We hope you enjoyed the 2013 Touch Football Australia X-Blades National Touch League. If you would like to pass on some feedback of your experience, you can do so through the Destination NSW survey which can be accessed from –http://ensw.customerdirect.com.au/ensw/start.aspx?meetingid=3094By completing the survey, you also go into the draw to win some X-Blades Boots with Terms and Conditions available from –http://ensw.customerdirect.com.au/ENSW/2013/Regional/NTL/Resources/tc.htm A Touch Football Australia survey which will go further into some event logistics will be sent out towards the end of the week. Related LinksNTL Survey
“Over the past decade colleges and universities of all stripes have struggled with a truly stunning national decline in alumni participation rates: More than a third fewer alumni make a gift of any size to their alma mater today compared with alumni 10+ years ago.”—Cara Quackenbush of EduventuresThe cost of college, the rise in student loan debt, a weak economy, and uncertain job prospects have all contributed to the rapid decline in alumni giving.These are issues that advancement offices can’t control. But there are many factors that drive participation and giving that ARE in the hands of Higher Ed advancement pros and marketers. The fix for declining Higher Ed participation rates is a reinvention of the Annual Fund.Think (and act) like a Crowdfunder The most exciting evolution of the giving economy in the past ten years is Crowdfunding. And Higher Ed is just arriving at the party.Crowdfunding sits at the intersection between communities, online, social, and giving. It is more than just a strategy for one-off projects; it should be a core strategy for annual giving. According to Andrew Gossen, Senior Director for Social Media Strategy at Cornell, “Crowdfunding is far more than just a tool for raising money online. It’s also a means of driving participation, teaching a culture of philanthropy, communicating effectively, mobilizing constituents’ networks on behalf of the institution, building and cultivating a donor pipeline, and a fantastic mode of stewardship.”So, how can you take advantage of this new way of looking at your annual annual fund? I recently presented some ideas with Dayna Carpenter of University of Maryland Baltimore County during this year’s eduWeb conference. Download the presentation for more inspiration for transforming your alumni giving program.
Why Social Proof Is an Important Part of Your Fundraising WebsiteIt’s human nature to pay attention to what other people are doing, and to be influenced by what we see. Visitors will trust your fundraising website much more, and therefore donate more, if they see that people they know trust you.What Is Social Proof?“Social proof” refers to information that people accept as valid because it comes from friends, family or peers. (This includes those who are perceived as peers, though another person might not recognize them that way. For example, a 59-year-old baseball fan would likely consider a 21-year old baseball expert a peer in matters related to their favorite sport, and be strongly influenced by his opinions, even though he would not ordinarily consider someone of such a different age a “peer.”)Providing social proof is very important for online fundraising because social cues influence how your donors perceive your organization, and that will affect how generously they give.Social Proof Builds CredibilityIn the virtual world, anyone can literally publish any claim. It is when we see the social proof that we believe it. You can tell the world that you are the most trusted organization in your field, but it’s meaningless to readers. On the other hand, when someone they know personally, or respect as a professional or celebrity, endorses you, readers will immediately believe that you are indeed a trustworthy organization.A high rating or seal from a group like Charity Navigator or GuideStar also has tremendous value for your organization because people accept it as proof that your nonprofit has been examined by experts, and is up to their standards.Prove You Are the Winning Team with Social ProofDonors want to feel like they are on the winning team. Showing that you are making progress, and that their peers are supporting you, helps instill that feeling. Once you have made some good progress toward your online fundraising goal, add a graphic to your nonprofit donation software that shows the degree of success you have accomplished. Thermometers are often used for this, but a project-related image could be used and shaded similarly to customize the image.Be careful not to put it up too soon, however. Publicizing the numbers showing you have made very little progress could have the opposite of the intended effect, and make people think the project is already a failure, so donating would be a waste of money.When you have numbers showing a good amount of money received, or that a decent number of people have contributed to your cause, then you are ready to share that information, and the social proof will inspire increased donations.Since 2001, Network for Good has helped over 100,000 nonprofit organizations raise more than $1 billion online. To discuss how we can help you get the most out of your fundraising efforts, contact us via our website or call 1-888-284-7978 x1.
Share this: How can we ensure every woman’s right to respectful maternity care?Join the conversation on International Day of Action for Women’s Health using #May28 and #WomensHealthMatters. ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on May 27, 2016May 24, 2018By: Kayla McGowan, Project Coordinator, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)As we celebrate International Day of Action for Women’s Health on 28 May, we reflect on the physical, emotional and psychosocial dimensions of women’s health as well as the reasons to support girls’ and women’s health throughout the lifecycle. With Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 calling for an end to all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere, the elimination of all violence against women and girls and universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights by 2030, now is the time to draw attention to the many elements of and impediments to women’s health and rights.One often underrecognized and overlooked threat to women’s health and rights to respectful maternity care is obstetric violence: any violation, dehumanization, abuse or threat to a woman’s autonomy during pregnancy, childbirth or the postpartum period. Negligence of a woman’s needs or pain during delivery, forced medical intervention and verbal abuse or discrimination all constitute obstetric violence. Unfortunately, this violation of human rights occurs in both public and private health settings and has maternal health implications ranging from psychological distress to trauma or even death. Furthermore, disrespectful maternity care is a significant barrier to women seeking care in formal health facilities.To learn more about this practice and other forms of institutional violence, read and share the infographic below. Visit the International Day of Action for Women’s Health website for more resources and infographics on women’s health and rights (available in English, Spanish and French).
