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MLS Re-Entry Draft, Osvaldo Alonso to Atlanta United, and more: Freedom Kicks for 12/24/2021

Kumi Yokoyama is in the news, as are Rayo Vallecano

Kelley Piper / Black and Red United

Good morning, just barely! I am experiencing the back problems of someone who needs to be in a chair at a screen less often, and also someone who turns 40 in mere months, so that’s great. In more relevant news to this piece, the D.C. United news is slow, but there’s a Washington Spirit interview of note with Kumi Yokoyama, and we have some MLS news to boot.

But first:

Me, Adam, and Ben have done 500 episodes of Filibuster, and that’s pretty nuts. Thanks to everyone that listens, because while we are often self-indulgent, the truth is that the podcast would have gone by the wayside years ago if it weren’t for the fact that we know so many folks want to hear it. I truly appreciate it, and I know Adam and Ben do as well.

Kumi Yokoyama pushes LGBTQ conversation forward in Japan while raising game on pitch | Japan Times
Kumi Yokoyama is back in Japan for the offseason, and in this interview noted — among other things, including the contrast of life in NWSL with other leagues — that they/them and he/him are their pronouns.

2021 MLS Re-Entry Draft results: Jan Gregus, Robert Beric highlight Stage 2 picks | MLSsoccer.com
The MLS Re-Entry Draft continues to lose relevance, but it went down yesterday, and United didn’t take anyone. There weren’t any truly big names to go, though Ján Gregus might end up being a sneaky good move for San Jose, and I could see Robert Berić having some success with KC.

Atlanta United sign MLS veteran Osvaldo Alonso | Dirty South Soccer
Ozzie Alonso is coming to the Eastern Conference, and while he doesn’t seem able to play a full 34 games any more, I still feel like we’re going to see him putting some crunching tackles in at Audi Field this year.

A player at the table: Sydney Miramontez retires to join NWSLPA | Equalizer Soccer
Sydney Miramontez has gone from playing this past season to joining the NWSLPA as a full-time employee, which as this piece details, is an important step forward.

Since we’re hyping B&RU writer podcasts today, you know I have to hype André Carlisle’s Diaspora United, which has a new episode out:

Good stuff, including some notes about Spirit draft pick Tinaya Alexander and thoughts on the barrage of news around the league lately.

Rayo Vallecano: a mess, ‘problem after problem’ … and top four in La Liga | The Guardian
I haven’t seen Rayo Vallecano play this season, but hearing some very familiar notes about their approach, I think I’m gonna have to fire up the ol’ ESPN+. Aside from DCU similarities on the field, there’s a really interesting story playing out here, where a team that has for years barely able to pay essential bills is currently in a Champions League spot in Spain.

Eight clubs in the race to sign 54-year-old ‘King Kazu’ Kazuyoshi Miura | Japan Times
Your King Kazu update is possibly a big one: After 16 seasons with Yokohama FC — he signed with them at 38!!! — Kazuyoshi Miura is considering a move to a different club in pursuit of playing time. Kazu only played in four games this season (once in the league, and three times in the league cup) as Yokohama’s late surge to avoid relegation came up a bit short. Yokohama has offered him a new deal, but it seems like his time with the #11 shirt might be over.

I also feel obliged to tell you that one of the teams apparently interested parties here is the tremendously-named Suzuka Point Getters.

OK, that’s what I have. Enjoy your weekend, happy holidays, merry Christmas, etc!