The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

Flag football can serve as a safe haven for the game we love !

New London, CT. — They appeared on television during last weekend’s divisional playoffs and they’ll appear again this weekend: infomercials from the National Football League encouraging parents to check out the burgeoning popularity of flag football, maybe the last bastion remaining to save the sport at youth levels.

Overwhelming evidence from the National Federation of State High School Associations suggests that participation levels continue to decline on youth and secondary levels, likely the residual effect of parental fears that stem from concussion injuries.

Ah, but now there’s the alternative, a game that still teaches football, but spares kids at youth levels from getting their eggs scrambled.

Our corner of the world is joining the revolution. Heavy Hitters USA, a local non-profit foundation dedicated to teaching life skills through various athletic endeavors, once sponsored two teams in the league at the Wide World of Indoor Sports in Montville. Heavy Hitters, with teams from New London and Groton, are up to nine teams now and more than 100 kids, including a group headed to Orlando soon for a tournament.

“Parents are scared of having kids hurt,” said Jose Carmona, who organizes the Heavy Hitters teams and has two sons playing. “This gives you the skill level of football. You still learn the game without fear of your kid getting hurt. A different outlet. It builds confidence of the younger kids and gets rid of that fear when it comes time for them to finally wear shoulder pads and helmets.”

Flag football games are 5-on-5 and last an hour. The kids run, run and run more. They learn many skills of football, such as throwing it, running good routes and covering receivers.

Shannon Brenek, whose son, Jake, grew up on flag football, is Heavy Hitters’ executive director, working closely with founder Kent Ward. Jake Brenek was the only St. Bernard student to participate in the high school football tri-operative this past season with Grasso Tech and Norwich Tech.

“It’s great practice,” Shannon Brenek said. “It’s no pressure. I think that’s the best thing about it. Pressure will come sooner or later in football. This is complete fun and he’s learning.”

Flag football’s emergence comes as participation in tackle football has declined. The most recent data (the 2017-18 school year) illustrates a drop in Connecticut from 10,815 kids playing high school football in 2009 to 9,241 in 2017, a 14.6 percent decrease in nine years. Youth level coaches across the region say participation is down as well, amid concern over head injuries.

The Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C., wrote a 27-page report recently on the emergence and benefits of flag football, following interviews with doctors, educators, former NFL players and college coaches and surveys from parents, high school and youth coaches, athletic trainers and medical professionals.

“Our overarching conclusion,” the report said, “(is that) children, the game and communities are likely to benefit if flag football becomes the standard way of playing before high school, with modifications. A key modification: Proper tackling technique is taught in practice settings, and in a controlled manner, in the age group leading into it.”

The report found interest increasing nationally, including how “flag football surpassed tackle football as the most commonly played form of the game among children ages 6 to 12, according to annual survey data by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.” And in Florida, a youth flag league founded by former University of Maryland quarterback John Kaleo has served more than 7,000 kindergarten through middle school-aged children since 2014. It even has a corporate sponsor: Under Armour.

Brenek said Heavy Hitters is looking to alleviate the cost of the program for some of the kids in New London and Groton. Anyone interested in contributing can email her at shannon@drinkheavyhitters.com.

Meanwhile, there are tryouts for the next round of teams Feb. 18 from noon-2 p.m. at the Wide World of Indoor Sports.

Maybe football will make a comeback around here after all.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .SODA Logo “Proudly Serving The USA/Canada Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

PlanFinalGuideAd

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Kentucky’s Elizabethtown Sports Park Announces Partnership with Industry-leading Firm, Sports Facilities Management (SFM) !

CLEARWATER, Fla., Jan. 9, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Following a nation-wide search for a management firm, Elizabethtown Sports Park has selected Sports Facilities Management (SFM) to lead park operations in 2019 and beyond. Since opening to much anticipation in 2012, Elizabethtown Sports Park has been an important sports asset for tourism in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. The Sports Park quickly became an industry leader in destination marketing as a frequented space for events of all sizes and caliber on weekends while local families have enjoyed access to the park’s many amenities during the week. The park features three quads for baseball and softball totaling 12 fully lighted diamond fields, two championship synthetic turf fields, three large pavilions for events amongst other features. To manage the daily operations, marketing, event booking, maintenance and purchasing of their complex, the Elizabethtown Tourism & Convention Bureau selected the industry-leading Sports Facilities Management.