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on December 15, 2016December 19, 2017By: Kayla McGowan, Project Coordinator, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Last week, experts in maternal and reproductive health gathered at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. to discuss the latest data on maternal health in conflict and crises, identify policy and funding gaps and explore how to address maternal health challenges in these hard-to-reach areas. The dialogue, Closing the Gaps of Maternal Health in Conflict and Crises, was part of the Maternal Health Task Force’s Advancing Policy Dialogue on Maternal Health Series in partnership with the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) and the Wilson Center. The panelists offered a range of perspectives and recommended the following key actions to improve maternal health in humanitarian settings.Do not wait for perfect dataWhile maternal and newborn care should be grounded in high quality evidence, the humanitarian response must not be stalled as randomized control trials are conducted and studies are peer-reviewed. As Dr. Paul Spiegel, Director of the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, articulated, “There is not a one-size-fits-all response… We need to have principles, but they need to be applied differently according to context.” Using implementation science and operational research methods allow researchers and program implementers to utilize data from development settings and apply lessons learned to humanitarian settings. Spiegel called upon the global maternal health community to maximize existing evidence: “If we were all using similar case definitions, similar ways of collecting data—even if they are not the same instruments—we could do a lot more with what we have.”Support programmers in humanitarian settingsEchoing Spiegel’s urgent call to action, Massimo Diana, Representative for UNFPA in Syria, stressed that programmers in humanitarian settings need support operationalizing data to improve maternal and sexual and reproductive health care: “The scientific and expert community could help humanitarians find agile mechanisms for how data could be processed and fast assessment methodology.” While these methods may not be the strongest from a scientific perspective, they are “feasible, practical, adaptable and implementable on the ground.” According to Diana, the field must work together to explore how to leverage existing tools such as mobile technology to develop simple, effective strategies for collecting and interpreting data from various settings.Expand maternal newborn health careThe global capacity to address reproductive health issues in humanitarian crises has grown over the last decade, as illustrated by increased funding and uptake of the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP). However, according to the Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) on Reproductive Health in Crises’ 2012-2014 Global Evaluation, despite increased need, conflict-affected settings receive 57% less funding for reproductive health than non conflict-affected areas. Sandra Krause, Program Director of Reproductive Health at the Women’s Refugee Commission, explained that maternal newborn health funding is typically allocated to antenatal care, postnatal care and nutrition programs, while little is designated for emergency obstetric and newborn care, family planning and safe abortion care.Engage the private sectorJoy Marini, Executive Director of Global Community Impact, Maternal, Newborn, Child Health and Women and Girls at Johnson & Johnson, highlighted the important role that the private sector has in improving maternal and child health in fragile and conflict-affected states. To engage the private sector, Marini advised the maternal health community to look through a different lens: Key approaches include reminding stakeholders in the private sector that humanitarian settings are markets and emphasizing corporate social responsibility. When working with the private sector, however, programmers must expand timelines to allow for quality baseline data collection and collaborate with key stakeholders to ensure sustainability. As Marini articulated, programs built with local ownership and quality data from the beginning are more likely to be successful at scale.—Missed the dialogue?View the webcast and speaker presentationsCheck out the social media discussion below and join the conversation using #MHDialogue Photo Credit: Closing Gaps, courtesy of Lynae Bresser/Maternal Health Initiative at the Wilson CenterShare this:
While Reichard continues to rehab from his hip injury, the Crimson Tide are letting Joseph Bulovas kick in his place.Bulovas missed a short field goal attempt this past Saturday. He’ll have the remainder of this week to build up the coaching staff’s confidence in him.Saban said #Alabama is holding Will Reichard (hip) out this week, but the hope is he’s ready for next week’s game at Texas a&m.— Charlie Potter (@Charlie_Potter) October 2, 2019Unlike years past, the Crimson Tide haven’t had much success in the kicking game. Reichard was struggling prior to his injury.Reichard connected on 4-of-7 field goal tries and 21-of-22 extra point attempts so far this season.It’s likely that Saban provides another injury update on Reichard by Monday. If the freshman kicker isn’t practicing by the middle of next week, Alabama may have to rely on Bulovas when it faces Texas A&M. ATLANTA, GA – DECEMBER 31: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks on during warm ups prior to the 2016 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl against the Washington Huskies at the Georgia Dome on December 31, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)During Alabama’s victory over Ole Miss last weekend, Alabama kicker Will Reichard suffered a hip injury. On Thursday, Nick Saban had a promising update on his starting kicker.Fortunately for the Crimson Tide, the bye week came at an ideal time. Reichard has roughly two weeks to recover from his strained hip flexor.Saban announced this afternoon that Reichard will be out of practice this week. However, the hope is that he’ll be ready in time for next weekend’s game.Alabama has a tough road matchup coming up against Texas A&M.
Here are the details for the Michigan-Iowa game:Game Time: 12:00 p.m. ETChannel: FOXSpread: Michigan -3.5Over/Under: 47.5Announcers:Gus Johnson, Joel Klatt, Jenny TaftThis game could very well come down to whichever team has the ball last. After all, the betting line has this game decided by a field goal.In order to defeat the Hawkeyes on Saturday, the Wolverines need a strong performance from Shea Patterson. The senior quarterback hasn’t lived up to the expectations that were set for him heading into this season. IOWA CITY, IOWA- NOVEMBER 12: Linebacker Ben Gedeon #42 of the Michigan Wolverines makes a tackle during the first quarter on running back Akrum Wadley #25 of the Iowa Hawkeyes on November 12, 2016 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)One of the best games on this weekend’s schedule is an epic showdown between Big Ten programs. The Michigan Wolverines will host the Iowa Hawkeyes in arguably the top matchup that Week 6 has to offer.Michigan rebounded from its embarrassing loss to Wisconsin with an impressive victory over Rutgers. However, the team is still searching for a statement win this season.As for Iowa, Kirk Ferentz has led his squad to an impressive 4-0 start. The one downside for the Hawkeyes is that they haven’t faced a team with a winning record until now.Despite having the better overall ranking, the pressure won’t be on Iowa in this matchup. All the pressure will be on Jim Harbaugh to get his program back on the winning track.
Everyone talking about Lincoln Riley for Redskins. How about one of two coaches who helped Haskins throw 50 TDs at Ohio State last season – Urban Meyer or Ryan Day?— Andrew Perloff (@andrewperloff) October 7, 2019ESPN literally just said Ryan Day should take the Redskins coaching job. Why would he leave Ohio State, a successful program, for that joke of a franchise?😂😂😂— Cody Chalfan (@cachalfan) October 7, 2019[Related Article: 3 Head Coaches Named As Potential Replacements For Jay Gruden]As Perloff notes, Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley will likely be mentioned as well. But it’s hard to see him taking the job given the number of options he’ll have available after this season.It’s hard to see Day taking the job either – considering he’s been at Ohio State less than one year and has yet to really establish himself as a great college coach.As for Meyer, while he is currently available, he’s never really expressed interest in leading an NFL franchise. It still seems more likely that he’ll return to the college game in a year or two. COLUMBUS, OH – DECEMBER 04: Offensive coordinator Ryan Day of the Ohio State Buckeyes answers a question during a press conference at Ohio State University on December 4, 2018 in Columbus, Ohio. At the press conference head coach Urban Meyer announced his retirement and Day was announced as the next head coach. Meyer will continue to coach until after the Ohio State Buckeyes play in the Rose Bowl. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)The Washington Redskins fired head coach Jay Gruden on Monday morning – less than 24 hours after falling to the New England Patriots. Per usual, football fans and analysts around the country are already speculating who could take the job next.Two potential candidates being floated are current Ohio State head coach Ryan Day and former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer.ESPN’s Elle Duncan noted on Get Up! that Day could make some sense. Andrew Perloff of The Dan Patrick Show thinks that Day and Meyer should be considered.The obvious link here is that both coached quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who Washington drafted in the first round last year. The Redskins have only played Haskins in one game and it did not go well.
