Tag Archive for: Robert Zito

Curtin and Union Remain Unbeaten….IPZ Partners with NY Titans….Pop Singer Capri signs with IPZ….IPZ signs Deuce Jones for NIL Purposes

Curtin and Union Remain Unbeaten in MLS Action

Jim Curtin, and the Philadelphia Union came up big this past weekend as the Union battled back for a 2-1 road win at Nashville SC to extend its unbeaten start in MLS play.  

Curtin credited his players for fighting to the final whistle of every match and finding ways to win.  

“My players have a ton of heart,” Curtin said. “They’re never out of a game. They’ll play to the final whistle. From minute 1 to minute 90, anything can happen, and we stick with things and we fight. Is it always perfect? No. But at the same time, I think we put in the work for our fans, for the Philadelphia Union badge, for the city and these guys give everything. That commitment is kind of ingrained in our roster.”  

The Philadelphia Union, look to extend their unbeaten streak to 7 games, as their Eastern Conference road trip continues with a matchup with Atlanta United FC on Sunday, April 14th. Kickoff is set for 2:30PM ET with the action on FOX and free on Apple TV.  

IPZ Partner with NY Titans

The New York Titans, a fast-growing men’s and youth developmental soccer club in Brooklyn, NY, has signed with IPZ for marketing and sponsorship opportunities.

The Titans men’s team competes in the United Premier Soccer League (UPSL), the largest pro-development league in North America. The club also fields several youth teams in different age groups.

The club was founded during the Covid pandemic by Ukrainian actress Olga Lezhneva, who moved to Brooklyn in 2014.

You can learn more about the club here: NY Titans, and follow them on Instagram here: NY Titans FC Instagram

Pop Singer Capri signs with IPZ

Nineteen-year-old Capri Everitt, who famously sang 80 national anthems in 80 countries during a one year period when she was 11 years old, has signed with IPZ for marketing opportunities. 

The pop singer, who hails from Vancouver, Canada, recently performed at an international soccer tournament in Dallas, and has performed national anthems at many professional sporting events in North America.  

With more than 1 million followers on social media, Capri has strived to raise awareness for orphaned and abandoned children around the world. In 2019, she was cited by the Huffington Post as “one of 16 girls who changed the world.”  

You can learn more about Capri and experience her music here: Capri Everitt

IPZ signs Deuce Jones for NIL Purposes

Deuce Jones, an all-State guard with College Achieve Public Charter School in Asbury Park, NJ, has signed with IPZ for NIL opportunities.  

Jones, a Trenton, NJ native, is considered one of the top players in New Jersey and is currently ranked seventh overall in the state and has an overall 3-star rating by 247 Sports.  

Jones will begin his college career in September at La Salle University in Philadelphia. Deuce recently led College Achieve to an NJ Group 1 Title, averaging 21 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 3 steals throughout his senior campaign.  

“Deuce is a player who’s best basketball is ahead of him,” said College Achieve coach Dave Boff. “He showed tremendous growth this year and will only continue to get better as he moves on to La Salle.”  

Follow Deuce on Instagram here: Deuce Jones Instagram  

Curtin to be L.E.A.D.’s Ambassador…Dougherty Howard Shines in Return to Orlando…Big Decision for Big Cliff…Curtin Featured in Verizon Commercial

Curtin to be L.E.A.D.’s Ambassador

Jim Curtin, the head coach of the Philadelphia Union, will be the National Sports Ambassador for L.E.A.D, Law Enforcement Against Drugs & Violence, the organization announced today.  

Curtin, a recognized leader in soccer in the United States and in youth development, will help L.E.A.D. advance its mission of teaching school age children about the dangers of drugs and violence.  

“Jim’s track record speaks for itself as both a leader and role model,” said Nick De Mauro, chief executive of L.E.A.D. “An amazing family man, Jim’s children are exactly the ages of the students we reach and his ability to both work with children and his respect for law enforcement make him the perfect person to lend support to our program. We look forward to hitting the ground running with Jim.”  

“When I learned about the L.E.A.D. program I was thrilled to lend my support,” said Curtin. “You can’t argue with the benefits of teaching young children about the dangers of drugs and violence, and I look forward to using my platform in the MLS to spread the word. Every team in our league works with young students, and we can all learn from the curriculum L.E.A.D. employs.”  

