“It’s going to be a massive start isn’t it?” an excitable Jackie Groenen, one of Manchester United’s summer signings, told the Guardian this week, her interview making up just one of the huge FA Women’s Super League pull-out previews in this weekend’s national papers.And when a player like Groenen – who has a Euro 2017 winners’ medal, has played in huge UEFA Women’s Champions League fixtures for Bayern Munich and also featured in this summer’s World Cup final for the Netherlands as they lost to the USA – says a game is massive, you know it’s massive.For the teams, the opening weekend of the season is all about making a statement of your intent for on-field success. 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 While for some time they struggled to do so, Manchester City did that at the Etihad as they hosted rivals United in the WSL’s first ever Manchester derby, defeating them 1-0 thanks to a sublime second half strike from Caroline Weir.But Saturday was, most importantly, a statement of intent from the FA themselves.For years, the FA have pondered how best to market the women’s game in England.When the Lionesses finished third at the 2015 Women’s World Cup, the interest was clearly there, with the BBC claiming that 11.9 million viewers watched some part of their journey.This summer, that interest was even greater, with 11.7 million viewers tuning in just for England’s 2-1 defeat to the USA in the semi-finals. There could not have been greater pressure on the FA to capitalise on the momentum.But capitalise they did. Days after the Lionesses returned home from France, it was announced that launch of the FA Women’s Super League, boasting a new name after Barclays agreed a £10 million ($12.3m) deal to be the title sponsor, would coincide with the men’s international break.It’s opening fixtures were just as exciting: two London derbies on tomorrow’s agenda, with Arsenal hosting West Ham and Chelsea and Tottenham playing at Stamford Bridge, but Saturday was the main course.An attendance of over 20,000 was expected in the north west, set to smash the previous WSL record of 5,265, achieved by Brighton when they hosted Arsenal at the Amex back in April.By the time kick-off rolled around, some 31,213 filled the bottom and middle tiers of the Etihad stadium, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer just one of many who turned up for the occasion.He will have been impressed with what he saw, too. While Solskjaer’s team are often criticised for their lacklustre approach to games, Casey Stoney’s side were by no means over-awed by the occasion that marked the club’s first ever WSL game.“It is all we have been talking about for three weeks: ‘Let’s smash City, get that out of the way’,” Groenen said before the game, tongue-in-cheek perhaps, but the attitude served United well as they created the better of the openings throughout the game.Jane Ross, a former Citizen herself, should have scored midway through the first half, though Ellie Roebuck pulled off a fantastic save – one that will have been all the more sweeter for her given England manager Phil Neville was on the sidelines.It was a moment of the highest quality that those casual fans tuning into a women’s football game for perhaps the first time – or one of the first times – will have been impressed with.The same can be said of the game’s opening and only goal. After watching United create a plethora of chances in the first half, Weir, Georgia Stanway and Janine Beckie were left feeding off scraps for City.But just moments after half time, Weir produced another moment of quality worthy of such an occasion, sending a stunning strike from all of 25 yards beyond the reach of Mary Earps and into the top corner.It was a goal that deflated United massively as City, champions in 2016 and current holders of both the FA and League Cup, turned the screw and asserted their dominance over their newly-promoted rivals.”It’s only right that the club is supporting us by playing at the Etihad,” Steph Houghton told Goal earlier this week.”We’ve got people that want to come and watch us play. We won trophies last season, we’ve played really good football.”City weren’t at their best today, but they produced glimpses of quality that should keep fans coming back and help the FA tackle the attendance issue that has puzzled them for many years.