Elizabethtown Officials and Sports Facilities Management Leaders

Directing the effort for the Elizabethtown Tourism and Convention Bureau, Janna Clark led the project in finding the right management fit for the Sports Park and will oversee the transition from city to SFM’s leadership. “We were very pleased to find Sports Facilities Management, the leader in the industry who comes highly recommended,” Janna remarked. “We are eager to embark on a new journey for sports tourism in our region. This partnership will not only continue the success of the Sports Park, but with Sport Facilities Management’s leadership, together we will take the Park to an exciting new level.”

Jason Clement, Founder and CEO of SFM added, “The Elizabethtown Sports Park is one of the great destinations in the sports tourism industry. Janna and the CVB have done an extraordinary job making E-town a must-visit destination for the very best youth and amateur sports in Kentucky. We are honored to be selected and come alongside in delivering the very best experience for out-of-town visitors as well as E-town residents. We look forward to working closely with the CVB to maximize the investment the community has made in this incredible asset.”

Sports tourism to the area and the associated economic impact is expected to remain strong under the new partnership in 2019 and increase in the years that follow. SFM will also focus on community programming such as adult sports leagues, community events, youth camps and clinics. SFM’s management services will begin in January.

About Sports Facilities Management: Sports Facilities Advisory, LLC (SFA) and Sports Facilities Management, LLC (SFM) are both headquartered in Clearwater, FL. Founded in 2003, SFA has served more than 2,000 communities, produced more than $10 billion in institutional-grade financial forecasts, and provided funding strategies and solutions for more than 120 youth and amateur sports and recreation complexes worldwide. SFM provides industry-leading, results-driven management solutions for sports, fitness, recreation, and event venues nationwide. Since 2014, SFM-managed venues have hosted more than 75 million visitors and generated millions of dollars in economic impact. For more information, visit: www.sportadvisory.com.

About Elizabethtown Sports Park: Elizabethtown, Kentucky is situated at the crossroads of I-65 and the Bluegrass Parkway, making it a convenient place to hold a sporting event. The Sports Park is located near 21 hotels, 6 shopping centers and over 90 restaurants in family-friendly Elizabethtown. The Sports Park can accommodate events and tournaments for baseball, softball, soccer, football, lacrosse, field hockey, and a number of other sports. Two of the largest fields serve as championship fields and have synthetic turf. For more information, visit: https://www.touretown.com/sports/

About Elizabethtown Tourism & Convention Bureau: Elizabethtown is centrally located within 400 miles of 12 major U.S. cities, and less than a 40-minute drive to the Louisville International Airport. Sitting at the intersection of three major highways—Interstate 65, the Bluegrass Parkway, and the Western Kentucky parkway, we have all the vibrant attributes of a much larger city but remain a charming small town. For more information, call 1-800-437-0092 or visit the official website of the at https://www.touretown.com.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .SODA Logo “Proudly Serving The USA/Canada Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

PlanFinalGuideAd

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

New Panama City Beach sports complex set to open on time !

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) – Hurricane Michael hasn’t stopped construction on Panama City Beach’s latest attraction.

Tourism leaders say they still plan to open the new sports park on its original launch date, the first week in July.

But there have been some setbacks, the rainy weather recently made the ground very wet and soggy, making it difficult for construction to continue.

So the Tourist Development Council gave the go-ahead Tuesday to beef up some of the roadways in the complex.

Those roads will be completed soon making it easier for construction to finish and allow for maintenance and emergency vehicles to get into the park quickly.

Tourism officials say that adds a little bit more cost to the project, around $230,000.

But they say it’ll go to more than just the roads, it also helps to dry the property out. The issues with excess water the park is having now won’t be an issue when game time rolls around.

“It is a huge benefit for the community, tourism is our number one engine in Bay County and we’re gonna continue to make it that way, we’re gonna diversify the tourism economy and this is just one way to do it,” said Bay County Commissioner Philip “Griff” Griffitts.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .SODA Logo “Proudly Serving The USA/Canada Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

PlanFinalGuideAd

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Madras Works to Develop Large Sports Complex !

Madras Works to Develop Large Sports Complex  !

