daily surfing. We appreciate those of you who have followed us on Twitter and liked our Facebook page. We wouldn’t do this if it wasn’t fun and we couldn’t do it without you—the Orlando City fans who have already done so much.
We look at our time as an independent site as our stint in USL Pro. Now we’re moving up to the top flight. SB Nation has a more powerful reach, loads of resources, and a thriving built-in community. We’re proud to be a part of the SB Nation network of sites. We hope you’ll join us there and participate as part of our community. We want The Mane Land to grow into the best soccer site on the net. With your help, we’ll get there.
This site will stay up for a while, serving as a signpost to direct readers to our new home. Think of it as mail forwarding for the internet age. It will also serve as a historic document while it’s up, so that in the future we can occasionally look back and see how far we’ve come.
Come with us.
Thanks for reading.
Founder and Managing Editor – The Mane Land
For us 20-something American soccer fans, a love of the beautiful game was entrenched in 1994 when the United States was finally granted the honor of hosting the most prestigious sporting event in the world, the FIFA World Cup. We flocked to Orlando’s Florida Citrus Bowl to see some of the best players in the world, many of whom we’d heard about but never seen, display their world class ability. For me it was a round of 16 matchup between Ireland and the Netherlands. That meant legends such as Paul McGrath, Roy Keane, Frank de Boer, and Dennis Bergkamp.
Growing up in the 90s, soccer wasn’t considered by many to be a serious professional sport. While kids played it recreationally, it was considered a children’s game with little consequence. Lucky for me, my father knew the game on a global scale. Though I couldn’t see them, I grew up hearing of teams such as Manchester United and Arsenal and of players such as Eric Cantona and Tony Adams and was given the ability to dream of one day playing at Old Trafford, Highbury, or Wembley Stadium.
Continue reading Meet the New Guy: My Story with the Beautiful Game
First of all, we at The Mane Land would like to wish our readers a very happy Thanksgiving. We’re pretty sure the pilgrims accidentally invented soccer when some oaf accidentally knocked the turkey onto the floor and then kicked it when he bent over to try to pick it up. This, of course, led to a diving save by a Native American, who kept the turkey from rolling into the fireplace.
The world’s most popular sport was born.
In addition to all of the usual things in your personal life, there are many things to be thankful for as an Orlando City fan this year, and there have never been more. With that in mind, we thought we’d give you a reminder of the top things Lions fans should be thankful for as we near the end of 2014.
Continue reading Orlando City Fans Have Plenty to be Thankful for
Two months and one day ago I launched a free WordPress blog to talk about Orlando City SC. I fired up a quick Twitter account and Facebook page to go with it and put up about a story per day for the last week of September. The site got an average of five page views per day. I wasn’t sure where it was going, but I knew I wanted to create a place where enthusiastic contributors provided daily offerings that Orlando City fans might want to consume.
Now, as we prepare for our move to the SB Nation network, the site is finding its audience despite the fact that the club is months away from its first MLS game and hasn’t even compiled a complete roster yet. Sure, there have been some big events, such as the stadium groundbreaking and the 2015 uniform unveiling, but many days we’ve battled to create content that we think Orlando City fans in particular, and soccer fans in general, will find engaging and interesting.
Continue reading A ‘Status Update’ From The Mane Land
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 Mane Land, along with all of the other SB Nation MLS sites, took part in a mock Dispersal Draft this week, to see how tomorrow’s MLS Dispersal Draft for Chivas USA players might look. It was a fun exercise and an interesting look at what teams might be looking for tomorrow during the league’s conference call to find new homes for those wayward Chivas players.
To simulate the draft, we selected in the order the teams drew last week, with Orlando City holding the seventh pick. The draft order was chosen by drawing with 2014 MLS teams getting one envelope each in the hopper and non-playoff teams and expansion clubs getting two envelopes each. Despite the extra envelopes, four of the first five teams drawn were 2014 playoff games, led by FC Dallas with the first overall pick.
The only non-playoff team drawn in the first five was New York City FC, with the second pick.
This turned out to be a fortuitous spot for NYCFC. With Dallas not needing a goalkeeper, their blog Big D Soccer chose the versatile Marky Delgado with the top pick. This allowed NYCFC to nab coveted goalkeeper Dan Kennedy. With Josh Saunders already in the fold, the newcomers in New York are set up nicely in goal. Continue reading Mock Dispersal Draft: Orlando City Nabs Veteran Defender Burling
Hello readers, my name is Casey Moore. I am the new Orlando City youth/academy correspondent for The Mane Land. I’ll be covering the club’s player development and youth programs for the site, and I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself to you.
I was born in South Florida and lived there until I was eight. My father then took a job in Grayson, Georgia. Growing up in Georgia provides a whole set of different experiences than living in South Florida. Scraping ice from your windshield, single-digit temperatures, more pickup trucks than you can count, the country music, Friday night football, and so many more hundreds of experiences unique to the area are what have shaped me into the person that I am today.
I loved so many things about Georgia but I was always counting down until the day I could move back to Florida. My chance to reunite with the Florida sunshine came around when I was accepted into Florida State University.
Continue reading Meet Your New Youth/Academy Correspondent