Read the entire announcement here: L.E.A.D PRESS RELEASE

Dougherty Howard Shines in Return to Orlando

Meggie Dougherty Howard, midfielder for Angel City FC, produced an outstanding performance in her return to her home state and former club Orlando Pride, as Angel City FC was able to pick up a valuable road point with a 1-1 draw.

Angel City FC controlled the game from the opening whistle, with Dougherty Howard’s incredible distribution throughout the match. Angel City FC finally broke through in the 53rd minute after Dougherty Howard drew a foul in the box resulting in a penalty kick for Angel City FC. Angel City FC converted the penalty to take a much deserved 1–0 lead.

A late Orlando goal spoiled the chance for an Angel City FC road victory, but it was a hard earned and important point on the road for Dougherty Howard and the club.

Angel City FC and Dougherty Howard are back in action this Saturday, March 30, at 3:30 PM EST, away against the Kansas City Current. That match will be available on ESPN and ESPN+.

Big Decision for Big Cliff

When, after four years at Rutgers University, Clifford “Big Cliff” Omoruyi entered college basketball’s “transfer portal,” both the accolades and concerns started appearing on social media from Scarlet Knight fans. 

The great majority wished him well and felt he deserved the opportunity. Others expressed concern about Rutgers having two big time recruits coming to the school next year, but losing its defensive standout in the middle.  

In the new world of NIL, Cliff deserves the opportunity every other college athlete has. ESPN immediately published a story saying Cliff was the 2nd most attractive player in the transfer portal:  

“2. Clifford Omoruyi, 6-11, C, Sr., Rutgers Scarlet Knights  

Among the truly elite post defenders in college basketball. Omoruyi was named to the Big Ten’s All-Defensive team after averaging 10.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.9 blocks for one of the best defenses in the country.”  

Dozens of schools – all major programs – have reached out about Cliff, a guy who has raised nearly $100,000 for the Salvation Army Books & Basketball program in Newark, has put together a 3.8 GPA while earning a degree in Information Technology, and been a model student and teammate on campus.  

NIL is a good thing…and great guys like Big Cliff deserve to reap its rewards. It would be better if Clifford and other F-1 Visa students had the opportunity to earn money just like other college athletes, as we have written in the past (Link) . Our only hope is that we don’t have to travel “too far” to watch our friend on a new campus next year.  

Jim Curtin Featured in Verizon: Next Level Commercial Series

The Philadelphia Union head coach first showed off his tactical insight in the Verizon: Next Level- Tactics. In the commercial, Curtin gives the fans a look into the importance of tactical preparation for a match.  

Curtin most recently was featured in Verizon: Next Level- Technology in the Game. In this segment, Curtin discusses how the Philadelphia Union use innovations in technology and sports science to try and create a competitive edge over their opponents.  

Curtin and the Philadelphia Union are coming off a strong road win against the Portland Timbers in MLS action and now begin preparation for their home match up against Minnesota United on March 30th, with kickoff set for 2:00 PM EST at Subaru Park in Chester, Pa.  

Whitney Shines….Dougherty Howard and Angel City FC to Kick-off Season….Omoruyi Earns Big-10 Honors….A Brother Lends a Hand

Whitney Shines in Second Game

Newest KK Skrljevo addition, Kahlil Whitney, was a key contributor Tuesday night in their 107-87 victory. Whitney shot 6-11 (54%) from the field, dropping 13 points, while adding 2 assists, 4 total rebounds and 3 steals, in only his second appearance for the Croatian club.  

Skrljevo and Kahlil return to action Monday vs Furnir at 2PM EST.  

Dougherty Howard and Angel City FC set to Kick-off NWSHL Season this Weekend

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season kicks off this weekend, with a marque match-up between Meggie Dougherty Howard’s Angel City FC and expansion team Bay FC. Kick-off at Angle City FC’s BMO Stadium in Los Angeles is set for Sunday, March 17, at 7:30 pm EST.

