Last Week around the Leagues
by Fran Stuchbury
December 24, 2019 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
This past week Charlotte was awarded an expansion team by Major League Soccer for the 2021 season, the Salt Lake City Stars won the 2019 MGM Resorts NBA G League Winter Showcase tournament, and the XFL concluded its mini-camp for all eight teams. Highlights from this week are from Major League Soccer, the American Hockey League, ECHL, Western Hockey League, NBA G League, National Lacrosse League and XFL.
Major League Soccer
Commissioner Don Garber officially announced that Major League Soccer (MLS) has awarded an expansion team to Charlotte, North Carolina - one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States. MLS' club for the Carolinas will be owned by Carolina Panthers (NFL) owner David Tepper and begin play in the 2021 season at Bank of America Stadium.
MLS Expansion history from 10 to 30 clubs
In anticipation of Major League Soccer's landmark 25th Season Celebration, the league unveiled the 2020 MLS regular season schedule. Welcoming Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC, the 2020 season schedule kicks off on February 29 and delivers weekly must-see matchups through the season finale on October 4. In 2020, each club will play 34 games (17 home and 17 away), facing conference opponents twice, and playing 10 games against non-conference opponents.
United Soccer League One
USL League One unveiled its 2020 regular-season schedule, with 12 teams set to play 168 games over 28 weeks. Building off a historic inaugural season in 2019, the 2020 season will see all 12 clubs play six teams three times and a home-and-away series with the remaining five. The 2020 regular season will open on Friday, March 27 and conclude on Saturday, October 3 with four matches on the final day of the season.
National Women's Soccer League
Sky Blue FC of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) has named Freya Coombe as Head Coach. Coombe joined Sky Blue FC in September 2019 as interim Head Coach and will lead the team next year in its first ever season at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ. Prior to joining the club, Coombe served as the Director of Scouting and as Development Academy Coach for New York Soccer Club.
Reign FC and OL Groupe announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement for OL Groupe, the parent company of Olympique Lyonnais, to acquire Reign FC. The transaction is expected to close in January 2020.
American Hockey League
The Teddy Bear Toss delivery at Valley Youth House by Lehigh Valley Phantoms mascot MeLVin is underway.
Big save by Iowa Wild goalie Kaapo Kahkonen at one end. Big game winning overtime goal by Dmitry Sokolov at the other end in their 4-3 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Player fights between the Atlanta Gladiators and Orlando Solar Bears that included both goalies.
Southern Professional Hockey League
The Macon Mayhem have removed the "Interim" label from Ryan Michel's job title, officially naming him the third Head Coach in franchise history. Michel has been the lone coach behind the Mayhem bench for the past four weeks, taking over exactly one month ago on November 19th of 2019.
Western Hockey League
Top 10 goals of the first half of the season
Top 10 saves of the first half of the season
Ontario Hockey League
Niagara IceDogs goalie Tucker Tynan has been released from hospital five days after suffering a serious cut to his leg in a game against the London Knights. Tynan, 17, is now heading home to Chicago for more rest and recovery, according to the IceDogs.
National Women's Hockey League
NWHL Commissioner Dani Rylan announced the appointment of Michelle Picard as the league's Deputy Commissioner/Director of Player Development. Picard was a longtime member of the U.S. National Team, served as captain at Harvard, and was a top defender on the 2018 Isobel Cup-winning Metropolitan Riveters.
NBA G League
The Salt Lake City Stars won the 2019 MGM Resorts NBA G League Winter Showcase tournament at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. The championship game, televised on ESPN2, featured Salt Lake City defeating the Grand Rapids Drive by a score of 91-88. With the victory, the Stars were awarded a $100,000 prize for NBA G League players on their team.
Top Plays of the Week
National Lacrosse League
Top Five Plays of the Week
Premier Lacrosse League
The Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) announced that Tim Soudan will become the new Head Coach of Chrome LC, effective immediately. Soudan most recently served as Head Coach of the Rochester Rattlers of Major League Lacrosse from 2011 to 2017, winning the league's Coach of the Year Award in 2014.
The Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) announced that Ben Rubeor will become Head Coach of Atlas LC, effective immediately. Rubeor currently serves as the Men's Varsity Head Lacrosse Coach and Associate Director of Admissions at Thayer Academy (Braintree, MA).
Canadian Football League
The Canadian Football League (CFL) has unveiled a 2020 schedule that starts a little earlier, is packed with exciting match-ups on consistent days and lands just in time for fans who would love to give or receive season tickets this holiday season.
For the final time this season, the nine Canadian Football League (CFL) teams have unveiled ten players from each of their negotiation lists. Clubs are required to do so on two occasions throughout the year following a measure approved at the 2018 CFL winter meetings. The first listing was released in August.
Interview: Dallas Renegades Coach Bob Stoops after minicamp
The first XFL minicamp is in the books
Pacific Coast League
The Albuquerque Isotopes have announced Warren Schaeffer as the club's manager for the 2020 season. The upcoming campaign will mark Schaeffer's eighth in the Rockies organization after serving as Double-A Hartford's skipper the past two years. The 34-year-old has a 344-347 record over his five-year career at the helm, a winning percentage of .498.
The Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino and its Major League affiliate Los Angeles Angels are pleased to announce that Jack Santora has been named Field Manager for the Sixers in 2020. The former minor league infielder will get his first taste of the California League since 2003 when he appeared in 47 games as player for the Lake Elsinore Storm.
Did we miss anything newsworthy or downright fun? Have a nomination for next week's column? Contact us today and let us know.
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Major League Soccer Stories from December 24, 2019
- Last Week around the Leagues - OSC Original by Fran Stuchbury
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer(s), and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.