IPZ Athlete Signs Her First Professional Deal

WARREN, NJ, November 7, 2017 – Kelila “KayKay” Atkinson has signed a professional contract with the UL Huskies Basketball Club (Women’s Division 1 – Ireland) for the 2017-2018 season.

“This is a very exciting moment for me as a prospect with IPZ,” said Atkinson. “I want to thank all who believed in me and are able to see my potential. I am very grateful and look forward to contributing to the team as well as gaining international play experience.”

The 5-foot-10 Wake Forest Demon Deacon finished out her collegiate career scoring 15 points, bringing down six rebounds, and recording two blocks against Louisville on senior night earlier this year.

“We are thrilled for KayKay and her opportunity to be a game-changer for the Huskies,” said Shawn Farmer, managing director of basketball. “Ireland is a great place for her to kick off her professional career.”

About IPZ: InterperformancesUSA (IPZ) is a family-focused management, representation, and consulting firm, built on the integrity of its professionals, and developing whole life solutions for its clients. The firm is an alliance with Zito Partners. For more information, visit 

About Zito Partners: Zito Partners builds, energizes and defends brands. A boutique firm representing a select group of clients from a range of industries, Zito Partners believes in a “ready, aim, fire” approach – understand the client…develop the appropriate strategy against the key target constituencies…and execute against the plan. And through its strategic alliance with Ketchum, Ketchum Zito Financial, Zito Partners is assisting additional clients with their financial communications needs. For more information, visit


Media Contact:

Kyrsten Van Natta
(862) 205-9841

Union’s Jack Elliott an MLS Rookie of the Year Finalist

Union centerback Jack Elliott earned some well-deserved recognition on Tuesday for his strong debut season, as he was named a finalist for Major League Soccer’s Rookie of the Year award.

Elliott surprisingly became a stalwart of the team’s defense this year. He was drafted in the fourth round out of West Virginia, which is rare territory to find potential pros. Elliott was one of just two picks in this year’s fourth round who saw any playing time in MLS. None of last year’s fourth-round picks have broken through yet, and only four fourth-round picks from 2015 have done so.

The 22-year-old Englishman was quickly thrown into the fire, making his Union debut on April 1. He ended up playing in 30 of the Union’s 34 league games, making 29 starts, and played every minute in all but three of the starts. He also started and played every minute of the team’s two U.S. Open Cup games. His disciplinary record was sterling: just four yellow cards and one red card.

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USA Volleyball’s Matt Anderson in The Players’ Tribune

A look at morning practice with USA Volleyball opposite/outside hitter Matt Anderson in 60 seconds.

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Bloomberg Looks at NFL Controversy

NFL’s $205 Million Man Is Hated by Everyone But Those Who Matter

By Felix Gillette

If you’re going to sign your outfit’s top executive to a long-term compensation deal worth tens of millions of dollars, you want to be absolutely confident he can handle any crisis, shut down the pitchforks, snuff out the torches and restore order.

Roger Goodell, the National Football League commissioner, will probably be just fine anyway.

The ruckus over whether players should — or should be allowed to — protest racial injustice during the national anthem is, without question, dragging on at an awkward time for Goodell. His contract with the NFL, which paid him more than $205 million between 2008 and 2015 (the last year that was made public), expires in 2019. A proposed five-year extension is before league officials. They’re discussing it against furious background noise and a lot of people calling for the commissioner’s head. He hasn’t managed to tamp it down.

Fans have burned jerseys and boycotted games. The media have been relentless, with Editor Katie Pavlich blasting Goodell as a “coward,” Breitbart News labeling him a “protester PR hack” and Fox Business anchor Lou Dobbs referring to him as “gutless Goodell.” League officials and Goodell didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The commissioner, though, isn’t beholden to pundits or the droves of angry people on Twitter, even the one who lives in the White House. The faith of team owners is all that really matters. This has long been a fact of widespread misunderstanding. As Fay Vincent, the former head of Major League Baseball, once explained to Bloomberg News, “The great myth that you have to deal with is that the commissioner is a public servant.”