10 Years of conversations, interactions, peer learning opportunities September 11th, 2018 – As independent travel agents continue to soar, the Travel Professional Community has established its role as the online venue for resourcing almost any topic through the growing network of vetted peers. Last week the group welcomed its 15,000thmember. Founded in 2008, the community has hosted more than over half a million searchable discussions among travel professional peers. “We are so humbled by the gifts of knowledge and willingness of the community to share with one another,” said co-founder Joanie Ogg. “We are so grateful to all of our members for helping to make this the place where agents go to share and learn.” This online community is for the sharing of information and experiences among travel professionals. It is free to join and participate in this community and it is open to all professional travel agents. Suppliers are not accepted to the community and agents are vetted before being given access to the discussion boards. “What the Oggs have built is a multi-faceted travel agent community providing a full blueprint of how to become a successful travel agent and the fact that the 15,000 members of the community are supporting and rooting for the success of every other member. It truly has become a family to me and I have developed a number of long term friendships within the community,” said Geoff Millar, active member and co-owner of Ultimate All-Inclusive Travel. Sandy Elson, owner of Your Cruise Concierge LLC, was member number three back in 2008 and she continues to use the community as a valuable daily resource. “The Travel Professional Community is a vibrant, dynamic collection of travel professionals who are always very generous with their time, experience and expertise. It allows us to ask questions and share information about every conceivable topic. I have never seen a question go unanswered, no matter how obscure the subject. Someone in the Community knows the answer to every question. We all share and all learn, all the time! I have been a travel agent for almost 35 years, and I still learn something almost every day through the experience and generosity of our members,” she said. Elson, like so many of today’s successful travel professionals, made the transition to a home based environment several years ago. This community helped ease that transition. “Having worked in both a brick and mortar agency and now being home based for 15 years, the thing I notice the most is the isolation. In a brick and mortar agency, I could turn to the other agents and ask for help with various issues in the travel world. Now I can still do that, but to an audience of over 15,000 agents instead of the four who used to sit in the brick and mortar agency.The Community is a great networking opportunity and a place to have fun connecting with fellow travel advisors across the country and around the world. It truly embraces the best parts of being in a globally connected industry.” The global nature of the community is evident in the variety of conversations currently underway. Today, the top discussions highlight destinations including Mexico, Caribbean, Egypt, Israel, Cuba, Costa Rica, Greece, US cities including Fort Lauderdale and New York. Beyond destinations, the agents share so many issues. For Millar it is the exchange of ideas that is so incredibly valuable. “The board is monitored and participants are vetted so they are participants that are serious about selling travel. There are no suppliers allowed on the board so agents can speak freely. There is a great mix of newer and more experienced agents which creates some great learning experiences and discussions. I feel a fantastic philosophy has developed within the group that there is enough business for everyone so let’s support and help every agent within the community.” In addition to the extremely active chat board, the community hostsprivate discussion groups, Tuesday Afternoon Chats, video and picture libraries, extensive member profiles, training programs, webinars and more. “The webinars and chats that are put on by the Oggs are invaluable as both educational opportunities and a formal platform for participants to exchange ideas. The community even has a library of forms that are available for use by all members. Another very popular part of the community is the specialty section where members can start specialty groups, from product specialties to various market specialties and every specialty in-between, and have discussions with other members interested in that particular specialty,” Millar said. As the travel agency community continues to grow and change and evolve its variety of business models, the Travel Professional Community will naturally evolve with them. “The members of TravelProfessionalCommunity.com continue to be an inspiration to me as they not only share a common goal of becoming a better Travel Professional, but a passion for Travel that is simply unrivaled. Thank you to all of our Community members for making the Community what it is today!” said Andy Ogg, Marketing and Sales Director, Ogg Marketing Group.. About TravelProfessionalCommunity.comTravelProfessionalCommunity.com has served as the social space for vetted Travel Professionals since 2008. Currently with over 15,000 members, the Community continues to connect and empower Travel Professionals by facilitating a home for open communication. The TravelProfessionalCommunity.com is one of the many tools provided by the Ogg family to assist, empower and educate Travel Professionals. Others include www.FindaHostTravelAgency.com,www.HomeBasedTravelAgent.comand www.TravelProfessionalNEWS.com.