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MLS announces 2021 start date, Felipe re-signs with D.C. United, and more: Freedom Kicks for 1/26/2021

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You may or may not have gotten snow, but we definitely have contract news for your local soccer teams

DC United v Philadelphia Union Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Yesterday wasn’t too wild of a news day, but we still have the framework of this year’s MLS schedule (assuming the CBA is worked out, and that Covid-19 doesn’t force another delay, and probably four other obstacles), a D.C. United re-signed for another year, a Washington Spirit contract move that’s almost to that stage, and a few other things. Let’s go!

Official: D.C. United re-signs Felipe for 2021 | Black and Red United
Felipe Martins was out of contract, but now he’s got a deal with United through this year (with an option year in 2022). No real surprise, but it’s good United got the deal done. Felipe’s experience playing deep in the Red Bulls midfield during their 3331 days with Jesse Marsch may end up being quite applicable to what Hernán Losada wants from his deepest midfielder. Hopefully his ACL rehab stays on course for a return earlier in the season rather than later.

MLS targets April 3 as 2021 season start date | Black and Red United
MLS had declared that they’d definitely start the season in March, but finally faced reality and pushed everything back a month. We have dates now for things like opening day, MLS Cup, the All-Star Game, and tertiary competitions like the Leagues Cup and Campeones Cup.

You know, unless we have to push the whole thing back again due to the various unprecedented crises assailing us at all times.

MLS coaches study abroad: What they’ve learned on visits to clubs around the world | The Athletic
The online DCU fanbase has talked plenty about Ben Olsen going to Germany to observe Lucien Favre’s methods, and this piece gets into what coaches around the league have learned doing that (including Olsen talking about what was apparently a more regular practice than we thought for him).

Moving over to the Spirit beat:

Kumi Yokoyama’s contract offer, I’m told, was effectively settled a couple of weeks ago as far as team and player were concerned, and now the league seems to have handled their end as well. Bureaucracy! Anyway she should take the Spirit up to 18 players under contract, which does not include any of their draft picks, or rumored Swedish acquisition Julia Roddar.

Preseason is so close...but it’s gonna be so long! It starts next Monday, but NWSL won’t have games until mid-April. We should have the Spirit’s preseason plan very soon.

Sticking with woso:

Lyon owner Jean-Michel Aulas is a big talker who doesn’t always come through, so the “Peut-être” (that is, “perhaps”) is arguably just as important as the big names mentioned here. However, realistically there have been rumors that Dzsenifer Marozsan and Sarah Bouhaddi would end up with OL Reign for months, and the Reign have suspiciously left holes in their starting lineup at their positions.

Dzsenifer Marozsán and Sarah Bouhaddi likely to join OL Reign on loan this season | Sounder at Heart
More on the move, including some details on the timing involved, from our friends over at S@H.

Caden Clark finalizing RB Leipzig move, will stay in MLS through 2021: Sources | The Athletic
The weirdness of American soccer is on full display in tracking how Caden Clark — the product of an academy that used to be owned by RSL but is now a Barcelona satellite, who signed a USL deal with a multinational soccer scheme run as a branding exercise by an energy drink, and then moved up to MLS only after a team in a different part of the country that did not have an academy still somehow had his homegrown rights — ended up in a position to move on to RB Leipzig.

Barcelona “on the verge of bankruptcy” - report | Barca Blaugranes
Well this seems extremely bad for one of the world’s biggest clubs.

Alright, that’s it for me. Enjoy the snow if you got enough to enjoy!