With the exception of the Green Bay Packers, the NFL is a collection of private businesses, run by a small pack of billionaires. And since becoming commissioner in 2006, Goodell had made them gobs of money.

“Even people who may disagree with how some social issues are being handled, he is still their guy,” said Marc Ganis, president of the influential consulting firm Sportscorp Ltd., after members of the NFL’s compensation committee met in New York last week. Based on his conversations with them, Ganis said, Goodell’s contract extension is “pretty much done — there was no expression of wanting to go in a different direction.”

This season, the NFL will bring in some $14 billion in revenue, according to SportsBusiness Journal, an increase of more than $900 million over last season and a huge jump from the roughly $6.6 billion it made in 2006. The lavish growth has hardly sated Goodell’s ambitions to make his bosses even richer. He has said that by 2027, he’d like to see the NFL pull in $25 billion.

The commissioner has also helped the league slalom through a minefield of potentially ruinous hazards. For years, no matter what horror has arrived on the doorstep — injured brains, battered spouses, deflated footballs, softening ratings, scab referees, — Goodell has always dutifully answered the doorbell, draped in his boxy, pin-striped suit of armor, flashing his tight-lipped smile and calmly repeating a rote paean to the unwavering, greatness of the game.

Along the way, he has emerged as a favorite target for bloodthirsty fans. In that, too, he performs a valuable service, effectively drawing anger away from press-averse owners.

His skills were on display at a news conference last week where he expressed his hope that all players would stand for the anthem but reiterated the NFL wouldn’t force anybody to do so. Moving forward, he said, the league would work with players to support their social-justice goals off the field. “We’re not looking to get into politics,” Goodell said. “What we’re looking to do is to continue to get people focused on football.”

The performance did nothing to placate President Donald Trump, and left plenty of others fuming. But with the audience that matters most, it went over well. “Nobody wants the protests to continue because it has had an effect on business and it has provoked a huge emotional response from our fans,” New York Giants co-owner John Mara told reporters. “But I think all of us, or just about all of us, are in agreement that we need to continue to have this dialogue with the players.”

There’s no doubt Goodell will continue to face harsh scrutiny, along with the NFL, as long as the anthem issue grabs headlines. Protests continued during week seven of the season, including before the game Sunday between the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers. All the Cowboys remained upright, though defensive end David Irving briefly raised his fist at the end of the song, while several 49ers kneeled. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who recently vowed to bench any team member who didn’t stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner,” told reporters the league was being hurt by players taking the knee, as it’s called.

The matter “has been allowed to fester,” said Bob Zito, founder of Zito Partners, a crisis management firm. “Goodell has to be able to find the best solution to get this off the front-page, as soon as possible.” That’s important for the league, not necessarily his contract negotiations.

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NFL Alumni Support Puerto Rico Relief

CareOne and Daniel Straus Lead Effort

Members of the NFL Alumni Association – along with current NFL players Jason Pierre-Paul and Victor Cruz – attended CareOne’s “Starry Night Masquerade” on Thursday, October 19. This event raised $4,000,000 for Puerto Rico relief efforts.

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Tyrell Nelson Named Player of the Week

IPZ athlete Tyrell Nelson was honored as the Georgian Superleague’s Player of the Week in the league’s opening week. Nelson poured in 24 points and pulled down 9 rebounds leading his team, BC Rustavi, to victory in its first game of the season on October 14.

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Jack Elliott Nominated for Rookie of the Year

The league’s worst kept secret is now official.

Jack Elliott is one of 17 players nominated for AT&T Rookie of the Year, and he holds one of the best, if not the best, case out of the bunch.

Selected in the fourth round at 77th overall in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, Elliott was not expected to be a repeat contributor for the team. Players picked that late in the draft are usually projects who spend time developing their game before becoming everyday players. And that’s how Elliott’s season looked at the beginning.

Elliott played a match for Bethlehem Steel FC, where he notched an assist in his first professional assist. He then spent two games in the game day 18 for the Union, before being thrusted into his MLS debut at halftime in the Union’s fourth game of the season, after Richie Marquez was forced to leave the match.

He performed well, but was out of the starting lineup the next match. Against New York City FC, Elliott earned his first start of his career. He hasn’t left the starting XI since.