Angle City FC, with a roster boasting both seasoned veterans and rising stars, is hoping to build off of a solid 2023 campaign. Meggie Dougherty-Howard, a dynamic midfielder, is in her first season with Angle City FC and expects to play a key role for the Los Angeles based club in 2024. ”

“I’m very excited to begin the 2024 season.” said Dougherty. “LA is a fantastic sports city with smart and enthusiastic fans. I’m thrilled to be a part of it and feel the energy of the stadium this weekend.”

Omoruyi Earns Multiple Big-10 Honors

Clifford “Big Cliff” Omoruyi’s exceptional defensive prowess this season has garnered him a spot on the Big Ten All-Defensive Team, for a second straight season. This comes as no surprise, as Omoruyi was top three in the country in blocks per game all season averaging around 2.8 – 3.3 per game, and amassing 91 total blocks in 31 games played. He also added 21 steals to go along with that.  

In addition, Omoruyi has also received Big Ten Honorable Mention, and was a part of the Big Ten Third team last season, showcasing his consistency throughout his older years at Rutgers. Omoruyi averaged 10.7 Points per game, 8.5 Rebounds per game, and shot 52% from the field in the 2023-2024 campaign.  

A Brother Lends a Hand

Clifford “It had been four years since Cliff Omoruyi had seen his brother Fred, or any member of his family in Nigeria.  

Muhammad and Felyce Oliver have become Cliff’s family here in the States, but The Big 10 Network was there to capture a touching family reunion as Cliff played his final game at Rutgers. Watch Below.

Whitney Accepts Offer….Curtin’s Union Advance in CONCACAF….Omoruyi and Olivers Tight Bond

Kahlil Whitney Accepts Offer with Klub Skrljevo

Kahlil Whitney, who signed last week with IPZ, has accepted an offer from Klub Skrljevo (Klub Skrljevo Team Website) in the Croation Premier League, the club announced early Monday. IPZ worked with Players Group Italia to secure the offer for Kahlil.  

Whitney spent the last three seasons in the G-Leauge, appearing in 24 games for his hometown team, the Windy City Bulls as well as the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.  

“The teams at Players Group and IPZ feel this is an excellent opportunity for Kahlil to showcase his talents,” said IPZ Managing Partner Robert Zito. “Our hope is he can be a vital cog to lead Skrljevo to a great run in the playoffs.”  

Curtin’s Philadelphia Union Advance in CONCACAF Champions Cup

In a thrilling 120-minute showdown, Jim Curtin and the Philadelphia Union showcased resilience and determination, ultimately clinching victory with a dramatic 94th-minute winner by Mikael Uhre, securing a 6-5 aggregate series win over Deportivo Saprissa. Tuesday night’s Concacaf Champions Cup clash was a spectacle, featuring six goals, intense VAR reviews, and the Union enduring extra time playing down a man. Yet, echoing the spirit of their city and Curtin, the Union fought relentlessly, advancing to face one of the oldest and most prominent clubs in Mexico, C.F. Pachuca, in the next round.

Curtin, following a lackluster performance, was brief in his post-game comments, simply stating, “Survive and advance.”

Set to kick off the Round of 16 in front of their passionate home crowd, the Philadelphia Union will take the field for leg 1 of a 2 leg aggregate series at Subaru Park on Tuesday, March 5th, with kick-off scheduled for 7:00 PM EST.

The Tight Bond between Big Cliff and Muhammad Oliver

Our newsletter has been filled with numerous stories about the way Rutgers star Clifford Omoruyi has given back to the community during his college career.  

But where did Cliff learn about the right things to do?  

Check out his story, from the Salvation Army, about Cliff’s mentor and guardian – Muhammad Oliver


Whitney Signs with IPZ…. Okert Traded to Minnesota…. Cliff Second in the Nation in Blocks Per Game

Kahlil Whitney Signs with IPZ

Kahlil Whitney, a former Roselle Catholic star and five-star recruit, 2019 McDonald’s All-American and co-MVP of the Iverson Classic after scoring 39 points, has signed with IPZ.  

After his Roselle Catholic career and a multi-year stint in the G-League, Kahlil has his sights set on a productive career overseas. IPZ is working with Players Group Italia to assist Kahlil in fulfilling his goals.  

“I met Kahlil when he was a senior in high school,” said Robert Zito, Managing Partner of IPZ. “A mutual friend introduced us and I was immediately impressed with his presence, not to mention his athletic ability. Given the right opportunity to showcase his talents, Kahlil will be a force.”  