#LSU is a 14.5-point favorite right now against Florida, per @TwitVI. That is a crazy-high line.— Brody Miller (@BrodyAMiller) October 6, 2019The game will also be the fourth time in the last 20 years that both teams are ranked in the top 10. In each of the three prior matchups like this one, the higher-ranked team has won.To top it all off, College GameDay will be heading to Baton Rouge for the game. The crowd will likely be more electric for this game than any other they play at Tiger Stadium this season.The game will be played at 8:00 p.m. EST and will air on ESPN. BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA – AUGUST 31: Quarterback Joe Burrow #9 of the LSU Tigers warms up prior to the game against the Georgia Southern Eagles at Tiger Stadium on August 31, 2019 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images)Despite upsetting Auburn this past weekend, sports books don’t seem to be giving Florida any respect heading into Baton Rouge when they take on LSU.Heading into their Week 7 game, the LSU Tigers are a somewhat surprisingly heavy favorite to beat the Gators. According to The Athletic’s Brody Miller, the current betting line is a whopping 14.5 points in favor of the Tigers.Granted, the game is being played at Tiger Stadium, where the Tigers have one of the best home field advantages in football. They’ve also won three of their last four home games against Florida.Then there’s also the matter of the uncertainty surrounding Florida’s quarterback situation. Kyle Trask was already the backup, filling in for an injured Feleipe Franks. But Trask hurt his knee against Auburn, and he could be hobbled heading into Baton Rouge.
Marcos Rojo is ready to push for a January move away from Manchester United if required, with a mooted summer switch to Everton having failed to materialise.Having slipped down the pecking order at Old Trafford, it was expected that the Argentina international would be among those offloaded by the Red Devils in the last transfer window.Premier League rivals at Goodison Park were prepared to offer the South American a fresh start in English football, but no deal was done, with Rojo figuring prominently under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in pre-season. Article continues below Editors’ Picks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream He has since fallen back behind the likes of Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof, and is aware that he needs to find regular football in order to cement a standing back in the plans of national team coach Lionel Scaloni.Rojo told Ole: “I talked to Scaloni, he told me that he was happy because in pre-season I had played many games, that I looked good and that’s why he called me, but that I had to play.“I’m sure that to play for the national team you have to play for your club, you have to always be there, and when you’re here, show why.”With it looking like game time may be limited again at United in 2019-20, Rojo concedes that he may have to force the issue when another window of opportunity presents itself in the New Year.The 29-year-old, who is capable of operating at centre-half or at left-back, added: “It’s difficult to leave when you are at such a big club.”I had the possibility of going to Everton, but due to the decisions of the club or the manager it wasn’t possible.“Now I have to fight until December and, if it doesn’t work out, I will try to leave.”The qualifiers and the Copa America are coming and I want to be part of that. I don’t want to be out again, I want to exhaust all the possibilities and compete to be here.”Everton boss Marco Silva admitted to the Liverpool Echo when the summer deadline passed that he had been hoping to get Rojo on board.He said: “I don’t like to go deeper into the deal and the business side of things. On the last day, he was one of the targets because the market is not so big at that moment and you don’t have big, big time to do it also.“At the end, and what I know through the feedback given to me, was that the clubs didn’t agree. This is what I know.“The player looks like he wants to come. I can’t 100% say he wanted to come but he looks like he wants to come but at the end the clubs didn’t agree.”The Toffees may get a second opportunity to pursue Rojo in 2020, although United’s schedule is about to be stepped up and the South American could get outings across Premier League, Carabao Cup and Europa League competition.
Being a professional footballer is the dream job for many and it’s easy to see why. After all, it offers one the chance to become a millionaire by playing a game they love.Not only that, but those who excel in the sport are, more often than not, revered and their legacies resonate for years, decades even.However, it is an incredibly competitive industry, which demands dedication, consistency and sacrifice. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream Time for another transfer? Giroud’s Chelsea spell set to end like his Arsenal career Indeed, as Michael Calvin, author of the book No Hunger in Paradise , has noted, the numbers when it comes to people making it as professionals are “really sobering”.”Out of all the boys who enter an academy at the age of nine, less than half of one per cent make it. Or a make a living from the game either,” Calvin told Business Insider .”The most damning statistic of all is only 180 of the 1.5 million players who are playing organised youth football in England at any one time will make it as a Premier League pro.”So how exactly do you become a professional footballer? Goal brings you some tips that may help on your path to becoming a pro. Start young Join a team Work hard & be willing to sacrifice Healthy diet & smart exercise Create a football CV Find an agent Trials Look for college scholarships Keep working hard Should I start football young?While it is not absolutely necessary to start playing football at a young age in order to make it as a professional, it definitely helps.Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers centres around the idea of ‘the 10,000-Hour Rule’ – that is, the period of practice needed in order to master skills – and it is true that developing world-class ability takes time.If you have had 10 years of deliberate practice or coaching from the age of seven or eight, the chances are you will be well equipped with the skills and knowledge base required to succeed in football.There is a reason why youth academies such as La Masia exist – they attempt to facilitate meaningful development of young players in order to help them reach an elite level of performance by the time they are adults.Of course, there are a number of examples of footballers who matured at a different stage in life or took a circuitous route to the top – so don’t worry if you’re a bit late to the game.Return to top Should I join a football team?Football is a team sport so it is crucial that you join a team in order to play and learn the game.You need to be playing games regularly throughout your development in order to increase your visibility to scouts.And don’t be afraid to change teams either. It is noble to stay loyal to a local team, but it is no good to you as an individual if they don’t have good coaching or play to a high level.If you want to make it as a professional, you must be willing to seek out the best environment for your talents to prosper.Return to top Will it involve sacrifice?Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo, widely recognised as one of the greatest footballers of all time believes that while talent is important, “it is not the key point” in making it and he’s right.Aspiring footballers must be willing to put in the work and that means applying themselves diligently to their craft, showing up on time to training, sometimes staying longer to hone the weaker parts of their game.When you see Lionel Messi send a free kick into the top corner, it may seem like he just showed up and produced the magic, but, make no mistake, it is the product of countless hours of practice.It may seem like an oxymoron to some, but putting in the work should also be an enjoyable enterprise, as Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne has stressed.When asked by Copa 90 for advice he would give to younger players, the Belgium international said: “The main thing is to have fun as a kid. I still enjoy my football, even if it’s a job.”That’s a sentiment David Beckham agrees with, but the former England and Manchester United captain suggests it is more important to have dedication and remain focused.So, while you should have fun on your journey, endeavour to make choices that will serve you well on the track to the top.”When I sit with kids and they say ‘how can we be professional footballers?’ the one thing I always say to them is, ‘you have to enjoy yourself. You have to have fun playing football if you want to be a footballer,” Beckham said at an Adidas promotional event in 2015.”More importantly you have to be dedicated – you have to make sacrifices, that’s one of the most important things for me.”As a young kid living in London, you have friends going out on a Friday night. But I made the sacrifice of staying in watching Match of the Day on a Saturday evening and when I had a game on Sunday I went to bed early.”Return to top How important are healthy diet & exercise?Professional footballers are athletes and in order to reach that physical level one must eat a healthy diet and exercise.They expend a lot of energy in training and matches, so the key is to find a happy nutritional balance in your meals, which means getting enough protein and carbohydrates, as well as fluids.Messi, for example, follows a strict diet which includes plenty of water, fish, whole grain foods, fresh fruit and vegetables. Ronaldo, likewise, incorporates foods such as fish and eggs into his diet.Naturally, if you want to make it as a professional footballer, it is not advisable to eat junk food or a lot of sugary treats.”A good workout must be combined with a good diet,” Ronaldo says. “I eat a high protein diet, with lots of wholegrain carbs, fruit and vegetables, and avoid sugary foods.”Exercise plans should be tailored to each individual and they will be different depending on your age, with your body going through natural changes during puberty.However, football is a sport of endurance which incorporates explosive elements, so it is always important to focus on certain areas.You should, at the very least, develop the fitness to last 90 minutes on a pitch, but ideally you’ll be able to last longer – in case of extra time!Cardiovascular exercises and high-intensity interval training – running, rowing and weight training – helps build up strength and endurance.Warming up with light jogging and stretches is advised before any session to reduce the risk of injury.You should also take care to maintain balance in your routines by ensuring you work on your upper body and lower body equally.Read more about Messi’s diet and exercise routine here. Read more about Ronaldo’s diet and exercise routine here. Return to top Should I create a football CV?Creating a resume of your positions, attributes, achievements and perhaps even visual highlights, if they exist, is a useful exercise in the pursuit of a career in football.Not only does it create a profile for scouts and potential employers, the practice also encourages you to reflect on yourself, which may help you identify your strengths and weaknesses.Think of the resume as a personal statement of who you are as a footballer and person, as well as the footballer you want to become. In that sense, you can use it as a goal-setting document.Return to top Should I get an agent?Football, as with many other jobs, relies heavily on networking and it helps when you have contacts within the game who may be able to lobby in your favour. That’s where agents come in .Agents have a wide-ranging role, but essentially their remit is to find suitable clubs for their clients and ensure they get a fair deal.In many cases, agents or agencies may approach a player seeking to represent them, but sometimes you may have to touch base first.National football associations usually publish lists of approved intermediaries, which should help players who hope to earn a contract with a club.You should do your research when looking for an agent – they are not always best friends with club officials or managers!Return to top Do I need to go on trials?Going on trial with a club can be one of the most pivotal experiences of an aspiring footballer’s career. It is a chance to show a prospective employer what you have to offer their team and potentially earn a contract.When you go on trial it is wise to treat it very seriously, demonstrating the characteristics that got you there in the first place, but also to try to enjoy it.Be respectful towards staff, coaches and fellow players then do your best in the training sessions and games.Former Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen says the key thing for trialists is to “make sure you do the basics right.” “Don’t be afraid to show initiative,” Meulensteen says. “But sometimes players try so hard that they make mistakes and it snowballs into a poor performance.”One thing you should be prepared for is the possibility that you will not be offered a contract with a club, something that former Tottenham player development coach Jon Goodman has emphasised.”You’ve got to have resilience, strength of character and adaptability,” Goodman said in an interview with Copa90 . “Thirty-five to 40 per cent [of trialists] will get a professional contract.”Even if a trial doesn’t result in the offer of a deal, aspiring footballers should not lose heart and try to learn how they can improve by asking questions.Return to top What about college scholarships?Another route that aspiring footballers can go down is that of earning a football scholarship at a university, which has the double benefit of allowing you to get a third-level education too.In the United States, college sport is a lot more closely intertwined with their professional equivalents and there is SuperDraft involving college soccer stars in Major League Soccer.The culture in the United Kingdom and Europe is somewhat different, but clubs do monitor university-level football and some universities have direct links with clubs.If things ultimately don’t work out on the football front, then you will have a degree and other options.Return to top Keep working hard – why?Yes, we’ve already touched upon the need to work hard, but this is probably the most important part of it all.Once you eventually become a professional footballer, the hard work doesn’t stop. It’s crucial that you do not take your eye off the proverbial ball.Keep working hard, keep looking after your body and enjoy it as much as you can.Return to top
Newcastle United have defended owner Mike Ashley in the wake of criticism from UK politician Jeremy Corbyn.Labour leader Corbyn singled out Ashley as one of many “bad owners” who “put their business interests ahead of everything else, marginalise supporters and even put the financial security of clubs at risk”.Corbyn was speaking to Labour supporters to outline his party’s commitment to banning zero-hour contracts and introducing a higher National Living Wage for staff at all Premier League clubs. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream Time for another transfer? Giroud’s Chelsea spell set to end like his Arsenal career Ashley has long been unpopular with Newcastle fans but, despite reports of interest from several prospective buyers in recent years, the club remains under his ownership.However, a statement released by Newcastle on Tuesday criticised Corbyn for voicing “damaging and misinformed opinions” about Ashley and his running of affairs at St James’ Park.”In overlooking existing governance and regulation, as well as the hugely positive impact Newcastle United and other professional clubs have in their communities, Mr Corbyn has demonstrated a surprising lack of knowledge about our national game,” the club said.”Financially, other than sums provided to the club on a short-term, interest-free basis and repaid to him as intended, we would like to make it clear that Mike Ashley has not taken a penny out of Newcastle United in interest, salary or dividend, as is customary at many clubs.”As stated on numerous occasions before, every penny Newcastle United has will continue to be available to it. In this financial year, the club will use an overdraft facility to manage its cashflow following a significant spend on talent in the summer. As a well-run, responsible club, that amount will be repaid in full and on time and our other regulatory obligations will be met.”We will not apologise for being financially sustainable, but we will push the boundaries of our budgets as far as possible to maximise the impact on the team.”We agree with Mr Corbyn that ‘a football club is more than just a club; it is an institution at the heart of our communities’.”That is why our vast work across the local community will continue, with Newcastle United Foundation providing services and support to tens of thousands of people in our region each year who truly need them.”Often, Newcastle United Foundation’s projects fill in significant gaps that the public sector sadly cannot stretch to, particularly at a time when government cuts are so prevalent.”We would like to invite Mr Corbyn to visit one of these initiatives to experience at first hand the incredible work that is being undertaken by the Foundation in our local community every day.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
German second-tier side St Pauli have released Cenk Sahin after the midfielder showed support for Turkey’s military operation in Syria on Instagram.The club launched an investigation after Sahin used the social media platform to support the armed offensive against Kurdish-held regions in Syria via a post that has since been deleted.Sahin received criticism for the post and St Pauli released a statement on Friday distancing themselves from it as it “is not compatible with the club’s values”. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream Time for another transfer? Giroud’s Chelsea spell set to end like his Arsenal career A club review has now been completed, with Sahin released.”The internal review of Cenk Sahin’s Instagram post on the deployment of the Turkish army in Syria has been completed. After further talks between club officials and the player, Cenk Sahin has been released from his training and playing duties with immediate effect,” a club statement read. “The prime factors in reaching the decisions were his repeated disregard for the club’s values and the need to protect the player.”After numerous discussions with fans, members and friends whose roots lie in Turkey, it has become clear to us that we cannot and should not attempt to gauge nuances in perceptions and attitudes from other cultural backgrounds in detail. That we reject acts of war is not open to doubt or discussion, however. These acts, and the expression of solidarity with them, run counter to the values of the club.”The existing contract will remain valid in the first instance. For the protection of all the parties involved, FC St. Pauli is granting Cenk Sahin permission to train with and play matches for other clubs.”The 2.Bundesliga side, who are fighting to win promotion back to the top flight after losing only two of their opening nine games of the season, have enjoyed a cult following the world over due to their overt left-wing political views, which first came to prominence in the 1980s.The club’s constitution has even been redrafted to take into account the social and political responsibility that are the guiding principles of the side, noting: “FC St. Pauli conveys a way of life and is a symbol of sporting authenticity. This allows people to identify with the club independently of any success it may achieve on the pitch.”
The picturesque ruggedness of Norway is just part of the appeal of what may arguably be one of the most beautiful countries on the planet. Nature is magnified with awe-inspiring Northern Light displays set against a backdrop comprised of magnificent mountains, fjords, islands, and coastline. Here are 10 reasons to visit Norway in 2019.The Northern LightsVincent Guth / UnsplashThe Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, is an otherworldly light show created when charged particles from the sun collide with gaseous particles within the Earth’s atmosphere. These auroral displays can be seen above the magnetic poles of both the northern and southern hemispheres. Variations in color are dependent on the type of gas particles that are colliding and the altitude at which these collisions are taking place. There are numerous locations around Norway to experience the show, including Tromsø, Lofoten Islands, Svalbard, and Kirkenes. Mid-September to late March offers the best chance of experiencing these ethereal, dancing lights.Lofoten IslandsThis may arguably be the most beautiful region in all of Norway. Small villages are scattered among the islands which are nestled above the Arctic Circle in the Norwegian Sea. As a result of the region’s diverse landscape, here you can hike, ski, kayak, fish, and surf (the area sports one of the world’s northernmost surf destinations). The area is also ideal for viewing the Northern Lights and, due to its northerly proximity, travelers can experience the midnight sun from late May until mid-July. The region is a goldmine for history buffs as the largest Viking longhouse (over 270 feet long) ever discovered has been reconstructed as a living museum.Pilgrim TrailNorway. Trondheim. Nidaros Cathedral AGF/Getty ImagesWhether you are seeking a physical, spiritual, or cultural journey, a trek along one of the seven approved routes to Nidaros (Trondheim Cathedral) may provide a unique opportunity to experience a Norway that is more than a thousand years in the making. Legend has it that the cathedral was built on the site of the burial location of the first king of Norway, Olav Haraldsson, who was killed in battle in 1030. Since 1032, pilgrims have followed the network of trails, known as St. Olav Ways, to honor the slain Viking (and Christian) king leading to the northernmost Gothic cathedral in Europe.TrondheimRiver Nidelva, Trondheim, Norway Ketkarn Sakultap/Getty ImagesThe country’s third-largest city is everything you would expect from this intimate Norwegian city. When King Olav Haraldsson was killed in battle, the slain Viking king’s body was transported to present-day Trondheim where he was buried near a spring. While work began in 1070, most of the oldest sections of this impressive Gothic cathedral date back to the mid-12th century. In addition to Nidaros Cathedral, the city is home to numerous other historic buildings. The historic wharves along the River Nidelva date back to the 18th century and are a reminder of the city’s importance as a merchant port. The coastal city is a food lovers paradise where locally brewed beers are paired with dishes prepared to specifically accompany a particular brew.SvalbardLongyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway Anjci/Getty ImagesLocated in the Arctic Ocean between Norway and the North Pole, Svalbard is actually a series of islands with a total population of around 3,000 (over 50 percent of those living in the Longyearbyen, the region’s largest settlement). Svalbard means “cold coasts,” though the archipelago has a relatively mild climate compared with other areas at the same latitude. While old mining towns along with evidence of the era still dot the landscape, about two-thirds of the area is now protected and is still a vital arctic wilderness for unique wildlife like an abundance of polar bears.GeirangerfjordKiszon Pascal/Getty ImagesFjords literally canvas the Norwegian landscape, but Geirangerfjord may be the most famous as well as the most spectacular. A succession of ice ages systematically carved out these deep fjords while shaping the mountains that flank them. This is an adventurer’s paradise with an abundance of activities, including hiking, kayaking, rafting, fishing, and cycling. Waterfalls cascade across the region and some of the most dramatic and famous of them include the Seven Sisters, Bridal Veil, and the Suitor. Getting to the region can be as much an adventure as the destination when you navigate the engineering marvel that is the Trollstigen mountain road.TromsøPete Rowbottom/Getty ImagesLocated 217 miles above the Arctic Circle, Tromsø is nicknamed the ‘Gateway to the Arctic’ due to its importance to trapping in the region in the early 1900s as well as being the launching point for Arctic expeditions. Tromsø is also the largest city in Northern Norway and may be one of the most accessible locations in the country to view the famed northern lights. While the region offers outdoor enthusiasts an array of activities including dog sledding, sea kayaking, whale watching, and hiking, the city his also a cultural gem. The Arctic Cathedral is an iconic landmark that is visible from many places around Tromsø. Additionally, there are an array of museums and the city sports the world’s northernmost botanical garden. The city also hosts the Tromsø International Film Festival and the Northern Lights Festival.RørosPatricia Hamilton/Getty ImagesDue to well preserved wooden buildings, this unique town and once vital mining region are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Founded in 1644, Røros has retained much of its original character and is one of the oldest towns of wooden buildings in Europe. The town is a living museum and visitors to the area can explore the historic town while visiting local artisans featuring handmade items from the region. The area is also known for its locally produced foods. The climate ensures that items grow slowly thus creating a distinctive flavor. OsloMorten Falch Sortland/Getty ImagesNo trip to Norway is complete without a visit to this capital city. Located between the Oslofjord and the Marka Forest, this metropolitan hub may be the jewel in the crown of Scandinavia. The city center is compact and easily navigable by foot, bicycle, or the public transportation system while providing an array of world-class museums, restaurants, and shopping opportunities. In addition to the iconic Opera House which is nestled along the waterfront, the city is home to other cultural institutions like the National Museum and the Munch Museum. Also, Oslo was recently named the European Green Capital for its dedication to conserving natural resources while working to improve its waterway network. The Norwegian CoastSteve Fleming/Getty ImagesWhile there are several companies that offer cruises up (and down) the scenic coast, Hurtigruten has been doing it for more than a century. Founded in 1893, the company was founded as a means of transporting goods, services, and people to the numerous coastal communities along the route between Bergen and Kirkenes. While still serving as a transport service, a Hurtigruten cruise makes the same stops along the route. Some are for just a matter of minutes while the crew unloads or loads more goods. Others are for up to four hours in length and allow for shore excursions to enjoy tours of historic cities like Trondheim, active adventures like sea kayaking and dog sledding, and midnight concerts at the Arctic Cathedral. 11 Under-the-Radar Cities in Canada Worth Exploring Editors’ Recommendations Get to Know Alto Adige, the Northern Italian Wine Region 14 Scandinavian Clothing Brands You Need to Know This Black Boathouse Is a Luxurious Retreat on a Small Island in Norway The Best Whiskey Quotes of All Time