Since his start, the Union rolled off the longest winning streak in team history, a six-game and four-game unbeaten streak, the team’s longest shutout streak, and set the record for most home wins in a season. He’s been a part of a backline which has allowed the second fewest road goals in team history, and helped Andre Blake record his lowest goals against average in his career.

In terms of individual production, Elliott is near the top of nearly every Union defensive stat, and is one of the best of all MLS defenders in blocks and clearances. He also has been a workhorse on the field, logging the third-most minutes played on the Union.

Jack Elliott’s play has certainly placed him in the running for Rookie of the Year, and now it’s official. Now it’s time for him to become the first defender since Austin Berry in 2012 to win the award.

To see the full list of nominees for Rookie of the Year, click here.

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Feyonda Fitzgerald: I Want to Be a Polish League MVP

How do you find yourself in your first months in Poland?

Everything is moving towards the better. It was only my first professional basketball season and most things were absolutely new to me. As time goes by, you better get to know your country and your teammates. At first, it was hard for me, but now it seems to me that I feel better every day. The hardest thing is that Polish is one of the hardest in the world and hard to understand.

And how do you rate the beginning of the season in the performance of Bee?

In my opinion, our team is really good and has great potential. However, we have to put everything in order so that the team functions properly. You also need to believe in yourself, which always helps. Every day we train hard to become a better team. We are also working on a mental approach. We want the Lublin team to be better than last season. I think it should be good.

You have to be disappointed that the first game at home ended with your defeat, because on the trip you are so far unbeaten.

We were extremely disappointed. The coach told us in the locker room before the game: many fans came to the hall, so show them a game that will make them come back for another game. In the fight with Basket 90 Gdynia we had good parts of the game, but there was also a period in which we caught the hole. Undoubtedly, we can afford more. We can promise all our fans that in the next meeting we will do everything to redeem ourselves. We will fight for victory in every match.

What are the strengths of your team?

I think we have a good team in the team and we can throw it. As for me, I’m quick and I can see the girls in clean positions. I try to penetrate under the basket. The finishes of our stock are very good. As long as we keep the form in terms of individuality, it will benefit the team.

You feel like you are on the dance floor, but you can also play in other positions?

Yes, I can also play the role of a defender. As a college student, I played in both positions and I’m not attached to only one place on the field. It adapts to the coach’s decision and I like the variety in the game.

But your specialty is assisting. In the 2016/17 season, you set the record for the American Athletic Conference NCAA in key applications.

That’s right. I told the girls from the team that they would be in positions of attack and my applications would find them. I just want them to make a throw. They will get a good pass, but let them get to the basket (laughs). I want as much help as possible! (laugh).

Why did you decide to transfer to the Women’s League Basket? Did you know anything about Poland before you signed the contract?

To be honest, it’s nothing. I’ve heard a lot about these games, but my knowledge was small. I learned that it is a strong league where you can learn a lot. My main goal is to show myself the best way to be noticed. Besides, I wanted to leave the USA and learn a whole different culture, experience something new. I was very excited about the first season of the profession. I heard first of all that in Poland it was cold and it scared me a bit, but besides, I met myself with positive opinions. I know some former athletes who are currently coaches and I talked to them about this transfer. I also consulted with basketball players who are currently playing at BLK.

What are the main differences between the Ladies’ Basket and the games you have played so far?

In Poland there is definitely more physical basketball. The organization of the game looks different. I try to adapt to these conditions every day. I still have to learn a lot, but my friends help me.

Which of the girls in the team did you make the best contact?

I would rather point to … (laughs). My favorite is Serbian, Danyana Butulije.

Both of you quickly became leaders of the team and have the best statistics after the first meeting.

That’s right. Statistics are an important factor in my stay here, but above all, I try to help the team achieve the best results. The most important for me is winning. I want as many victories. We are counting on our participation in the playoffs and I hope we can fight for the championship of Poland. I’m here to make the Lublin team go farther than in previous seasons.

Have you set your own goal for this season?

Yes, I want to stay MVP of this league, be one of the top players. So, I could go back to the States and sign a contract at WNBA. I would like to bring Bee at least to the semi-finals.

