Friday morning: What's in the news ...

1. Sergino Dest flew home from Ajax's winter training camp in Qatar after telling the Dutch club he did not feel comfortable in the region amid the tensions between the USA and Iran. In a statement, Ajax said "it understands his request and has responded to it." Dest returned to Amsterdam, where he will train with Jong Ajax, the second division team, until the first team returns on Sunday. The U.S. national team canceled its trip to Qatar a day after the killing of Iranian general Qasem Suleimani. Other Americans have been training with European clubs in Doha, the home to the largest U.S. military base in the Middle East.

2. Nick Cushing has joined the New York City FC coaching staff as an assistant coach under new head coach Ronny Deila. He was the manager of Manchester City's women's team, one of the most successful in Europe, for six years after starting out as a coach in the City academy program on the men's side. Cushing was named the FA WSL Manager of the Year in 2016 after Manchester City won the Women’s Super League title. It also lifted the FA WSL Cup in 2014, 2017 and 2019 and FA Women’s Cup in 2017. NYCFC and Manchester City are part of the City Football Group.

3. Representatives of the USL and USLPA met for two days in Tampa as they seek to finalize the first collective bargaining agreement. In a joint statement, the league and players said the meetings were "constructive and beneficial" and progress had been made on certain substantive issues, but others will require further conversation. Talks will resume in February, before the start of the 2020 USL Championship season the first weekend of March.
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