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HAVE BALL, WILL TRAVEL: If your neighborhood doesn’t have an oversized youth sports facility, it’s falling behind the times. Welcome to SportsPlex Nation! Outside... Welcome to SportsPlex Nation

HAVE BALL, WILL TRAVEL: If your neighborhood doesn’t have an oversized youth sports facility, it’s falling behind the times. Welcome to SportsPlex Nation!

Outside it’s an unseasonably warm January weekday afternoon in Walnut Creek. But Mike Samuels is inside. And happy to be there.

Samuels is showing off the brand new 40,000 square-foot Ultimate Fieldhouse. The East Bay’s newest sports facility is home to four full-size hardwood basketball courts, a basketball training center and more. About to begin its final week of a soft open before hitting full stride in February, the empty, quiet complex carried a serenity and peacefulness.

An atmosphere like that will range from rare to never over the next year for the Ultimate Fieldhouse. Because in the Age of the Year-Round Athlete, there’s always a tournament to be held or an athlete who wants to put in extra training hours.

That also means there’s always room for more facilities. And there has been no shortage of cities, developers and planning commissions racing to build them.

The Ultimate Fieldhouse is a mere part of perhaps the ultimate example of this type of growth in Northern California and throughout the country. The facility is merely the first phase of a larger project that will convert the former Contra Costa Times Newspapers building into a multi-sport performance and training venue expected to exceed 200,000 square feet upon completion.

In addition to the already completed Fieldhouse, the Shadelands Sports Mall by Hall Equities Group will feature state-of-the-art training centers for soccer (complete with a full-size indoor turf field and european training equipment currently unavailable anywhere else in the country), volleyball, baseball, aquatic sports, indoor cycling, dancing, gymnastics, martial arts and yoga.

Mike Murphy baseball

Mike Murphy Baseball

“We want this to be considered the hub of advanced sports training in this market,” said Brandon Farrell, Hall Equities Group’s senior vice president of business development.

Each sport facility within Shadelands SportsPlex — which is slated to be completed in early 2017 — will be run independently by local clubs and organizations which have already established strong reputations in their sport. Farrell said some of the potential tenants who are already in contract talks to join the Shadelands facility include Vibe Volleyball Club, Mike Murphy Baseball, American Swim Academy, Encore Gymnastics and Sparta Taekwondo.

None of this project should appear out of place to those who have paid attention to the youth and amateur sports industry over the past few years. Massive indoor complexes and training facilities are dotting the map everywhere across the U.S.. The largest of them all is a 700,000 square-foot behemoth in Pennsylvania called Spooky Nook. And the same company behind Spooky Nook recently announced the planned development of a 500,000 square-foot complex in Ohio.

So many of these facilities rise under the familiar mantra of, ‘If you build it, they will come.’ And so far, the sporting world continues to come in droves.

“We’re probably booked out for (weekend) tournaments almost two years in advance,” said Jordan Boreman, co-founder of National Basketball Courts, a five-basketball-court facility in Livermore that will turn two-years old this summer.

Spooky Nook Sports in Pennsylvania

Spooky Nook Sports in Pennsylvania

In a market research report released in March of 2015, SportsEvent Magazine estimated the economical impact of the sports event marketplace to have reached $8.92 billion in 2014. That was a near-nine percent rise from 2013. Also in the report, the magazine referenced research that suggested a typical family with two kids playing sports will spend close to 14 percent of their income on participation costs.

The same report from March 2015 suggested there were no indications of the market slowing down, either. Among the factors it cited were the continued increase in facilities; the expansion and growth in popularity of sports outside of the traditional giants; a population spike that has led to close to five million more sports-aged youth now than a decade ago, and many parents buying into a national narrative that kids need more physical activity.

Sports tourism is obviously a booming industry, and you don’t have to look far to spot its footprint throughout Northern California.

After all, did we mention that the Ultimate Fieldhouse held multiple tournaments during it’s SOFT open?


Bearing names like D1 (D1 Sports Training), USA (Universal Sports Academy), NBC (National Basketball Courts), JamTown, and The Shade (the above-mentioned Walnut Creek SportsPlex in “Park Shadelands”), there are endless opportunities in sports complexes for family fun, training and practice.

Some are as straight-forward as indoor volleyball courts (see our story on Bay Area Volleyball’s new indoor facility in our Sept. 2015 edition (issue #106) or [read it online here]; others somewhat more sophisticated–see our side-story on Spooky Nook’s 750,000 sf of sports monolithic space!

The following is our compilation of sports facilities (several of which responded to our invitation to be part of this story) to help in your planning for fun and games this spring and summer; if not all year ’round.

From All American Softball (in W. Sacramento) to All-Star Academy (in Santa Clara), the Folsom Sports Complex to Twin Creeks and Silver Creek Sportsplexs and South Bay Sports Training, (in the South Bay)— to The Foundry and Burlingamer on the SF Peninsula, opportunities to tune and train – and just plain have fun – are abundant.

