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Laurence Jolicoeur makes waves in the world of basketball in the US

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The professional basketball player with “Pro reps,” his training brand trains and mentors other budding basketball players to help them become the best version of themself.

Isn’t it amazing to learn about all those people and professionals who, in ways, more than one, go ahead in making a name for themselves in all that they ever take in their hands in their careers and journeys of life? Well, the world may have seen the constant rise of many such talented beings across industries, but there are definitely a few rare gems which stand distinctive from the rest and, in the process, continuously attain massive momentum and growth as professionals in their respective fields. Doing that in the world of basketball training has proved to be an altogether different “game,” but there are individuals and professionals like Laurence “LJ” Jolicoeur who make all of that look effortless.

Laurence Jolicoeur is all about the pure passion and love he holds for basketball. He always knew he would make his mark on the game with players of all skill levels around the world. The Queens, NY native hence dived deep into the sport while he was a child and has honed his skills since then. He attended and played for Holy Cross in high school, playing in the CHSAA, which has been one of the top high school leagues in the country. After making a successful run in the game, he attended Manhattan College, where he earned a Division I scholarship and later earned an undergrad degree in Exercise Science.

Post graduating from the University of Maryland of Baltimore County; he also played professional basketball overseas in Italy. Today, Laurence Jolicoeur serves as the founder of Pro Reps, where he makes sure to spread his knowledge among others and mentors and trains them to become better at the sport and be their best version on and off the court.

Pro Reps truly has changed the lives of many aspiring basketball players, thanks to Laurence Jolicoeur’s passion for the game and his quest to better lives through sports.

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Leicester City’s £194m debt written off by King Power | ‘Shows commitment after criticism’ | Football News

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In layman’s terms, Leicester’s owners have written off £194m that they’d loaned to the football club, in various sized chunks, over the last 10 years, and said “we don’t expect you to pay that back, LCFC”.

It’s a big statement of commitment from the Srivaddhanaprabha family.

Many football clubs in England have significant debt that is owed to the club owners, and that debt tends to get paid off when the club is sold on.

Here, in Leicester’s case, there is now no debt to the owners.

It would be wrong to say that Leicester is now “debt free” because it does have various loans with banks elsewhere in the business, I understand.

But I have been told those debts are tiny, compared with the £194m of cash that Khun Top has now gifted the club.

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Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha with Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers

Also, because the sum has been drip-fed into the club over the past decade, for accounting purposes and under Premier League rules, I’ve been told it is not deemed as an outside cash injection that could be in contradiction with Financial Fair Play.

Aiyawatt’s father, Vichai, did a similar thing in 2013, before Leicester won the Premier League title in 2016, and then Khun Vichai tragically died in a helicopter crash outside the stadium two years later.

Crucially, after a difficult time where Leicester’s board have faced criticism from some fans for a lack of investment in the playing squad, this is a huge show of commitment for the future.

If King Power were planning to sell the club at any point in the medium term, it would not make financial sense to do this.

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha bankrolled Leicester's rise to Premier League champions
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Aiyawatt’s father, VVichai Srivaddhanaprabha, tragically died in a helicopter crash outside the King Power in 2018

While fans shouldn’t expect a huge splurge on new players now, the gift does help with Leicester’s Financial Fair Play situation, because there are no interest payments to be paid on the debt.

It doesn’t mean Brendan Rodgers suddenly has £200m to spend on players.

Leicester and King Power have always been adamant they would have a stable, well-run club. That doesn’t mean a lack of ambition – they’ve won the Premier League and FA Cup in the last seven years.

But there are some who’ve questioned the Leicester model – how can a club thrive on the pitch, if it is selling the likes of Riyad Mahrez, Harry Maguire, N’golo Kante, Wesley Fofana – world-class players that Leicester have let go to bigger clubs?

Leicester’s owners are pragmatic – they know they can’t compete with Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea off the pitch.

Their commercial power is unparalleled in the vast majority of global club football.

Rodgers has a strong relationship with Leicester owner Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha
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Brendan Rodgers with Leicester owner Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha after the club’s FA Cup triumph in 2021

But Leicester have a plan to grow the club commercially, to increase revenues as much as possible, so that more and more money can be invested in the playing squad in the future, without breaking FFP rules.

A prime example is the £100m new training ground at Seagrave, which many feel is unrivalled in the Premier League.