You have a college student in Philadelphia. Do you know that there is Darryl Reynolds, who comes from Philadelphia, on TBL Start Lublin?

Yes, we have met a few times already. It was nice to meet someone in Lublin with whom I have some experience from the United States. It would be cool if there was an American in Pszczółka, but it did not happen and thanks to it, he knows better the other teammates.

In your twitter account you wrote “when they pay you for doing what you love, it’s a blessing.” Is your motto?

My favorite quotation comes from a bible letter to the Philippians, and it reads: “I can do everything in the One who strengthens me.” I thank God for playing basketball and earning money. I try to appreciate and celebrate every moment on the dance floor. It’s really amazing.

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*Please note that the above was translated by Google from Polish to English.


WNBA Draft Pick Signs with IPZ

WARREN, NJ, October 9, 2017 – Feyonda Fitzgerald, a 2017 WNBA draft pick and leading scorer for a top team in Poland, has signed with IPZ, the company announced today.

The 5-foot-7 point guard played collegiately for Temple University from 2013 to 2017. Fitzgerald made an immediate impact for the Owls as she started all 30 games as a freshman and was Temple’s top scorer averaging 12.9 points per contest. She was a unanimous All-Freshman Team selection and was named to American’s All-Conference Second Team.

As a sophomore, Fitzgerald appeared in all 37 contests and put up 11.1 points per game. The following season, she became an All-Conference Second Team selection once more after averaging 13.6 points, 5.3 assists, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per contest.

In her senior year, Fitzgerald became the Owls’ single-season assist record holder dishing out 232 dimes, and she took ownership of the school’s all-time assist record with 635. Fitzgerald averaged 17.3 points, 7.3 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game, while knocking down 82.7 percent of her free throw attempts and was named to American’s All-Conference First Team. This high-caliber season catapulted Temple to a 24-8 record as well as the Owls’ first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2011. Fitzgerald also earned All-American honors and became the first Owl to do so since 2007.

Fitzgerald was selected in the second round of the 2017 WNBA Draft by the Indiana Fever. After stints with the Fever and the Connecticut Sun (WNBA) during training camp, the All-American point guard went on to compete overseas. Fitzgerald currently plays for AZS UMCS Lublin (Basket Liga Kobiet – the highest-tier league in Poland) and is averaging 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists per contest through three games.

“Feyonda is a fierce competitor and a proven winner,” said IPZ’s Managing Director of Basketball Shawn Farmer. “She was a star for Temple and there’s no doubt in my mind that she will continue to have the same success – if not more – in her professional career.”

About IPZ: InterperformancesUSA (IPZ) is a family-focused management, representation, and consulting firm, built on the integrity of its professionals, and developing whole life solutions for its clients. The firm is an alliance with Zito Partners. For more information, visit 

About Zito Partners: Zito Partners builds, energizes and defends brands. A boutique firm representing a select group of clients from a range of industries, Zito Partners believes in a “ready, aim, fire” approach – understand the client…develop the appropriate strategy against the key target constituencies…and execute against the plan. And through its strategic alliance with Ketchum, Ketchum Zito Financial, Zito Partners is assisting additional clients with their financial communications needs. For more information, visit


Media Contact:

Kyrsten Van Natta
(862) 205-9841

Aaron Jones in Consideration for USL Rookie of the Year

There are a lot of good potential nominees for Rookie of the Year in Steel FC’s squad, with the likes of goalkeeper Jake McGuire, midfielders Adam Najem and Santi Moar, and forwards Marcus Epps and Chris Nanco among them for the playoff contender. Arguably the side’s most consistent player has been Jones, who leads the team in minutes played and has put in stellar performances on the back line as Steel FC has competed for a first trip to the postseason.

Jones has won a team-high 38 tackles at an 80.9 percent success rate, sits second with 51 interceptions, and has also won more than 55 percent of duels and almost 70 percent of aerial duels. Additionally, the value Jones brings from set pieces has seen him tie for the team-lead with 31 key passes alongside Moar, and also notch a pair of standout goals from free kicks.

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