•  Antioch Indoor Sports Center
LOCATION: Antioch. WEBSITE: This multi-use recreation facility includes a skating rink that caters to inline hockey, including hosting its own team — the Delta River Rats. The venue also includes batting cages, indoor soccer and volleyball leagues.

Antioch Indoor Sports Center

  Bay Area Volleyball Club
  LOCATION: Concord. WEBSITE: The BAVC recently opened up its new home, a renovated granite manufacturing plant that includes two full-size volleyball courts and more than 11,000 square Bay Area Volleyball Club feet of space. The club not only hosts its own teams, but also offers camps and private lessons.

BABVC strives to provide each player the opportunity to reach their complete potential as a volleyball player and become the best athlete they can be.  Their intent is to provide a fun, safe learning environment for children interested   in volleyball and inspire them to enjoy this great game while they learn valuable social skills such as patience, courtesy, honesty and fairness.



  Bladium Sports & Fitness Club  
LOCATION: Alameda. WEBSITE: Bladium boasts 175,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor play space. The two-story club features a ground floor  that includes two full-size basketball/volleyball courts, three indoor soccer fields, a rock climbing wall and a sports bar (because why not?). The second floor features a full-blown fitness gym. There are also two outdoor soccer fields.

  Big League Dreams Park
  LOCATIONS: Redding, Manteca. WEBSITE: Northern California is home to two of the seven CA locations that feature replica versions of well-known MLB baseball parks. The Manteca location boasts six fields, each featuring all-weather surfaces. Redding has three fields. Both facilities include a 20,000 sq ft. field house for indoor soccer leagues, as well as batting cages and an outdoor playground.

LOCATION: Burlingame. WEBSITE: This place is all about indoor soccer. Two full-size fields cater to adult and youth leagues alike. It is fully equipped to host birthday parties and an array of other events, including its All-Sports Summer Camps.

  Cepeda Complex
LOCATION: Suisun City. WEBSITE: The Lambrecht Sports Complex is now home to Cepeda Sports and the Cepeda Baseball Club, founded by Ali Cepeda, the son of Baseball Hall of Famer, Orlando Cepeda. The complex features eight fields and is home for the Cepeda Club teams as well as host to an array of baseball and softball tournaments and clinics.

  Colinn Knightly Lacrosse 
LOCATION: Martinez. WEBSITE: This 2,000sf indoor facility is brand-spankin new. Founder Knightly is world-renowned Lacrosse player and has an 8-year coaching resume with St. Mary’s mens teams and assiting currently at De LaSalle. His turf-equipped indoor filed offers age- and experience-specific training including private lessons, high school group classes and goalie and face-off specialty training. Soccer and sport-specific training in multiple disciplines is also offered.

  Folsom Sports Complex
LOCATION: Folsom. WEBSITE: Owned and operated by the City of Folsom, the Folsom Sports Complex includes two soccer fields (one indoor, one outdoor), two full basketball courts, three volleyball courts, four indoor batting cages, full locker rooms and a state of the art teen center.

  Foundry Sport
LOCATION: Redwood City. WEBSITE: Volleyball-enthusiast Matt Krebs opened this 45,000 sqft. facility in 2011 and is now the home to 27 teams and two clubs (Monsoon and Encore). The Foundry features six state-of-the-art volleyball courts.  It’s not all about volleyball though. Foundry partners with Mike Allen Sports to offer basketball training as well.

  Hardwood Palace
LOCATION: Rocklin. WEBSITE: This has been the Placer Valley hoops jewel since 2007. The 70,000 sq ft. Palace features eight hardwood courts, each with its own electronic scoreboard. With features like a mezzanine viewing level for spectators and free wi-fi and an on-site cafe, it’s no surprise that the venue is basically booked out for weekend tournament through 2016. The facility also offers training through I’m Possible Training as well as camps and clinics.

  Jackson Sports Academy
LOCATION: McClellan. WEBSITE: This massive 75,000 sqft. complex harbors 12 volleyball courts and offers an array of other sports too, including basketball and futsal. The state-of-the-art padded courts lend themselves to plenty of other uses as well. This venue has also been the host of the prestigious Tim Brown Memorial Classic high school wrestling tournament.

LOCATION: Oakland. WEBSITE: Jamtown is home to four full-sized courts and provides a slate of weekly training classes for members as well as holiday and summer camps open to players of all ages and skill levels. The venue is also a primary destination for some of the top AAU tournaments in the Bay Area.

  Mare Island Sports Center
  LOCATION: Vallejo. WEBSITE: Owned and operated by the Greater Vallejo Recreation District, the massive center boasts two indoor soccer fields, three basketball courts and up to five volleyball courts. It also has four batting cages and an on-site cafe.

  Mather Sports Center
  LOCATION: Mather. WEBSITE: A multi-use rec facility, the MSC is an indoor/outdoor venue that includes three synthetic turf baseball/softball fields, two turf soccer fields, one grass baseball field, three outdoor basketball courts, a skate park, family picnic area and youth playground. Inside, there’s one basketball court, three racquetball courts and exercise gyn and locker rooms.

