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Major Link Soccer: California Dreamin’

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With the first team in California, preseason is really and truly underway.

Mike Fiechtner / Seattle Sounders FC

Pre-season is here, and with it comes lots and lots of news. The Sounders and their bevy of youngsters are in California. A young American made his Bundesliga debut, Liverpool keeps rolling, and the NWSL draft brought with it plenty of excitement.

Seattle/Tacoma

The first day of the California leg of preseason is in the books. Seattle Sounders in California: Running timeline during preseason | Seattle Sounders FC

It may be lost in the shuffle of the Seattle Sounders preparations for CCL, but Tacoma Defiance have entered their preseason alongside the first team. Two Crews Preparing for Their 2020 Journeys - We R Tacoma

Danny Robles sets the tempo for the Defiance score. I won’t try to extend Dave’s metaphor beyond that, but you should definitely read about Tacoma’s no. 10. Danny Robles

Women in Sports and Events is a 25 year-old nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting women at every stage of their careers in those industries. Seattle is the newest chapter of the organization. Sounders FC becomes Founding Partner of Seattle chapter of Women in Sports and Events | Seattle Sounders FC

Garth Lagerwey may be making the first impact signing of the season with Brazilian midfielder João Paulo reportedly on his way from Botafogo on a loan with an option to buy. Botafogo hits João Paulo's exit to the United States - Super Rádio Tupi

Kelvin Leerdam celebrated his second MLS Cup victory by helping Suriname start the next chapter in the nation’s soccer story. Sounders right back Kelvin Leerdam spent winter watching soccer history made in his native Suriname | The Seattle Times

MLS/American Lower Leagues

Maybe the new training facility will be the thing that finally turns Orlando around. New Training Facility Brings with it New Opportunity - The Mane Land

Nashville SC’s first jersey of their MLS lives has been revealed and, folks, it’s bad. Or at least it’s boring. There are some cool small details, though.Nashville SC unveil new 2020 MLS jersey: Forever Gold home kit | MLSsoccer.com

A lot has been made about how Malort is “bad” and how “it smells like surgery,” but I would just like to say that that’s wrong and it’s delicious, and I would like some please. Official: Robert Beric is Chicago Fire FC's new No. 9 after move from Saint-Etienne | MLSsoccer.com

A look at how the Fire’s “Chicago handshake” signing video came to be. How did the Chicago Fire pull off the Robert Beric Malort drinking video? - Hot Time In Old Town

Fanendo Adi is just one of the players not joining FC Cincinnati in 2020, but he’s probably the most notable one. His drop from being possibly the best no. 9 in the league a few years ago has been precipitous. FC Cincinnati: Three players will not be returning for 2020 MLS season | MLSsoccer.com

NYCFC may have lost their friendly, but Dwayne De Rosario’s son scored a goal for them. Strangely, he celebrated with a knee slide rather than with his dad’s preferred “Scarborough Shuffle.” MLS Preseason 2020: New York City FC lose 2-1 against Palmeiras at Florida Cup | MLSsoccer.com

A roundup of the HGPs signed so far around the league. It’s probably only a matter of time before the Sounders add a name or two to the list. Who has signed a Homegrown Player deal for 2020? A club-by-club look around MLS | MLSsoccer.com

I’m going to go ahead and say that, between the goals he’ll score, the seats he’ll fill in Carson and elsewhere, and the merch he’ll sell, Chicharito’s probably worth every dollar of the $6+ million salary he’ll be getting. Chicharito to LA Galaxy: Contract details, more on MLS signing - Sports Illustrated

One of the best players to come out of the draft in the last few years still doesn’t have a new deal. Someone should save Atlanta the hassle and lure him away. Atlanta United's Julian Gressel doesn't want contract dispute "hanging over our heads" | MLSsoccer.com

Andy Rose and Fredy Montero are still with Seattle-lite. Whitecaps FC announce preseason camp roster as 'Caps begin on-field training on Monday | Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Survival is at the top of the list of goals for the young league. Midfield Press » 2020 Goals For NISA & Its Clubs

DC United are the latest MLS team to get in on the trend of safe-standing areas. D.C. United adding safe-standing areas to Audi Field - The Washington Post

NWSL/WoSo

Portland selected Sophia Smith with the No. 1 pick, but a trade involving a USWNT star was the day’s biggest news. NWSL Draft 2020: The 5 biggest stories, including Mallory Pugh - SBNation.com

For a frenzied 24 hours, The Athletic observed as Sky Blue made decisions and deals for their 2020 roster and beyond The inside story of Sky Blue’s 2020 NWSL draft – The Athletic

Sam Kerr scored her first goal as Chelsea FC Women buried Arsenal under a barrage of goals. Match report, goals and highlights: Arsenal WFC 1-4 Chelsea FC Women - We Ain't Got No History

The latest installment in the “on the Field with” series of sports books covers Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, and Mallory Pugh. The book treats Rapinoe’s coming out as the triumph that it is. Megan Rapinoe is out and proud in new kids book about USWNT stars - Outsports

Gomez has earned her contract with Villa San Marcos following two championships in an amateur league in Argentina. Mara Gomez is first trans player signed to top women’s soccer league - Outsports

USA

Gio Reyna wasn’t the most prominent player to make his first Bundesliga appearance for Borussia Dortmund in their comeback win against Augsburg, but he was the most American. Erling Haaland marked the occasion of his debut with a hattrick. Lucien Favre Impressed by Erling Haaland and Gio Reyna - Fear The Wall

Wales has been announced as the second friendly that the USMNT will play on their European trip in March, following the Sergino Dest Derby on March 26. USMNT to face Wales, Netherlands in March friendlies - Sports Illustrated

World

Canada could work their way up in the FIFA rankings to make the Hex, but it involves a level of math that’s only appropriately summarized with the .gif of Zach Galifianakis from The Hangover when he’s playing Black Jack. How can Canada keep their World Cup dreams alive? The Hex math proves difficult | MLSsoccer.com

Another promising young player in the Manchester City system may be looking towards Germany in search of first team playing time, as Dutch winger Jayden Braaf grows restless 18 months after joining the Premier League club from PSV. RB Leipzig among Bundesliga clubs chasing Manchester City starlet Jayden Braaf | Daily Mail Online

16 year-old Rayan Cherki lifted Lyon to the next round of the French Cup in their 4-3 victory over Nantes. Cherki contributed to all four goals as he scored twice and added two assists. Cherki Sparkles as Lyon Reach French Cup Last 16 - The New York Times

Bringing you inside the studio and onto the game floor A look inside Day 2 of ELEAGUE FUT Champions Cup - Dirty South Soccer

Klopp is understandably pleased with how his team did in their 2-0 win over Manchester United, a team they currently have 37 more points than. Jürgen Klopp on Liverpool’s Win Over Manchester United: We Were Brilliant - The Liverpool Offside

Lord of the Rings

Lord Of The Rings creator JRR Tolkien’s son Christopher dies aged 95, as confirmed by the Tolkien Society today. Lord Of The Rings creator J.R.R. Tolkien’s son Christopher dead at 95 | Metro News

Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series has announced 15 stars from the upcoming series, including cinema veterans and young newcomers. Amazon's LORD OF THE RINGS Series Casts 15 Actors! - Nerdist

What’s on TV today?

11:45 AM: Atalanta Vs. SPAL (Serie A) — ESPN+

12:00 PM: West Bromwich Albion Vs. Stoke City (English Championship) — ESPN+