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Abby Dahlkemper to Man City?, Mesut Ozil talks about his future, and more: Freedom Kicks for 1/12/2021

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King Kazu forever!

Yokohama FC v Vissel Kobe - J.League Meiji Yasuda J1 Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images

Well well well, it’s Tuesday morning, so you’re stuck with me telling you the pertinent facts of the soccer world. We’ve got the seemingly invincible D.C. United rumor of note to grapple with first, no coaching hire news, and plenty of NWSL to get through (it’s a big week for the league, and I’ll be on a conference call with commissioner Lisa Baird later this morning to hear more about what’s going on).

So let’s get after it, shall we?

The year is 2027. People are still talking seriously about whether Mesut Özil will play for D.C. United.

Seriously though, the financial package that he’d want and the one United could put together seem, to me, to be very far apart. Signing him also rules out a high-press playing style, which is notable given that there is a coaching hire to be made during a time where that style is increasingly popular.

But you’ve heard me say this before so let me change angles: if United did end up signing Özil anyway, you’d have every right to have major questions about whether there’s a plan for anything beyond “let’s spend big on an aging European star and hope it works.”

Six MLS players training with Peruvian national team ahead of preseason | MLSsoccer.com
Edison Flores and Yordy Reyna have already started their preseason, as Peru is holding a January camp of its own.

In Washington Spirit news, I just posted the latest episode of Plex Weather last night. Richie Burke talked to me about...quite a bit, actually. It’s a very information-dense episode. No filler here, I promise:

A chunk of that chat is about the NWSL draft which is tomorrow. As I write this, we’re still quite short on some important information (like, you know, who can teams take beyond “any college senior”). We are starting to get some of that information, though, including this:

Let me translate this for you if you don’t know college woso: With Catarino Macario believed to be on the verge of signing with Lyon, and Jaelin Howell believed to be staying in school (this is also in Plex Weather, listen to the dang podcast!), Racing Louisville is probably going to be choosing between Brianna Pinto (a tremendous, complete box-to-box midfielder) and Emily Fox (a fullback currently with the USWNT for good reason) at #1 overall.

And then? The Spirit are at #2.

We’re going three for three on our teams, as Loudoun United is hosting tryouts on Wednesday:

Ryan Martin is talking about clinical finishers, which sounds good to me.

More very big NWSL news, with USWNT starter Abby Dahlkemper set to leave the North Carolina Courage for Manchester City.

The balance of power in the NWSL has definitely shifted, as the Courage would enter 2021 without four key starters from their years of dominance.

Speaking of USWNT players, we have some more information on their USWNT/NWSL salaries:

2021 NWSL Draft Preview: All you need to know before the first pick | NWSLsoccer.com
We’re still short on some pretty important information before the draft, but there’s still a solid guide here.

Nikki Stanton Signs with the Chicago Red Stars | ChicagoRedStars.com
Nikki Stanton was a crucial cog for the Chicago Red Stars in 2018 and 2019, and now she’s back for a team that may lack for huge stars, but that is also the deepest team in the NWSL at the moment. Don’t be surprised if they’ve got more trades coming.

LAFC acquire Corey Baird in trade from Real Salt Lake | Angels on Parade
GAM in 2021 and 2022, a one-year international roster spot, and future considerations was enough for LAFC to get Corey Baird (who just over a year ago was considered a potential USMNT regular before Real Salt Lake collectively had a big ol’ yikes of a 2020).

FW 三浦知良選手 2021シーズン契約更新のお知らせ | YokohamaFC.com
Kazuyoshi Miura, who turns 54 next month and because of this fact is the best player on earth, just got a one-year contract extension from Yokohama FC.

Seriously, just consider it: A 53-year-old man, who has been continuously playing professional soccer since 1986, just got a contract extension from a team in a top-flight league in roughly the same quality level of MLS. It’s not a prank or a gimmick. Miura might not be a regular starter, but he does play real minutes in real games.

An absolute legend. King Kazu forever!