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In 2009, pro soccer player Lyle Martin was playing for the Vancouver White Caps, in a North American league below Major League Soccer, when he got talking with a teammate about his future. The teammate introduced him to an agent who floated the idea of playing in China.

"I was like, 'China?!'" Martin says. "Are we talking about the same place?"

The Week In Sports

Mar 5, 2016
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Sports Authority has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, looking to restructure its debt and close a number of stores to try to regain its financial foothold.

The sporting goods retailer is carrying a heavy debt load.

In its restructuring, Sports Authority plans to access nearly $600 million in debtor-in-possession financing and close or sell approximately 140 stores and two distribution centers. The company operates more than 460 locations.

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Time now for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

The Week In Sports

Feb 20, 2016
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Time now for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

It was a tale of two defenses — and two very divergent outcomes — in the NFL's conference championship games Sunday.

In the NFC, the Carolina Panthers stormed their way to a commanding victory over the Arizona Cardinals. Earlier in the day, in the AFC, the Denver Broncos narrowly survived a late-game push from the New England Patriots to emerge with a win.

The victories mean conference titles for the Panthers and the Broncos — and, more importantly, a trip to the Super Bowl for both teams.

This Week In Sports

Jan 23, 2016
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Bill Johnson, the skier who was the first American to win Olympic gold in a downhill event, has died, the U.S. ski team says. He was 55.

"His passing closed the final chapter in a tumultuous lifetime that saw him rise to the highest level in his sport," the team said in a statement.

Johnson died in an assisted living facility in Oregon, after several years of deteriorating health following a stroke.

More than 16 years after Roger Federer played in his first Grand Slam event, he's won his 300th match, becoming the first man to reach that mark. He now trails only Martina Navratilova, who won 306 matches at the highest level of tennis. Federer, 34, is currently ranked No. 3 in the world.

The Buffalo Bills announced Wednesday that Kathryn Smith has been hired as the organization's quality control-special teams coach, making her the first woman to hold a full-time coaching position in the NFL.

Featuring teams in Boston, Buffalo, Connecticut and New York City, the National Women's Hockey League has become home to some of the best players in the world. Meghan Duggan, for example, who was the U.S. Olympic Team captain in the gold-medal game in 2014 in Sochi, plays for the Buffalo Beauts.

It was that hockey final that inspired the league's commissioner and founder, Dani Rylan, to start it. The pro league launched in October. Its first all-star game is scheduled Jan. 24.

A few months ago, Code Switch lead blogger Gene Demby turned to Twitter in an attempt to crowd-source a solution to a problem he'd been having. Gene had begun watching Premier League soccer but couldn't settle on a rooting interest, so he asked the league's fans to convince him to root for one team or another.

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