MADRAS, OR — A new sports facility could bring dramatic changes to Madras. Jim Weyermann took over as Executive Director of the Madras Aquatic Center Recreation District last fall. He’s now in talks with an anonymous donor to fund development of a massive sports complex. 

Weyermann tells KBND News, “The indoor facility is about 125,000 square feet, and then you’d add another 22,000 square feet for an Olympic-sized ice rink. And then there are some additional soccer fields, baseball, and softball fields that are being built, as well.” The facility would be built to accommodate tournaments for soccer, basketball, volleyball, and badminton, but it won’t just be for sports teams. “There’s a whole other layer of kids who don’t want to play in competitive leagues,” he says, “So, this model is about how do we make sure that there’s accessibility across the board.”

Weyermann says the facility is needed to improve overall health, “The primary purpose is for Madras to begin providing traditional recreational services to the local community.” He adds, “We battle with child obesity, we battle with nutrition, we battle with the right level of exercise and mental stimulation.” If the facility is planned and developed properly, he says it could also boost the economy, “We have to take responsibility for developing facilities and activities that redefine who we are in the minds of the people who live here.”

While he intends to develop the project without taxpayer dollars, Weyermann says getting the complex built doesn’t end the financial need, “We’ve been spending a lot of time on the business pro forma, the sustainability model, how that’s going to work and where we’re going to generate our revenues, and how we’re going to make sure that this thing operates profitably.” If funding comes through, Weyermann wants to start the design phase in February, and hopes to break ground in summer. He says, realistically, the project could be finished by late 2020.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .SODA Logo “Proudly Serving The USA/Canada Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

PlanFinalGuideAd

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

2019 SODA Amateur Sports Insurance Rates Now Available !

 

2019 SODA Amateur Sports Insurance Rates Now Available !

[[[ Click On This Link Below For Rates ]]]

2019 SODA RATES ONLY

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

2019 SODA Amateur Sports Insurance Rates Now Available !

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .SODA Logo “Proudly Serving The USA/Canada Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Call: 1-800-622-7370

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

For 16 Different Amateur Sports, Sports Officials, Facilities and Much More . . .  !

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Hudson Sports Complex to Open Its Doors in January !

Fox1      The owners of the Fox Soccer Academy have officially announced the name and opening season of their newest location. The Hudson Sports Complex, formerly The Yard Sports Village in Warwick, NY will be open for business in January 2019. The exact grand opening date and details will be announced shortly.

      The indoor and outdoor sports and recreation complex, located at 122 State School Rd. in the former Orange County Mid-Correctional Facility, will provide such services as individual and group skills and strength training as well as space for team practices and games and tournaments for soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, baseball and football.

      Owners Christian and Raluca Fuchs plan to focus on professional, quality training, bringing in athletes, trainers, and coaches from all over the world.

      “We are super excited to have this opportunity to get this up and running and are very much looking forward to what this brings. We have been looking for a long time, and it’s great that we found a property in Warwick,” said Christian Fuchs, English Premier League player for Leicester City, who, with his wife, owns several other Academy locations in New York and also Europe.

     “One of our main selling points is our connections to Europe in places such as Austria and the United Kingdom where we have great channels and great talents, and now, here in New York, the venues to provide quality training,” commented Fuchs, who has played over 412 games across the Bundesliga, Premier League and Champions League spanning over 14 seasons.

      He also captained and played 78 games for the Austrian National Team, which include UEFA Euros and FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. In 2016, Fuchs won the Premier League with Leicester City, as the starting Left-Back, according to the Fox Soccer Academy website.

      With world class quality at the forefront, the Hudson Sports Complex owners say that their priorities also include active community involvement and accessibility for boys and girls of all ages and levels.

      “We want to establish a feeling of community so everyone feels included, everyone has a pleasurable time, and everyone wants to come back. They should be a part of our family, not outsiders who just pay their fees and leave,” said Raluca.

    Fox Soccer Academy CEO Erik Stover adds that the company has made efforts to contract local folks to tackle such monster renovation projects as well as basic services like plumbing, heating, and painting.

      “Part of our job here is to support the community and bring a positive economic impact to the region,” he said of the more than 35 acre lot.

      Hudson Sports closed on the property, a bankruptcy sale, on Nov. 27.       Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton is optimistic about the newest addition to the Hudson Valley.

