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Paul Arriola, Kumi Yokoyama, and more: Freedom Kicks for 28 January 2021

Soccer, go!

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Soccer: NWSL Challenge Cup-Chicago Red Stars vs Washington Spirit Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Hello friends! A bit of snow down here in Richmond this morning, but this weekend is looking more and more like it might be the one big snow of the year. Buy bread! Buy milk! Enjoy the snow if it happens!

Also, there was a bunch of soccer news:

Official: Chris Odoi-Atsem re-signs with D.C. United

Odoi-Atsem was the MLS Comeback Player of the Year (in my heart, at least), and it is great to see that he’s going to be with the team for another two years. Also, the team needs fullbacks and wingbacks, so his signing fits a need for the team as well.

This rumor still floating out there, but we should see some clarity by the weekend.

Washington Spirit sign Kumi Yokoyama to two-year deal

The Spirit are approaching a full roster, with fan favorite Yokoyama coming back on a two year deal. Also, the team produced this delightful video to celebrate her re-signing:

NWSL announces key dates for 2021 Challenge Cup, regular season

NWSL is going to start the season with another challenge cup, a smart move with Covid-19 still a big deal, and then will transition into the regular season.

MLS memo advises teams, staff to prepare for lockout

Unlike NWSL, we don’t know when or if the MLS season will start. The league’s owners are trying to roll back gains the players made during the last regular CBA negotiation by invoking a clause that is supposed to be for unforeseen challenges. The challenges of the beginning of the 2021 have been foreseeable since the pandemic started; the owners are just trying to smash and grab a little extra cash from the players.

A DCU draft pick is already getting international callups, perhaps playing against his teammate Paul Arriola on Sunday.

Naomi Osaka joins ownership of NWSL’s Courage: ‘I could feel a groundswell’

This is very cool.

And finally, take a look behind the scenes at the virtual draft with the Washington Spirit.

Whew, I’m spent. What do you all have?