Jim Curtin Extended; Okert and Thaiss Shine; Cliff and Rutgers visit Senegal; Stitz makes MLS Debut

Philadelphia Union extends Coach Curtin through the 2026 season

Philadelphia Union announced Tuesday (July 11th) that the club has signed Head Coach Jim Curtin, two-time MLS Sigi Schmid Coach of the Year, to a multi-year contract extension that it guaranteed through 2026. Currently in his 10th season as head coach, he is the second longest tenured coach in the MLS and also holds the second most regular season wins with a single team at 127. 

“Jim is one of the top coaches in the league and we’re thrilled to have come to an agreement to extend his leadership with Union,” said Jay Sugarman, Principal Owner of the Philadelphia Union. He added that Curtin’s leadership is critical to the team’s success and he looks forward to watching his players and the team continue to hit new milestones under his direction. 

Jim recently finished the 2022 campaign setting numerous records with the club, including most wins (19), most goals scored (72), fewest goals conceded (26), and greatest goal differential (46). 


Steven Okert and Matt Thaiss shine during the first half of the season

Steven Okert is having a breakout season for the Miami Marlins. During the first half of the season, he has posted a career best 2.53 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and has allowed only 9 earned runs in 32 innings pitched. With already 3 wins under his belt, Okert is on pace to beat last year’s total by a wide margin.

Thrust into his first starting role after five seasons in MLB, Matt Thaiss has been a key component to the Los Angeles Angels lineup. Posting a batting average of .256, Matt also has 43 hits, 22 RBI’s and 24 runs scored.  

Both the Marlins and Angels resume play Friday as the second half of the baseball season gets underway. 


Cliff Omoruyi and Rutgers Travel to Senegal and Portugal

Last Starting on Tuesday, August 8th, Cliff Omoruyi and his Rutgers basketball teammates will go on an international tour to Senegal and Portugal. The tour, which concludes on August 19th will have Rutgers face off against local and national basketball clubs at each location.

“This foreign tour will give our team the opportunity to prepare for the challenge of the upcoming season against great international competition, as well as proving an unbelievable cultural experience of three great cities,” head coach Steve Pikiell said. 

For Cliff and other F-1 Visa athletes on the team, it will also provide an opportunity for the players to earn NIL compensation as Ambassadors for brands. United States law allows U.S. college athletes to earn NIL compensation at any time, but athletes attending U.S. colleges on F-1 visas must be “off-shore” to have the same opportunity. To understand more about this issue, please click here.





Ben Stitz makes MLS debut against NY Red Bulls



Rookie Ben Stitz, who was recently called up to FC Cincinnati’s first team on a short-term loan, made his MLS debut against the NY Red Bulls on Wednesday night. Ben’s first MLS action came as a substitute in the 73rd minute with FC Cincinnati trailing 1-0. The offensive substitutions changed the momentum of the game and FC Cincinnati was able to come back for an important 2-1 road victory, taking all 3 points back to Cincinnati. FC Cincinnati is in action again this Saturday evening at home against Nashville SC, a battle of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.



Jim Curtin Signs, Big Cliff Returns, Steven Okert Dazzles

Jim Curtin Signs With IPZ

Jim Curtin, Philadelphia Union Head Coach and two-time Major League Soccer Coach of the Year, has signed with IPZ, the company announced today. 

The former 2004 MLS All-Star played more than 170 games in Major League Soccer (MLS) before transitioning into coaching, taking the Head Coaching position of his hometown Philadelphia Union in 2014. Under Curtin’s leadership the Philadelphia Union have become one of the top clubs in Major League Soccer. 

Curtin, in his ninth year with the Union, is currently one of the longest tenured coaches in MLS. Curtin is one of the most respected coaches in North America and was named MLS Coach of the year in 2020 and 2022, becoming the youngest two-time recipient of the honor and fifth coach overall in league history to win the award multiple times. 

“I’m excited to join IPZ”, said Curtin. “IPZ has worked with top brands and businesses across all industries and their experience and reputation is second to none. I’m excited to begin our long-term partnership”.

“Through college and professional soccer as a player…and now as the coach of the Philadelphia Union, Jim has been respected by teammates, players and management,” said Robert Zito, IPZ managing partner.  “He’s an amazing family man who will be an asset for brands, especially in the Philadelphia area.  We’re thrilled to welcome Jim to the IPZ family.”


Cliff Omoruyi Decides To Return To Rutgers

Rutgers star center Cliff Omoruyi announced this week that he withdrew his name from the NBA draft pool and will return to Rutgers for the 2023-24 basketball season. The All-Big Ten center showed his love for Rutgers on social media via his Instagram post, “Last Go Round”.

Cliff’s commitment to family and love for Rutgers shines through in his statement: “I’ve built a legacy at Rutgers. Coach Pikiell has a vision for this program to compete for a national championship next season and I believe in his vision. I plan to fulfill my promise to my mom to finish what I started and graduate with a college degree. I am excited for what’s to come! Rutgers Nation, Are You Ready?!”  

Cliff returns to Rutgers after he posted a career year averaging 13.2 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and was named to the Associated Press All-Big Ten Second team. His return will make Rutgers a contender for the top 4 of the Big Ten Conference. 


Steven Okert gets Second Win of the Season

Last Wednesday was an enjoyable night in Miami for Steven Okert and the Miami Marlins. The Marlins deployed their star reliever Steven Okert in the top of the 9th as his team trailed 1-0.

Okert struck out the side and his teammates pushed across two runs in the bottom of the 9th for the walk-off win, handing Okert his second win of the season. Okert now, through 21 games played and 18.1 innings pitched holds a steady 1.96 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, and has only allowed 5 hits on his way to a flawless 2-0 record. 

The Marlins and Okert kick off a three-game set against the Oakland Athletics Tuesday as they begin their push into the All-Star break. They currently sit in an NL Wild Card spot with a 29-28 record.

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