      “Having this facility, with the caliber of the new owners, will make this the premier sports/training facility on the East Coast. It will draw families who will spend time exploring our pristine valley with its many dining, shopping and agri-tourism opportunities which will have a positive effect on our local business. Our B&Bs will benefit and we may also now be able to attract a hotel or two,” said Sweeton.

      While the complex will primarily be centered around field sports such as soccer, field hockey, and lacrosse in the beginning stages of the business plan, the owners say they will expand to all sports and wellness activities such as CrossFit, Yoga, Spin, and Pilates, as well as developing an eSports hub.

      “We definitely have enough indoor and outdoor space, and we look forward to being the go-to place for sports and entertainment. The possibilities are endless,” said Raluca, who is both fascinated by the property’s history and inspired by its future.

      Supervisor Sweeton highlighted the historical aspects of the expansive site.

     “The location of the sports complex is in the center of this amazing 733 acre public/private space.  Its rich history as a school for troubled boys gives it a campus like feeling that as we develop we hope we can maintain. The sports complex which will attract youth from all over the regional area is a perfect fit that will bring families to our area, boosting our local economy,” Sweeton said.

      Fuchs was inspired to create Fox Soccer Academy when he was searching for a soccer training organization in the City. The high prices and unimpressive staff of many groups left the concerned athletic parent wanting. Fuchs opened the first Fox Soccer Academy in 2014.

      When he is not traveling, Christian Fuchs is a hands-on and present tour de force as he runs sports clinics and trainings at his Soccer Academy locations. He has residences in Pine Plains, NY and Manhattan with Raluca and their three children.

      “Christian started this company because of his son, and it is now continuing in the same tradition of family, quality, and professionalism,” said Stover, who, according to his employers, has been “an integral, invaluable, and knowledgeable player in this business venture.”

Stover has 24 years of experience managing large complexes like the Red Bull Arena and the Meadowlands Sports Complex.

      For more information about Hudson Valley Sports, visit their website: https://www.foxsoccer.academy/home.

Soccer Dome at Parma, NY sports park destroyed by wind !

 

A sports dome in Parma was leveled Tuesday morning by high winds.

Doug Miller, a soccer great who played for the Rochester Rhinos and Rochester Lancers, owns the facility.

The devastation comes just a few days before the Lancers, coached by Miller, take to the turf. They play this weekend at the Rochester Dome Arena in Henrietta.

Miller said it’s not clear how much the damage will cost.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .SODA Logo “Proudly Serving The USA/Canada Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

PlanFinalGuideAd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

City proposes indoor field house as part of sprawling sports complex !

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – The city of Albuquerque wants to build a sprawling sports complex, including a giant field house, so families don’t have to travel out of state for every big tournament.

“We are looking at indoor soccer, we are looking at basketball, volleyball, wrestling and many other sports that we can do indoors for the community,” City Councilor Ken Sanchez said.

Acquiring land, designing and constructing a new field house either next to the new baseball fields at the west side Regional Sports Complex or on Mesa del Sol is on the city’s long wishlist for the state legislature in January. 

In November, KRQE News 13 reported on the city and Bernalillo County’s combined study that identified the need for this kind of facility in Albuquerque.

“We’ve lost places for our recreational kids to play, we’re losing APS facilities there are fewer and fewer kids that can get on indoor courts,” Jim Tilley with the Bernalillo County Sports Commission explained.

“Hopefully, we can get $2 to $3 million for the first phase of this indoor complex,” Sanchez said.

The plans are not completely ironed out, but Sanchez added it could look like the field house in New Century, Kansas.

Renderings from Sanchez’s office show what could eventually be built around the field house, including a park with ponds, thousands of parking spaces, a couple dozen soccer fields and a cricket pitch.

The executive director of the Rio Rapids Soccer Club, Jason Moran, said it would also help fill a need for practice fields.

“We’re always scrapping and trying to find field space,” Moran added.

Sanchez said if the funding comes through on a city, county and state level, he would like to see construction start in the next two years.

The city is also asking for state funds to renovate little league fields around Albuquerque and for a gym at North Domingo Baca Community Center.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .SODA Logo “Proudly Serving The USA/Canada Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

PlanFinalGuideAd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .