Story from Kings website: http://bit.ly/1ovpX7B KINGS HEADED TO AUSTRALIA FOR DEVELOPMENT TOUR Brooklyn Kings home-grown standout, Odain Brown, is Australia-bound after winning the inaugural Nic Fitz Award over the weekend. Named after the late Nicole Fitzsimons, the prize strengthens the ties between the Kings and the NFF, a not-for-profit organization established by Nicole’s sister, Kate, to raise awareness of the dangers travelling abroad. With Kings co-founder, Matt Bailey, being a former colleague of Nic at Nine Network Australia, the boys from Brooklyn proudly donned the NFF logo on their sleeve throughout the 2014 USA Rugby League season. A key objective of the foundation is to gift young, aspiring athletes with grants to assist with the achievement of sporting dreams. For the first time in their history, the NFF have given an overseas grant to the Brooklyn Kings to help fund a two week development tour to Australia. In their statement, the board cited the many similar qualities they see in Brooklyn Kings management with Nicole as making the decision an easy one to give the nod to. Thrilled with the announcement was the foundation spearhead, with Fitzsimons commenting, “I know my sister will be beaming down with pride.” The initiative will see Bailey and Brown spend two weeks in September on the east coast of Australia, visiting the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Central Coast, Sydney and Wollongong. The tour facilitates the promotion of the Brooklyn Kings and USA Rugby League brand in the sport’s heartland, as well as provide Brown the opportunity to train with local teams, meet influential Rugby League personalities, and attend an NRL finals match. The Kings duo have a busy schedule locked in to speak with local print, radio and television media outlets, with the aim of spreading the Brooklyn love. “There’s no doubt that this is more than just a vacation”, said Bailey. “This is an opportunity to show the world our successes and build on what we’ve achieved here in New York and the USA.” Elaborating, Bailey continued to explain the impact the experience will have on Brown, “This trip will provide the rare opportunity for an American Rugby League athlete to experience the standard and popularity of the game in Australia. Odain is a phenomenal ambassador for Rugby League in the USA and a future leader at the Kings. He thoroughly deserves this opportunity and will squeeze every ounce of information and knowledge from the people he meets and use that to improve as a player.” Also making the concept a reality are Wollongong based sponsors, Jaygee Constructions and Go Flow Concreting. St George Illawarra Dragons tragic and Jaygee owner, Grant Vazzoler, was there to witness Brooklyn run out for the first time at the USARL International Nines in Philadelphia earlier this year, and was blown away with what he saw, “The Kings looked a professional outfit both on and off the field. Being an avid supporter of the NRL in Australia, I was amazed at the talent on display in the USARL.” Continuing, Vazzoler intends on watching more of the Kings in action live in the near future, “It’s a pleasure to be a part of this initiative and I can’t wait to travel to New York and see the Kings run around again in 2015.” Jorge Teixeira, a huge Manly Sea Eagles fan and owner of Go Flow Concreting, has been following the Kings with a keen eye all season. Having seen Bailey grow up playing for the Berkeley Eagles from a young age, Teixeira was quick to jump on board and support the Brooklyn outfit. “Matty, Justin and the rest of the guys are doing a great job promoting the game we love overseas. I’m glad to be involved in developing Rugby League at an international level, and can’t wait to meet Odain in September.” Understandably so, Brown is still trying to process whether this is reality or just a dream. “I’m still lost for words. It still hasn’t hit me yet, but I cannot wait to make the most of this chance and fly the Brooklyn Kings flag in Australia.” With the development tour kept a secret until the announcement of the award itself last Saturday, Brown celebrated with fist pumps in the air, leaps of joy, and his signature dance moves that lasted the entirety of the night. Having made it known that he was saving for a trip to Australia in the coming years, the award could not have gone to a more deserving winner. Stay tuned to the Kings website and social media accounts to see live updates from Bailey and Brown during development tour in September. For more information or to donate to the Nicole Fitzsimons Foundation, please visit www.nicolefitzsimons.com. If you have construction or concreting needs on Australia’s South Coast, be sure to call Grant Vazzoler on 0459 626 759 and Jorge Teixeira on 0411 361 546. Opportunities exist for Australian based businesses, teams or Rugby League organizations to be involved in the Brooklyn Kings Development Tour in September. If interested in supporting the initiative, please contact Matt Bailey via email firstname.lastname@example.org.