Steven Okert Traded to the Minnesota Twins

Last week, Steven Okert was traded to the Minnesota Twins from the Miami Marlins in exchange for infielder/outfielder Nick Gordon.

Now entering his seventh year in the league, Okert posted a 4.45 ERA out of the bullpen for the Marlins during the 2023 season. He also posted the highest strikeout rate (29.6%) and lowest walk rate (9.7%) of his career.

He’ll join the Twins bullpen as one of the top left-handed options for next season.

Cliff Omoruyi Second in the Nation in Blocks Per Game

Cliff Omoruyi has been dominating the defensive glass all season. Currently, he is second in the nation in blocks per game, averaging 3.3 in 24 games played. In recent action, Cliff has amassed 20 blocks in his last 5 games, and 30 in his last 10 games.  

The senior has helped lead Rutgers to an overall record of 14-11, and turned the Scarlet Knights into a defensive powerhouse, as they hold a 91.1 Adjusted Defensive rating, which lands them second in the KenPom defensive rankings currently.  

Omoruyi and Rutgers face their toughest opponent for the second time this season as they hit the road to square off against #3 ranked Purdue on Thursday in Indiana.  


Dougherty Howard Begins Pre-Season…. Big Cliff Spreading the Word About Cancer Screening…. Curtin Preparing for 2024 MLS Season

Meggie Dougherty Howard Begins Pre-Season Training with Angel City FC

Midfielder Meggie Dougherty Howard, who recently joined Angel City FC, has begun preparations for the 2024 NWSL season.  

Dougherty Howard and Angel City FC kicked-off their NWSL preseason last week at their home training ground in Thousand Oaks, CA. Angel City FC will continue their preparations in California with a series of preseason friendly matches and training sessions over the next few weeks. Angle City’s 2024 NWSL opener is set for March 16th at home against Bay FC.  

Dougherty Howard, a NWSL Shield winner last year with San Diego Wave FC, hopes to bring her winning mentality and veteran leadership to her new club Angel City FC as it looks to build off of a strong 2023 campaign.  

Big Cliff Helps Spread the Word About Cancer Screening

Cliffor Omoruyi used his Big Ten and Rutgers’ platforms to help Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and the American Cancer Society raise awareness about the importance of cancer screenings.

In four social media posts, Cliff talked about the importance of screenings during the NCAA’s “Suits & Sneakers” weekend games. In one post, Cliff put on his own suit and sneaks, saying “It’s not just the coaches who can wear suits and sneakers to spread the word.”

“We’re thrilled that Cliff is joining Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and the American Cancer Society to share the importance of cancer prevention, early detection and cancer screening,” said Dr. Eric Berman, Associate Chief Medical Officer for Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. “He has helped many important causes, like the Salvation Army’s programs in Newark, and we are glad he is part of our team. It makes sense that one of the nation’s top defenders is helping defeat cancer.”

Jim Curtin and the Philadelphia Union Continue Preparations for the 2024 MLS Season

Jim Curtin and the Philadelphia Union recently wrapped up their first phase of preseason training in Clearwater, FL with a 3-1 victory over New York City FC (MLS) in a preseason friendly.  

“The first phase of preseason has gone very well,” said Curtin, “we had three really high-level games against CR Flamengo (Brazil), Austin FC (MLS), and now NYCFC (MLS). The group continued to get better through each of our three matches and were able to build up a lot of fitness and confidence going into the next phase of pre-season.”  

After a week back in Philadelphia, the Union will return to Clearwater, FL on February 5th to wrap-up the second phase of preseason with matches scheduled against FC Cincinnati on Feb. 9th and culminating with a match against New England Revolution on Feb.14th.  

Coming off a strong 2023 campaign the Union again qualified for the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup (CCC), a tournament that includes the top 27 teams in North and Central America. Philadelphia will kick-off its 2024 season and the CCC competition with an away game against Deportivo Saprissa, in Costa Rica on February, 20th at 10:00 PM EST. MLS action for the Union will begin on February 24th at their home at Subaru Park against the Chicago Fire FC with kick-off set for 7:30 PM EST.  

