Ighalo: My best moment as ‘Red Devil’

first_imgRelatedPosts EPL: Crystal Palace stun sloppy Man U EPL: Red Devils attack Palace Ings not interested in leaving Saints, Southampton manager says Odion Ighalo has revealed that his first goal for Manchester United has been the highlight of his stay at the club so far.Ighalo arrived at Old Trafford on January deadline day on a six-month loan deal, as United’s desperate search for a striker saw a move for Bournemouth’s Joshua King blocked by the Cherries. United received a fair amount of criticism for signing a striker who had spent the previous three years in China but the Nigerian soon started to prove the doubters wrong.Ighalo has scored five goals, and grabbed an assist, in just five starts for the club, with his first goal coming in the Europa League against Club Brugge.The goal may have only been a simple tap-in from six yards after Juan Mata had put the ball on a plate, but it holds a special place in Ighalo’s heart.“My favourite moment is when I scored my first goal for Manchester United,” he told the BBC.“I was the first Nigerian to play for Manchester United, the first Nigerian to score for Manchester United. “I could not sleep in the night, waking up, checking my phone messages from all over the world from friends and family and all that.“It means a lot to me.”It looked as if Ighalo’s dream move to the team he supported growing up was going to be cut cruelly short when the season was curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, as his loan was set to expire before the campaign could be finished.However, United managed to strike a deal with his parent club, Shanghai Shenhua, to extend his loan until January 2021.Ighalo says that he is going to give everything he has to United until it’s time for him to leave. “That energy, that positivity, that happiness, never change,” he added. “You can see that smile on my face every time I go in there.“It’s not every man’s dream that comes to pass, well mine did. My kids will grow up and see that I played for a team that I supported from when I was young, I cried when they lose and all of that.“I want to keep doing what I need to do until the last day that I play for the club.”Tags: Europa LeagueManchester UnitedOdion IghaloPremier LeagueRed Devilslast_img read more

At Buffalo, Katie Kolinski takes a step toward her coaching dream

first_img Published on February 12, 2019 at 11:48 pm Contact Matthew: [email protected] | @MatthewGut21 Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments UPDATED: Feb. 13, 2019 at 3:31 p.m.BUFFALO — It’s 11:27 a.m. on Jan. 16 and Katie Kolinski had a lot on her mind. She walked through the sliding doors into Wegmans on Transit Road, grabbed a shopping cart and rehearsed her list: oranges, juice boxes, water bottles. At the front of the store, she stopped at a small mountain of orange crates, scanned a few options and lifted one that looked good.“I wear a lot of hats in this job,” she said. She drove her cart into the produce section. “This is where I play manager.”Kolinski, the director of operations for Buffalo women’s basketball, does a little bit of everything. From the team bench, she dishes out snippets to players during games. She can’t run drills in practice, due to NCAA rules, but she watches closely and relays her encouragement to players. She participates during coaches meetings, with a close eye on UB head coach Felisha Legette-Jack, a former Syracuse star. She sets up team meals, plans bus rides and books the team hotel. And occasionally makes Wegmans runs.She served as an SU student manager for four years, and she was the first woman head manager in Syracuse men’s basketball history. She became SU’s first woman graduate assistant for the men’s team, a role she filled from 2016-18. Last spring, Kolinski completed her sixth season at SU and earned her master’s degree from the School of Education.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut then she needed a job. She applied to a number of Division I programs, and three women’s programs interviewed her for assistant coaching gigs. She was rejected by all three. Last summer, she got a chance at UB, and the person who legendary head coach Nancy Lieberman called “a damn good coach” took a step toward her coaching dream.“I love being here with coach Jack and the program,” Kolinski said in her office last month. “I see little things in how a program runs that could help me be a coach, because I’ve gotten to the point in life where I just want to coach. Being away from the court for a year, I’m really itching to be on that court.”Growing up in the West Genesee Central School District, Kolinski was a varsity guard and 3-point shooter. She considered playing at a community college or walking on at SU, but she decided to try to join Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim’s program. As a timid freshman at SU, she applied to be a student manager. Kolinski was one of a few selected that year and fell in love with working out players, rebounding and gathering towels.After hanging around Syracuse practices long enough, then-Syracuse associate head coach Mike Hopkins one day told her that she’d be a great coach one day. He urged her to coach anywhere, regardless of the level. He also reflected on his early years, when he started out as an SU assistant coach earning $15,000 per year while living in a fraternity house. His message to her: ascension in coaching takes time.“Hop helped me find my way,” Kolinski said. “When he could tell I was having a bad day, he’d say, ‘Katie, suck it up, your energy matters every day!’ He gave me a lot of confidence in myself.” At the forefront of her dream is a focus on developing players into the best they can be. SU assistant coach Gerry McNamara said she held her own with the SU bigs, pushing them with training pads. She didn’t relent in post drills against players who stood more than a foot taller.But her ability to elevate the mood of a locker room may be greater. Junior shooting guard Tyus Battle noted her positivity as her defining characteristic: She’d tap players on the shoulder after a bad game or text them the next morning asking to work out.Former Syracuse women’s basketball star Brittney Sykes, now with the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, loved training with Kolinski. Even while a SU student manager, Kolinski made time to train players on the women’s team. She picked up Sykes from her apartment and rebounded for her. Kolinski helped tweak her shot through form shooting drills. “You got this! Come on!” she urged Sykes, who said she wants Kolinski to coach her children.“She can connect with players in a way coaches can’t,” said Syracuse senior point guard Frank Howard. “It’s different when it’s coming from a female. You’re more open to listening. You also listen because she knows the game. There’s no doubt in my mind Katie will be successful, because she’s too genuine. What she says comes from a good place.”Kolinski placed a bobblehead of Breanna Stewart, the 2016 WNBA Rookie of the Year, beside her computer. In Syracuse, she’s worked out the four-time college national champion. “Sum it Up: A Thousand and Ninety-Eight Victories, a Couple of Irrelevant Losses, and a Life in Perspective,” a book by legendary basketball coach Pat Summitt, and a Syracuse Final Four ring sit on her shelf. A picture of Kolinski with SU players Michael Gbinije, Tyler Roberson and Paschal Chukwu hangs on the wall.Among Kolinski’s other mentors are some of the biggest names in the game: Boeheim — who said she “worked as hard as anybody here” — plus Lieberman, Stewart and Becky Hammon, the NBA’s first female assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs. When Kolinski reached out to Hammon, she encouraged her to spend long hours in the film room and try to get a job in the NBA’s developmental league.“There’s no skipping steps to move up, it’s a super competitive field,” Hammon wrote to Kolinski. “You have to be persistent, determined, resilient, and have a great way about you with the players. At the end of the day, a player vouching for you is a strong testament to your work. Blessings, Coach Hammon.”Kolinski knows the odds are stacked up against her. But her goal isn’t to prove that women can thrive in male-dominated positions. Her quest isn’t about making money or obtaining the prestige of well-known names in basketball. It’s about defining herself in the game she’s devoted her life to.Every day in her office, Kolinski sees a signed basketball from Lieberman, the Hall of Famer who’s broken convention as a player and a coach — the first female head coach in the NBA’s development league and the second female assistant coach in the NBA. The ball reads: “Katie — a future head B-Ball coach. Many blessings, Nancy.”“A lot of people said I couldn’t be the first female head manager at Syracuse or the first female Syracuse grad assistant,” Kolinski said. “I’ve made my own path.”CLARIFICATION: In a previous version of this post, the information Katie Kolinski relayed to the players was unclear. She only communicates encouragement.last_img read more