Kentucky Breweries are Plowing Ahead on the Bourbon Trail The affordable Aussie wine brand 19 Crimes is taking a note from its inspirational old-world criminals (the wine labels are mugshots which you can interact with through an app) and breaking out of their vinicultural shackles to take on the craft beer market. Having served five years exclusively in the wine category, 19 Crimes will add an Indian Pale Ale, a Pilsner, and a Lager to its hit-list starting March 1.The inside job will take place in the U.S., with the beers first being tested in Ohio before expanding to more states during 2019.Ohio? Believe it or not, The Buckeye State has the 11th most craft breweries in the country at 225 and produces the fifth most barrels each year. So yeah, it’s safe to say Ohioians will give 19 Crimes new beer a heavy and honest taste. The state is also home to the first craft brewery hotel. (In-room taps: check.)19 Crimes“We know that our 19 Crimes wine lovers also highly index as consumers of craft beer,” says Michelle Terry, CMO of Treasury Wine Estates, a global winemaking business with nearly 50 vineyards under its umbrella, including 19 Crimes. “Our retailers and customers have been asking us to expand into other alcohol beverages.”The new Pilsner is brewed with an approachable medium-dry finish, while the India Pale Ale is more of a modern IPA with more complexity. The Lager is traditionally clean and crisp, “balancing bready malts with Old World and New World hop flavor,” says 19 Crimes.“We know that our 19 Crimes wine lovers also highly index as consumers of craft beer.”Sounds boozable, but there’s also something purely fun about having vintage mug shots on your liquor. 19 Crimes beers will rock kindred faces to the 19 Crimes wine convicts who were transported to Australia to serve hard time when the island wasn’t known for kangaroos and Bondi Beach but used as a jail for exiles.19 Crimes beer drinkers will meet John Boyle O’Reilly, an Irish-American poet and journalist charged for treason who later escaped Australia for America, Michael Harrington, notorious for orchestrating one of the most daring escapes from Australia that involved a massive typhoon and a rowboat, and Cornelius Dwyer Kane, a law clerk from Ireland who ended up digging the land down under despite being forbidden to return to Ireland, even after pardoned.These interesting folk are half the reason for drinking 19 Crimes. The augmented reality (AR) play used for the wine labels will also be available for the beer cans via the 19 Crimes’ Living Wine Label app. Basically, start drinking, open the app, set the camera to your beer label, and watch the mug shots come to life to tell their story.A six-pack is about the price of a bottle of wine, so pick your poison and prisoner. Smart Practices for Drinking With the Environment in Mind Getting to Know the Lithuanian Beer Scene Why You Should Give White Zinfandel a Chance (Again) Editors’ Recommendations Sip On the Original Stormtrooper Beer While You Wait for the Next Star Wars Movie
Avoya Travel Unveils Major Announcements at Innovation-Driven 2016 Annual Conference Leading travel network shares latest ground-breaking developments in technology, marketing and sales initiatives Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. – May 19, 2016 – Avoya Travel®, one of the world’s leading travel companies, held its Annual Conference on May 2-6, 2016 at Club Med Sandpiper Bay in Port St. Lucie, Florida. The action-packed event attracted Independent Agencies in the Avoya Travel Network, suppliers, industry leaders and for the first time ever, media attendees, from all over the country. Avoya executives took to the stage with major announcements as the company continues to rapidly enhance, evolve and expand its services and network of key partners, premier suppliers and high-earning Independent Agencies. Over 450 attendees experienced one of the most robust and news-driven conferences in Avoya’s history, getting the very first glimpse into the company’s latest revolutionary developments in technology, marketing, professional education and leadership. This year’s conference celebrated 2015 as the highest earning year to date for Avoya and Independent Agencies in the Avoya Network — with repeat customers up by 19% already in Q1 2016, as well as debuting more ground-breaking programs and enhancements to further increase the success of the Avoya Network and provide the best vacation planning experience for its customers. “The 2016 Avoya Travel Conference was a major success thanks to our Avoya team, suppliers, industry partners, media friends and of course, the vast Avoya Network of dedicated and successful Independent Agencies,” says Jeff Anderson, Executive Vice President of Avoya Travel. “Our goal this year was not only to connect, educate and inspire attendees, but to show our steadfast commitment to ensuring the success of Independent Agencies in the Avoya Travel Network and their businesses, which will always remain our utmost priority in everything we do under our over-arching philosophy of Integrity and Professionalism. We are extremely pleased with the positive reaction to the conference news announcements and the eagerness of the Independent Agencies in the Avoya Network to grow, learn and prosper with us in our Shared Success™ model.” As a prominent industry innovator, Avoya disclosed important announcements that keep the company ahead of its competition. Major news included:Partnership with the Priceline Partner Network Avoya announced that it has added the Priceline Partner Network, a business unit of priceline.com, to its already impressive roster of suppliers. Independent Agencies in the Avoya Network will be able to offer their customers air, car and hotel options as part of their services. Independent Agencies will have access to Priceline Partner Network’s vast database to offer the most enjoyable and stress-free vacation planning experience. These Avoya branded bookings will be fully integrated and powered by Avoya’s award-winning and patented agency operating system, Agent Power™. Avoya’s Agency Marketing Platform (AMP)Avoya unveiled a new marketing platform, AMP that will significantly amplify the marketing reach of Independent Agencies in the Avoya Network. Currently in its beta version, AMP will provide advanced marketing capability to Independent Agencies including personalized email, social media, and collateral features. The platform will assist Independent Agencies in driving incremental bookings and revenue with customers they already have. The new platform is slated to roll out in Q3 of this year and will initially be offered at no cost to members in the Avoya Network. Avoya’s Consumer Brand Platform Beyond The Web™Avoya continues to aggressively invest in their consumer-facing brand platform Beyond the Web™ as part of its ongoing effort to introduce consumers to a better way of planning and booking vacations. This includes finding innovative ways of reaching and engaging with consumers through the very latest marketing technologies and advancements. The next chapter for Beyond the Web will expand Avoya’s presence even further through a variety of exciting new strategic initiatives including one-to-one marketing, digital advertising, original content, social media, and industry co-operative partnerships. Agent Power™ 6Avoya’s Agent Power technology is the travel industry’s most comprehensive and cutting-edge operating system with booking engines, agency support resources, calendar, professional development programs and more. This year, Avoya is unveiling Agent Power 6 (AP6) which will include new enhancements to the already robust system, offering a sleeker and more responsive design for easy-to-navigate functionality and a faster user experience across all mobile platforms. Agent Power has been instrumental in the unparalleled success of Independent Agencies in the Avoya Network. The five-day Avoya Travel conference also included a partnership with Florida-based Hunger Fight in the spirit of giving back to the community. The organization donated 75,000 meals (with almost 50,000 packed by conference attendees) to help children and families in need. Avoya team members, Independent Agencies, suppliers, industry leaders and key press closed with the Chairman’s Cocktail Party & Dinner in honor of Avoya’s co-founders, Pat & Pal Anderson, to celebrate the Avoya Travel legacy and its exciting future. About Avoya TravelAvoya Travel has a long-standing reputation for being one of the world’s largest and most innovative travel companies. As an American Express Travel Representative for more than 25 years, Avoya is deeply committed to Integrity and Professionalism™, service, and value in every aspect of planning cruises and vacations. Through an elite network of independently owned and operated travel agencies, Avoya provides exclusive discounts, amenities, and first-class customer service to travelers worldwide. For this, Avoya has received numerous accolades, including being repeatedly named Travel Partner of the Year, by Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Carnival Cruises, American Express, Oceania Cruises, and more. Travel agency owners, travel professionals, and others interested in owning and operating their own travel business should contact Avoya Travel at 800-521-2597 or visit www.JoinAvoya.com. Travelers interested in booking their next vacation with Avoya Travel, should call 800-753-1463 or visit www.AvoyaTravel.com.