There are also plans for a new hotel, entertainment venue, for expanding the capacity at King Power stadium – all with the goal of increasing commercial revenue, so that Leicester might be better able to compete with the big boys in the future.

This £194m gift is a really significant indicator of that long-term plan at Leicester.

The Srivaddhanaprabha family saying, “We don’t expect you to pay back this £200m loan that we’ve given you” is a huge show of commitment.

It shows King Power are in it at Leicester for the long haul, and it shows the club is, financially, in very rude health.

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How the January window changed WSL transfers forever: Alessia Russo bid and Bethany England’s British record move help spark new era | Football News

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The January transfer window was another watershed moment for the WSL, from record bids and moves to Aston Villa and Tottenham proving their mettle in the transfer market.

Last window before the first £1m player?

If Arsenal are offering £500,000 for a player with six months left on their contract, then how much is a big-name player now worth when they’re committed to a club for longer?

Clubs are now trying to lock down players to longer deals in an attempt to maximise their values. For Manchester United to stand firm over Alessia Russo is a sign the market’s changed.

The current world record for a player is the £400,000 spent by Barcelona on Keira Walsh. That could seem like a bargain in the not-so-distant future.

The money being offered is a first for the women’s game, which is a positive sign according to former England forward Lianne Sanderson.

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A look at Alessia Russo’s best goals in the Women’s Super League after Arsenal had a world-record bid for the striker rejected by Manchester United on Deadline Day

She told Sky Sports News: “To put it into perspective, in the men’s game, this is two weeks wages. In the women’s game, to see players like Bethany England and Alessia Russo being linked with this much money, it makes me so happy.

“Maybe I’ll come out of retirement, I don’t know how much I’d go for!”

Stars will emerge between now and the end of the season, especially at this summer’s World Cup. Watch this space because someone will become the first £1m player soon.

WSL must not let others be left behind

Of course, for their male counterparts £1m for a player barely covers agents’ fees.

But the increase in money offered and paid – let’s not forget Tottenham also splashed out a British record £250,000 for Bethany England early in the window too – as well as increased integration between men’s and women’s teams could see accelerated fees over the next few years.

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Our pick of the best goals from January in the Women’s Super League

For example, if we consider Arsenal – the whole club, not just the women’s team – £400,000 for a player with six months left on her contract like Russo is a drop in the ocean. While we do not know the figures, Chelsea also offered a “substantial” sum to try and sign Katie McCabe from Arsenal.

The Chelsea men’s team had a net spend of £323.3m in January and, two and a half years ago, the women’s team broke the world record when they signed Pernille Harder for £250,000. Of course, that almost doubled with Walsh’s Barcelona move in the summer and could have been broken again in January.

However, you then have to ask if the already clear disparity between the “top” clubs and everyone else in the WSL will only widen as fees increase. The large offers for the players already mentioned – and explored in more detail below – are among the three clubs at the top of the table.

Aston Villa's Lucy Staniforth in action vs Spurs
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Lucy Staniforth joined Aston Villa from Man Utd earlier in January

It is an issue that Man Utd manager Marc Skinner is wary of, saying after England’s move to Spurs: “Yes, it’s going to be a positive, but obviously when that happens there’s more expense that comes into it. You know, the clubs that can afford it can continue to grow, the clubs that can’t will have to find a different way.

“[But] the excitement around [England’s deal] just helps the fan base grow. It’s something to talk about. It helps our fans to grow, connect. I think [record fees] are going to keep going that way. It’s not going to stop now.”

Of course, there was movement between the other WSL clubs as well as bringing in talent from elsewhere, but for nowhere near the same fees. It may become harder for these clubs to navigate the transfer window as the money increases, and the league must be wary that some do not get left behind.

Days of selling to rivals are over

Arsenal's Katie McCabe during the UEFA Women's Champions League Group C match at Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Thursday October 27, 2022.
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Arsenal’s Katie McCabe was also the subject of a “substantial” bid for Chelsea in the January window

Chelsea wanted Katie McCabe from Arsenal. Arsenal wanted Alessia Russo from Manchester United.

Neither club had their wishes granted.

The value of winning competitions has never been higher, hence the intransigence of selling clubs when rival teams put bids in.

Yes, England, Jordan Nobbs and Lucy Staniforth were all granted moves so they can attempt to secure their World Cup places but these were also business decisions.

Tottenham and Aston Villa aren’t in contention to win the league yet so getting squad players off the wage bill to teams further down the division makes financial sense.