Dougherty Howard to Angel City FC… Omoruyi Moving Up On Rebound List… Okert Inks New Deal With Marlins

Meggie Dougherty Howard Traded to Angle City FC

Angel City FC, the Los Angeles based NWSL team, has acquired Midfielder Meggie Dougherty Howard via trade from San Diego Wave FC.  

“I’m very excited for this opportunity,” said Dougherty Howard. “The team is headed in a great direction and I’m looking forward to being a part of Angel City’s success. LA is a fantastic sports city with smart and enthusiastic fans. I’m thrilled to be a part of it!”  

Dougherty Howard, a NWSL veteran, spent the 2023 season with San Diego, appearing in 17 total matches in all competitions for the NWSL Shield winner. Howard, heading into her eighth professional season, has appeared in 115 matches.  

Omoruyi Moves Up to 7th All-Time on Rutgers Rebound List

Cliff Omoruyi continues to etch his name into the Rutgers’ history book. This past week Omoruyi surpassed Rutgers’ great Gene Armstead for 7th all time on the Rutgers’ rebound list.

Omoruyi currently stands at 810 Total Rebounds, becoming only the 8th player ever in program history to collect 800 career rebounds. Rutgers is back in action at home on Wednesday, January 17th, against Big Ten opponent Nebraska. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 PM at Jersey Mike’s Arena in Piscataway, NJ.

Okert Signs Extension with Miami Marlins

The Miami Marlins and Steven Okert have agreed to a one year extension worth $1.1 million, avoiding arbitration.  

Okert, entering his seventh MLB season, held a winning record of 3-2 in the 2023 campaign. In 58.2 Innings pitched, he posted a 4.45 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP, while striking out 73 batters, a career high.  

Catch the Marlins and Steven in action as they open spring training on February 26th against the St. Louis Cardinals.  

Omoruyi’s Big Game Vs. Seton Hall + Omoruyi Eclipses 1000 Points + Oleynik in MMA Action Tonight

Omoruyi’s Big Game Vs. Seton Hall

The in-state rivalry game between Rutgers and Seton Hall was a highlight reel for Cliff Omoruyi, as the Scarlet Knights defeated the Pirates, 70-63. Big Cliff was dominant, registering 13 rebounds and 7 blocks, while also adding 11 points. Omoruyi is currently leading the Big Ten in blocks, averaging 3.8 per game. He also became the first Rutgers player since 2019 to receive the Joe Calabrese Game MVP award as the best player in the Garden State Hardwood Classic. Aided by the return of Cliff’s roommate, senior forward Mawot Mag who grabbed 8 rebounds, Cliff and the Rutgers defense held the Pirates to 36.1 percent shooting from the floor. Rutgers will look to build on the win when it hosts LIU Saturday at 1 PM. 

Omoruyi Eclipses 1000 Points

It was a memorable night for another reason for Rutgers Senior Cliff Omoruyi. With about 12 minutes left in the first half, Omoruyi received the ball in the post, made a nice spin move and finished on a mid-range jump hook which marked his 1,000th point for Rutgers Men’s Basketball. Cliff became the 46th player in the program’s history to accomplish that feat, joining recent former teammates Geo Baker and Ron Harper Jr.

Oleynik in MMA Action Tonight

MMA legend Alexey Oleynik (a.k.a. “The Boa Constrictor”) will step into the cage tonight to take on experienced Brazilian fighter Fernando Rodrigues Jr. (13-8-0) at RCC 17. Oleynik, known for his variety of submissions, is looking to secure his 61st MMA victory tonight which would rank him #10 all-time in victories in MMA history.  

Omoruyi on Abdul-Jabaar Watchlist…Prudius Impact Wrestling Debut…Doughetry-Howard and San Diego Capture 2023 Shield

Cliff Omoruyi Named to the Kareem Abdul-Jabaar Watchlist

For the second season in a row, Rutgers star Center Cliff Omoruyi has been named to the Kareem Abdul-Jabaar watchlist, an award which highlights the nation’s top 20 centers in the upcoming 2023-24 NCAA Basketball Season. This award comes just weeks after Omoruyi was named to the Preseason All-Big 10 Team. 