Travel Professional Name: Shawn PowerEmail Address: Shawn.Power@AvoyaNetwork.comAgency Name: Powerventures Travel Services Ltd., an Independent Agency in the Avoya Travel NetworkLocation: Langley, BCHost Agency Name: Avoya TravelYears as a Travel Professional: 10Specialization or Niche: Cruises (luxury, river and upper-premium) What led you to be a Travel Professional? I had a passion for travel and cruising and wanted to help others discover this great way of vacationing and seeing the world, which is why I decided to become a travel professional. Cruising has become my favorite way to experience the world and by combining my love for it with personal experience and first-hand knowledge of various cruise ships and ports-of-call, I’ve been able to own a rewarding and profitable business creating life-changing vacations for my clients. Did defining your Specialty or Niche increase your business? If so, how did you find your Niche? Defining my specialty has dramatically improved my business because it allows me to set myself apart from other travel professionals. I only sell cruises, and even though many people told me in the beginning that you have to sell everything, I discovered early on that I could be more successful selling the products I know inside out and love. This has allowed me to save time, be more efficient, and deliver the best vacation experiences possible to guests. What three things about working with your Host Agency has been the most useful and helpful? As an independent agency owner in the Avoya Network I’ve found Avoya Live Leads to be the most helpful with growing my business and taking it to the next level. In addition, Avoya’s relationship with suppliers has been a huge benefit because it allows me to provide travelers with exclusive deals and amenities that can’t be found anywhere else. Being a member of a host agency network allows me to thrive as a business owner because Avoya provides the support and resources that give me the opportunity to live a lifestyle of success. I also have the flexibility to work anywhere in the world, whenever I want. In fact, I travel three to four months out of the year while still running my business. What aspects of your Host Agency led you to your decision to join their programs? Live Leads is the number one reason I decided to join Avoya. Selling travel is more competitive than ever before and it can take a significant amount of time and resources to connect with new customers. I like that Avoya continues to invest in its marketing and technology so that travel professionals can continue to grow their businesses and turn Avoya Live Leads into lifetime customers. What advice would you offer to someone looking to work with a Host Agency? Before searching for a host agency, it’s important to know what support you need as a business owner and to ask good questions about the programs offered. Marketing for customers was the biggest challenge for me, and for many travel professionals. I made sure to look into each host agency’s lead program to determine if I was getting the best resources and support and Avoya had the best program I found for sending the most qualified new customer leads. Please share a couple of things have been the most important to your success so far? A few things have been important contributors to my success. First, I treat my business seriously and work with Integrity and Professionalism. I also have a passion for selling travel and knowing the ins and outs of the products I specialize in. Passion is what sells vacations, not brochures. Another reason I’m successful is because I have the freedom and flexibility to travel three to four months out of the year. This allows me to maintain a diverse portfolio of personal vacation experiences and expand my travel expertise. What are your plans to grow your business in the next year? Every year I travel and try to experience new products, destinations, and itineraries to help with booking new clients and providing my existing customers with new vacation ideas. I’ve already booked personal vacations for Tahiti, Egypt, and Europe. I’m also planning to grow my business with repeat and referral customers. I have a great repeat booking rate because I’m able to exceed my clients’ expectations and deliver an enjoyable and trusted vacation planning experience. Do you feel that getting yourself out there and traveling is important for your business? If so, how do you make yourself get out there and take those trips? Getting out there and traveling is not just important, it’s how I’ve built my business. As soon as I wake up I want to travel! That is how I get myself out there. Plus, the travel perks as an independent agency owner in the Avoya Network are great.