But clubs are now in a stronger financial position to reject the notion of making rivals stronger even when six-figure sums are offered.

This window feels like the first time that’s happened.

Why Aston Villa and Tottenham are the window winners

Spurs' Bethany England in action vs Aston Villa
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Bethany England moved from Chelsea to Spurs in a British record deal

While much of the January attention has been on those teams challenging for the WSL title, it is in fact two teams hoping to push into the top three places that have arguably done the best business this window.

Let’s start with Rehanne Skinner’s Tottenham – their purchase of England broke the British record for a player, and they also landed 2011 World Cup winner Mana Iwabuchi on loan from Arsenal.

Two players with international and WSL pedigree, plus more importantly the ability to score and create goals. Tottenham have scored the third lowest number of goals in the WSL this season (12), and both players have already scored since their arrival.

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Carla Ward says new signings Jordan Nobbs and Lucy Staniforth are helping Aston Villa look like a new and improved team after they drew with Manchester City

But Spurs were trumped by Aston Villa’s January business.

After a complete summer overhaul – including the surprise arrival of Rachel Daly from Houston Dash – Villa have continued to add vast amounts of experience to their ranks. Nobbs left Arsenal for the Midlands club, while Lucy Staniforth joined on a free transfer.

The influence of such talent is already clear to see. They have beaten Tottenham and drawn with Manchester City since the WSL returned after the winter break, and look a force to be reckoned with this season.

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Highlights of the Women’s Super League match between Manchester City and Aston Villa

Both Aston Villa and Spurs have proven to be shrewd in the transfer market, with a strategy to rival that of the biggest clubs. The players themselves too are not afraid to make moves away from the perceived “bigger clubs” to achieve their personal ambitions. No longer are the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City the only draws in the WSL.

The last window before the World Cup – who will stake a claim?

Mana Iwabuchi will be hoping to make Japan's World Cup squad this summer
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Mana Iwabuchi will be hoping to make Japan’s World Cup squad this summer

Perhaps the most pertinent reason for the players above to have moved – and plenty more besides across women’s football – is the upcoming Women’s World Cup this summer, now only five-and-a-half months away.

England, Nobbs and Staniforth will surely be eyeing a spot in Sarina Wiegman’s England squad. For Euro 2022, Staniforth was named in the initial 28-player team, but a season blighted by injuries saw her miss out on a place in the final 23-player squad.

Nobbs found herself injured once again while England, although part of the squad, only played a few minutes. With the likes of Ebony Salmon, Lauren James and, surprisingly, Daly now eyeing places up front, England must be at her best to make it into the final World Cup squad.

Iwabuchi too, while a seasoned international, will want to keep her fitness up ahead of the tournament in Australia and New Zealand. Japan will be one of the favourites in Group C, along with Spain, Costa Rica and Zambia.

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Brendan Lawlor: G4D Open is ‘great news’ for golfers with disabilities | Golf News

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The G4D Open will take place over 54 holes on the Duchess course at Woburn, Bedfordshire on May 10-12, with 80 eligible players taking part; the new tournament will be staged in partnership with the DP World Tour.

Last Updated: 01/02/23 12:54pm

Brendan Lawlor said the tournament will be "unbelievable"

Brendan Lawlor said the tournament will be “unbelievable”

Brendan Lawlor has hailed the launch of The G4D Open as “great news” for golfers with disabilities.

Up to 80 players will compete in the inaugural event over 54 holes on the Duchess course at Woburn, Bedfordshire on May 10-12, in an event that will be staged in partnership with the DP World Tour

World No 2 Lawlor said: “It’s unbelievable. It’s great news for golf and hopefully more history will be created that week. It’s not just about competing in the event and winning, it’s also about etching your name in the history books.

“We’ve done that a few times as golfers, including when I became the first player with a disability to play on the European Challenge Tour in 2019 and the DP World Tour in 2020, which were big milestones.

“To win this new championship would be just as big in my eyes.”

The events has been launched by the R&A, a leading body in golf, and its chief executive Martin Slumbers added: s
added: “We have established The G4D Open to provide a world-class stage for the very best golfers with disabilities to compete against each other and realise their ambitions at an elite level of the sport.

“The World Health Organisation states that one in six people has a disability and so we want to show that golf is open to everyone regardless of ability.

“We can do this by celebrating the exceptional skills of golfers who as role models will inspire more men, women and young people to take up the sport through their achievements on the course.”

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