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Major Link Soccer: Back in the Red (White) and Blue

Jordan Morris is officially back with the USMNT.

Bosnia and Herzegovina v USMNT Photo by John Todd/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Jordan Morris joined Cristian Roldan with the USMNT, making his return to the squad for the first time in nearly two years. The two showed well, making a strong case for their inclusion as World Cup Qualifying continues. In the US professional leagues the NWSL held their college draft on Saturday. As has come to be expected, the draft was about as busy as it could be with moves and trades galore. MLS re-upped its deal with ESPN, while picking up a new carrier for its secondary package.

Seattle/Tacoma

After three years in Tacoma, Seattle’s team in the National Women’s Soccer League, OL Reign, will once again be in Seattle, starting in 2022. We learn more about what’s behind the big news in this week’s conversation between KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel and Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick. Why OL Reign is moving back to Seattle | KNKX Public Radio

Cristian Roldan is doing what he can to be ready if he’s needed for World Cup Qualifying in the coming months, to say nothing of heading into the 2022 season with his best foot forward. Cristian Roldan on rare USMNT December camp: “It's our duty to stay fit and be ready" | MLSSoccer.com

It was a busy day for Laura Harvey and the OL Reign front office as the NWSL draft offered no shortage of opportunities for trades and player acquisitions. OL Reign Selects Six Players in 2022 NWSL Draft — OL REIGN: WE ARE THE BOLD

Laura Harvey set her sights on McClernon and was comfortable giving up a lot to get her. OL Reign acquire defender Phoebe McClernon from Orlando - Sounder At Heart

OL Reign moving to Lumen Field has impacts - good, bad and otherwise - on the other teams in the region, likely none more so than Tacoma Defiance as they start their life in MLS Next Pro. OL Reign’s departure to Seattle leaves Defiance’s future in Tacoma a question mark | The Seattle Times

MLS/USL

Major League Soccer put its entire rights catalogue up for auction as the U.S. soccer league seeks a new media deal that could be worth $300 million annually. Currently the deal is only $90 million and includes both the USWNT and USMNT. Major League Soccer viewership is up, now it needs networks to pay more

Prediction: MLS signs deals with ESPN, WarnerMedia (that’s Discovery, HBO, Turner, Bleacher Report). Sports Media: Take them to the bank: My predictions for ’22

Spokane has aligned their football fortunes with USL League 1, and while they’re still looking for an ownership group the appetite for a team is clearly present in the city. USL Spokane sets league record for season ticket deposits in first 24 hours

NWSL/WoSo

The Thorns drafted two defenders and a fascist headache. Thorns select Nasello, Provenzano and Beckman in 2022 NWSL Draft - Stumptown Footy

Hope Breslin played with Gotham FC’s reserves earlier in 2021, giving her some familiarity with members of ACFC’s staff. First-ever Angel City FC NWSL draft pick Hope Breslin ready for work - Angels on Parade

Orlando made a number of moves, not least of which was the one that brought them Leah Pruitt and Celia Jimenez Delgado from OL Reign, but the biggest will probably be acquiring the rights to Deanne Rose if they can convince her to join. 2022 NWSL Draft: Orlando Pride Select USC Forward Jada Talley at No. 31, Acquire Deanne Rose - The Mane Land

With the conclusion of the draft the 2022 is well and truly on its way. NWSL Draft results, trade tracker: San Diego Wave take Naomi Girma with No. 1 pick; OL Reign make four trades - CBSSports.com

Tied after the first leg and with each team missing a key player, Tigres and Rayadas head to El Volcán to determine who will be the 2021 Grita México Champion. Liga MX Femenil 2021 Apertura Final match preview: Tigres UANL vs. Rayadas Monterrey - FMF State Of Mind

Washington Spirit should have had a quiet draft day, but there’s no such thing in NWSL. Washington Spirit sign Alia Martin, pick five players during 2022 NWSL College Draft - Black And Red United

USA

Cristian Roldan and Jordan Morris were among the US’s top performers in the late win over Bosnia & Herzegovina. USMNT Player Ratings: Bassett, Roldan and Zimmerman impress in win over Bosnia | MLSSoccer.com

Speaking of Jordan Morris, he looks like he’s getting closer and closer to regaining the instinctive part of his game and putting his full skillset back on display. Three Takeaways as USMNT close 2021 with win over Bosnia & Herzegovina | MLSSoccer.com

I was going to make jokes about not seeing some particular refs any more, but the pool of top-tier refs just shrunk by five in the US, and we already don’t have enough to cover MLS and NWSL every week. Five PRO officials retire – Professional Referee Organization ®

World

Eriksen was fitted with a defibrillator and while he has been cleared for athletic activity again by doctors, Serie A regulations state that he is not able to play for an Italian league team with such a device. Christian Eriksen, Inter Milan part ways by mutual consent - Cartilage Free Captain

Police made one arrest after Arsenal reported a fan for alleged racial abuse directed at their bench during a 4-1 Premier League win at Leeds. Fan arrested for racist abuse in Arsenal win over Leeds United

Pa-Madou Kah isn’t just letting his work speak for itself, he’s making the case for greater representation and more opportunities in the game for everyone. Opening Doors: Pa-Modou Kah On Representation - Northern Tribune

Inter Milan, for the first time in club history, scored 100 goals in a calendar year with a game to go after hammering Salernitana. Salernitana 0-5 Inter Milan: Match Recap - Serpents of Madonnina

Culture

D&D is everywhere these days, and for everyone. The Normalization of D&D in Media | Full Moon Storytelling

What’s on TV today?

11:45 AM - Fulham vs. Sheffield United (English Championship) - ESPN+

12:00 PM - Levante vs. Valencia (La Liga) - ESPN+

6:00 PM - Tigres UANL vs. Monterrey (Liga MX Femenil) - TUDN USA