Written By: Geoff Millar, Owner, Ultimate All-Inclusive Travel Inc. This month we are going to do things a little differently. Instead of focusing on a large resort chain we are going to look at two individual resorts that have opened and appear to be the start of new very successful resort chains. The resorts are the new Xcaret Hotel/Resort and the new adult only Haven Resort. These are the first resorts in these 2 soon to be resort chains. They are both located in the Riviera Maya area of Mexico. The Xcaret Hotel is located inside the Xcaret Park, a very popular nature park and the Haven is located in the Riviera Maya area just south of the Moon Palace Complex, a short drive from the airport. We will first look at the Xcaret Hotel. This resort reflects a modern, Mayan, Mexican design both outside and inside. It is surrounded by the jungle of the fantastic Xcaret Park, incorporating local cenotes, rivers, and the ocean in its design. It is nice to see a new one of a kind resort and experience rise in a world of cookie cutter type resorts. Its acceptance by the public has been phenomenal and the resort is one of the hardest to book because it is continually sold out, especially during the high seasons. It also does something no other resort does. It includes unlimited entrance to 8 different ecological parks in the area including such well-known ones as Xcaret Park, Xel-Ha Park, and Xenotes Park. The resort has won the prestigious award, the earth check certification for sustainable architecture and building practices. Their buildings or Casas are each named after a natural element in the Mayan culture. It was very important to build a resort that was not only upscale and comfortable but also stayed true to nature and the Mayan culture. All these elements are showcased throughout the resort. I can say from personal experience that from all the clients we have booked at the resort we have never had a bad review of any of the elements of the resort. Even though it has only been open for just less than 2 years we have had numerous clients that have booked this resort more than once. I do have to say that if your clients are only going to a resort for the beach, this may not be the best one for them as the beach is nice but very small. The draw of the resort is the fact that there are so many different experiences here that the beach becomes only one of them. This resort has become so popular that there are now plans for 2 more of them. Accommodations range from Suite, what they call their standard room. They come with a king bed or two double beds and a pull out sofa. They have a garden view, but it is a great one, an Ocean view, and Ocean front. They allow 2 adults and 2 kids or 3 adults. All Suites have a hammock on the patio. Next is the Jr. Suite level. These are 1,350 sq. ft Suites with a separate bedroom. They come with butler service and sleep 2 adults and 2 children or 3 adults. These come with garden or river view. Next is the Adult only Jr. Suite. These are Ocean Front and can sleep up to 3 adults. These also come with Butler Service. They have a Jr. Suite Spa room. It is identical to the other Jr. Suites but comes with a 50 minute spa treatment for 2, minimum 3 night stay. These are also adult only and can sleep up to 3 adults. The next Suite level is the Swim-up Suite which is the standard room with pool entry from your patio. These rooms are the same size and layout as the standard Suites. They hold 2 adults and 2 children or 3 adults. There are swim-up garden view and Swim-up ocean front. The last category is the Master Suites They are made of the adult only Presidential Suites, the Presidential Family Suites, and the Family Master Suites. The adult only Presidential Suites are 2,476 sq. ft with 2 bedrooms and a sleeper sofa. It will hold 5 people. It has a private pool and butler service and spa treatments for 2 people. These are Ocean Front. The Presidential Family Suites are 1.356 sq. ft with 2 bedrooms, a private pool and butler service. They hold 5 adults, 2 adults and 3 children, or 1 adult and 4 children. They come with spa treatments for 2 people. The last Master Suite is the Family Master Suite. They are 2,476 sq. ft. with 2 bedrooms and a sleeper sofa. They have a pool view. They sleep 5 adults, 2 adults and 3 children, 1 adult and 4 children. They come with spa treatments for 2 people. Dining offers 10 different choices ranging from 2 Mexican A La Carte restaurants, a French restaurant, a buffet, a tasting menu, Asian, Mediterranean, a Grill, Vegan & Vegetarian. There are 8 bars from the Lobby bar and Swim-up bar, to the Roof-top bar and the Spa bar. You can make reservations ahead of time, even when you book. Activities are the name of the game at this resort. They call it their All-Fun inclusive with unlimited entry to 8 eco parks in the area including transportation. These parks include, snorkeling, zip lining, ATV tours, Biking, swimming, underground rivers, Jet boats, A Mayan Village, Nighttime activities such as zip-lining, ATV riding along torch lit paths, and even a show and dinner along a river on a Gondola. There is swimming in a Cenote. Some of the parks require reservations which can be made ahead of time. At the resort, there is a great kid’s club for kids 4-12, a ton of pools, a river, and a beach on the ocean. You can paddleboard, kayak, there is tennis and paddleboard. There is a great Spa with a wide variety of treatments. You can get your exercise in at the fully stocked gym. This resort is a great fit for the active family or the active couple. It is a very nice upscale resort with a price that fits that market. If someone just wants to go and lie on the beach, this may not be the best fit. It is for that client that wants luxury, great food, and all the activities they can handle. The next resort we will look at is the new Haven Adult only Resort. This resort was opened toward the end of 2018. As with most new resorts it went through some growing pains and the reviews tended to be mixed. As they got over the learning curve, they now have their act together and the reviews are becoming overwhelmingly positive. This resort is at the luxury level and as we were told by the management they were shooting for the same ratings as the Grand Velas Resorts which have a AAA 5 diamond rating. When we visited the resort was just finishing construction and was in the soft opening mode. We were struck by the understated but luxurious look of the resort and how they really took the little details seriously. We all know how some resorts look great on the surface but when you dig down and really look at all the small details, they tend to fall short. Not here. We have had a number of clients return from the resort recently and all have glowing reviews especially about the level and quality of the service. Two comments stood out from one particular client who is a well-seasoned traveler. He stated that while at dinner they timed the waiter on the amount if time it took him to fill their empty water glass without being asked. He said it was only seconds. He also said they were sitting by the pool drinking wine and their glasses were filled for them without even asking. They also said there were enough lounges by the pool that they did not have to get up early to reserve one. They said the food was some of the best they had ever had. You get the idea; this resort is all about luxury and service. There was one thing they mentioned, it was that if we had clients who were really into being active this may not be the best resort for them, it is more about relaxing and romance. The beach is decent but certainly not the best beach in the Riviera Maya. Their next resort is already planned, it will be an upscale Family resort in the same area. It will provide a complex where destination weddings can take place and accommodations will be available for all guests, family or adult only. Accommodations consist of all Jr. suites with Jr. Suites with Garden View 452 sq. ft., Partial Ocean View 524 sq. ft. The next level is the Swim-out Jr. Suites with Garden View 452 sq. ft. or partial ocean view 524 sq. ft. There are also Romance Jr. Suites 524 sq. ft. with partial ocean view and swim-out with partial ocean view. Right now, all rooms only come with King beds, so it is considered a Couples only resort. They are looking to provide double beds in some of the lower categories. The highest level rooms are the Serenity Club Jr. Suites, this is the resorts concierge level with a whole host of additional amenities including:Stunning ocean front location and viewsExclusive Check-in areaButler serviceLuxurious King bed with a premium pillow menu and sleep-well kitDaily stocked personalized premium mini barAccess to the exclusive Serenity Club Lounge, offering premium wines, spirits and various finger food presentations throughout the dayPremium aromatherapy menu for personal wellness and serenity and Haven signature toiletriesDaily exclusive a la carte breakfast option served overlooking the ocean or poolInvitation-only weekly manager’s cocktail receptionSpecial VIP treats delivered nightly from the Managing Director10% discount on Spa treatments, room upgrades, early check in and late check out Your daily local newspaperSecluded beach area with beach butler serviceAdditional complimentary green fees at El Tinto golf course nearbyComplimentary access to the water journey experience and dynamic pool circuit Dining at the resort offers a wide variety of choices with 6 restaurants and a snack bar. The choices are Mexican, Steakhouse, Mediterranean, an upscale buffet area, Basque, Asian, and a swim-up snack bar as well as 2 other snack bars. As far as drinking, all drinks are top shelf. There are 7 bars including a swim-up bar, as well as beach and pool service. There is 24 hour room service available. Activities at the resort in include 3 pools including a large beach entry pool. Cooking classes, mixology classes, beach volleyball, Scuba lessons, Yoga, a fantastic spa, nightly entertainment, golf with greens fees included if guests are in the Serenity Club level, and a great wedding dept. This resort would be great for those that want an upscale romantic or relaxing vacation or get-away with some activities. It may not be the best resort for those who want a very active vacation or getaway. Also, may not be the best for pure beach lovers.