Omoruyi and his Rutgers’ teammates open regular season play on November 6th against Princeton in the “Jersey Jam” at the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton. The Scarlet Knights did play a pre-season game this past weekend, an 89-78 double overtime loss to highly-rated St. John’s at Carnesecca Arena. The game raised money for the Dick Vitale Pediatric Cancer Research Fund at the Jimmy V Foundation. 

According to NJ.com’s coverage of the game, “Big Cliff” more than held his own against Joel Soriano, who is one of the best big men in the Big East. Omoruyi finished with a team-leading 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting (4-of-7 on free throws), nine rebounds, two blocks and a steal in 36 minutes, while holding Soriano to 12 points. 

“We need Cliff to be like that,” Rutgers’ coach Steve Pikiell said. “He’s so talented and he gives us an anchor in the middle, both defensively and offensively.” 

Oleg Prudius & His Impact Wrestling Debut

Oleg Prudius, a 6′ 8″ 302 lb wrestler and resident of Miami Beach, Florida, recently made his Impact wrestling debut on October 12th. It was the first on-screen appearance for Prudius since making a brief cameo in March of this year. During the episode, Prudius aligned himself with the duo of Dirty Dango and Alpha Bravo after aiding Dango in a five-way match that had implications for the Call Your Shot Gauntlet match at Bound for Glory on October 21st.

Prudius previously wrestled in the WWE where he won a Tag Team Championship with his former partner Santino Marella. The veteran will look to repeat this success with Impact wrestling and return to his past dominance in the sport.  

Make sure to catch Prudius in action Thursday nights at 8/7c on AXS TV!  

Meggie Dougherty-Howard and the San Diego Wave Capture the 2023 NWSL Shield

Meggie Dougherty-Howard and San Diego Wave FC captured the 2023 NWSL Shield. The NWSL Shield is a trophy awarded to the team with the best regular season record in the league.  

San Diego Wave FC enter the NWSL Playoffs as the No.1 overall seed and will host OL Reign in a semifinal match-up on November 5th at Snapdragon Stadium at 9:30 PM EST. 

Dougherty-Howard and the Wave look to bring San Diego Wave FC their first NWSL Championship in franchise history.

Latin American Fashion Designers Show + Party This Sunday…Alexey Oleynik Earns First Professional Boxing Win…Meggie Dougherty Howard 1st in NWSL

Latin American Fashion Designers Show + Party This Sunday

The Latin American Fashion Designers, which provides visibility for the top established and up-and-coming fashion designers from Latin America (and beyond) will stage its New York Fashion Week show this Sunday, with an “after-party” that evening at New York’s Limelight. 

The fashion show runs from noon – 6:30 p.m. at Canoe Studios, 201 West 26th Street in Manhattan. It will feature 13 Latin American designers and is expected to be attended by celebrities and sports stars. 

For tickets and more information, visit: https://www.fdla.co/access  

Alexey Oleynik Earns First Professional Boxing Win with KO

MMA sensation Alexey Oleynik (a.k.a. “The Boa Constrictor”) stepped into the ring for his first professional boxing match last Saturday night in Kazan, Russia. Hosted by the M-13 Company, the tournament was held in the entertainment complex “Pyramid” and was a dedication to International Boxing Day. The evening featured a total of 13 boxing matches, with Alexey’s fight being the featured event on the card.

Oleynik matched up against Russian Heavyweight fighter, Tagir Dzoblaev, taking him down by “KO” in Round One, moving him to a perfect 1-0 in his professional boxing career. Oleynik is the only fighter to win professional bouts in four different decades.  

Meggie Dougherty Howard and the San Diego WaveFC Take Over 1st Place

Meggie Dougherty Howard and San Diego Wave FC moved into first place in the NWSL standings with a 1-0 win over the Houston Dash this past weekend in front of 25,000 home fans at Snapdragon Stadium.  

Dougherty Howard, a key contributor to the Waves’ success with over 100 NWSL appearances, is enjoying her first season in San Diego as one of the team’s top playmakers. Meggie’s creativity, vision, and passing ability has led to San Diego being one of the highest scoring teams in the NWSL.

San Diego Wave FC will try to remain at the top of the table with just four games to play in the NWSL regular season as they host KC Current at home on Saturday, Sept. 16.