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Major Link Soccer: US Academies continue to expand

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Dozens of new teams join USSDA around the country, Seattle could challenge for the Shield, San Jose hired John Spencer. Congratulations to Cameroon!

Where ever Seattle and Portland play they set attendance records.
Where ever Seattle and Portland play they set attendance records.
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Sounders

Seattle and Portland led to biggest crowd in Tucson soccer history, because of course we did.

Burgundy Wave thinks Seattle could win the Shield this year.

If they can rotate their squad and stay healthy, this team is an odds-on favorite for Supporters Shield, without question. They’ll finish 1st in the West, and could conceivable make it all the way back to MLS Cup. Whether they repeat or not has more to do with health, unforeseen consequences, proper motivation, and a fair amount of luck. It will be quite a challenge for Seattle to join the three MLS clubs that have won back-to-back titles; DC United, Houston Dynamo, and LA Galaxy. But I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they pulled it off. I can only imagine how insufferable they’d be then.

Former Sounder Jeff Parke is now a Hall of Famer, at Drexel.

Seattle may soon have an Academy affiliate in Merced, California. They already have a player out of the Central Valley community.

MLS

The league's concussion protocol is developing, but not yet perfect.

According to documentation provided by MLS, "Any player suspected of having sustained a concussion is removed from play immediately and evaluated by team medical staff." Both these steps involve a significant amount of subjectivity, or as Dr. Bert R. Mandelbaum, assistant medical director of MLS, put it, that’s where "medical judgement comes in."

"In medicine, you can rarely follow a protocol," Dr. Mandelbaum said. "This is why we have a well-trained physician at every game."

PRO continues to develop more officials.Their cadre for 2017 will include Nick Uranga.

St Louis expansion continues to be a possibility. They just passed another milestone in their quest to be MLS's 25th team.

Minnesota United finally has a soccer Academy. In semi-related news the Puget Sound just joined the ranks of USSDA's U13 and U14 levels in a massive expansion to the younger age groups.

LAFC has 14,000 deposits for season tickets. That's over half the stadium. LAFC joins MLS in 2018.

Real Salt Lake might get their best homegrown player back, but only on loan, from Liverpool.

Everyone point and laugh at San Jose.

US Soccer

In 2016 there were only 20 days that didn't feature soccer on television. A total of 3,557 total games were on 39 different channels. We're a soccer country.

The legal dispute between US Soccer and the US Women's National Team resumed with new representation for the USWNT.

"The tone is just completely different, and everyone wants to get a deal done. The players want to play. We want to have a fair CBA, so I have no doubt we'll get a deal done," Gulati said.

World Soccer

Former Sounder Eriq Zavaleta, now TFC, could rep El Salvador soon.

Cameroon beat Egypt to take the African Cup of Nations 2017.