  National Basketball Courts
  LOCATION: Livermore. WEBSITE: This facility boasts five full-size basketball courts which can convert to up to six volleyball courts. NB Courts is the home to the Armor Basketball AAU club which currently runs 24 teams, and is also the Bay Area affiliate to Jam On It Tournaments based out of Reno. It also has a one-year agreement in place as a host site for the Northern California Volleyball Association.

  Norcal Courts
  LOCATION: Martinez. WEBSITE: Located near the Martinez waterfront, this relatively new venue opened in 2012 and offers three full-length basketball courts. It provides space for basketball, volleyball, futsal, pickleball and gymastics. Youth and adult leagues, camps, clinics and drop-in play are all offered. Early this year, Boccee courts were introduced.

  Olympus Sports Coliseum
  LOCATION: Sacramento. WEBSITE: With more than 50,000 sqft. of space, Olympus a full indoor athletic field, a multi-use sports court, batting cages, a turf infield, and a weight and fitness facility. Indoor soccer, futsal, flag football, volleyball, basketball and dodgeball leagues are all offered. Individual and family memberships are offered.

  Twin Creeks Sports Complex
  LOCATION: Sunnyvale. WEBSITE: A 60-acre complex that features eight multi-purpose synthetic turf fields and is one of the biggest softball tournament locations in the Silicon Valley. An indoor facility with hardwood courts is available as well. Working in conjunction with Dynamic Sports & Social Club, the facility
offers youth/adult leagues in eight sports: basketball, dodgeball, flag football, kickball, soccer, softball, ultimate disc and volleyball. It’s also the home of many camps/clinics.twin creeks

Highlights of Twin Creeks Sports Complex include 10 lighted softball fields, batting cages, volleyball courts, tournament headquarters, fast food restaurant, banquet facility and full sports bar, pro shop, maintenance facilities, barbecue area, offices and a 14,000 sq. ft. clubhous.  Futhermore, 100 teams – 50 games / night which is 2,500 teams registered per year for softball league play.

Ultimate Fieldhouse

  Ultimate Fieldhouse
Walknut Creek WEBSITE: This 40,000 sqft. hoops house is just the first phase of what will become the Shadelands SportsPlex on the site of the former Contra Costa Times building. The facility includes four full-length courts and a smaller fifth court that will serve as a training center. It’s already a prime basketball and volleyball tournament location after opening in January of this year.

  Universal Sports Academy
  LOCATION: Martinez. WEBSITE: With 48,000 sqft. at its disposal, this venue specializes in indoor turf sports and training. Among the sports it caters to are baseball/softball, soccer, lacrosse, rugby, ultimate disc and flag football.

  Cooper Sports Performance
  LOCATION: Dublin. WEBSITE: Founded by NFL veteran Chris Cooper, (CSP) is a state-of-the-art, 6,800 sqft. training center that supports dedicated athletes training for professional long-term careers. From football, baseball/softball to lacrosse, basketball, tennis and golf, the team provides coaching, skill Cooper development and training. CSP offers programs for youth as well as high school athletes.

Youth and High School Sports programs at CSP – provide boys and girls of all ages with the training and knowledge necessary to maximize overall performance and become effective competitors. Whether they’re looking to excel on their current teams or blaze a path toward college sports and professional careers, our sport-specific training programs provide a winning foundation based on commitment, sportsmanship and respect.

  Headfirst Baseball West Coast Academy
  LOCATION: Pleasanton. WEBSITE: Brothers Mario and Michael Iglesias build performance-driven baseball teams and players. The academy is home to travel teams from U11-U18, year-round camps, position training and private lessons and batting cages in their facility. The Headfirst Academy has produced over 250 college baseball players and over 30 have been selected in the MLB Draft.

  Mike Murphy Baseball Academy
  LOCATION: Concord. WEBSITE: Nationally-recognized, Mike Murphy’s academy features SmartKage technology, private instruction and team workouts with batting cages and clay pitching mounds. Professional instructors teach baseball and softball pitching and hitting, fielding and running. Player development camps offered year-round. MMB trains all levels of players — from the little ones who are just starting out to every level above.

  Elevate Basketball & Performance Training
  LOCATION: Concord. WEBSITE: The decked out 5,700 sqft. facility offers basketball and sport-specific training (one-on-one, small group, team, camps and clinics). Elevate features full-court basketball, a half-court workout area, lounge and state-of-the-art equipment. Founder Jim Croy’s philosophy is to combine hard work and positivity.

  South Bay Sports Training
  LOCATION: San Jose. WEBSITE: This 26,000 sqft. indoor training facility includes batting cages, multi-use training cages and drill stations, pitching lanes, a sports performance gym and multi-purpose rooms. Complete with great lighting, Wi-Fi, multiple TVs, snack shack, retail showroom and pro shop. Everything needed for the successful student athlete is under one roof!

South Bay Sports Training helps young, student athletes by providing great coaching and training, travel teams, private lessons, training programs, camps and clinics, college placement services, tournaments and events, & uniforms and equipment.

Our mission is to give our players the knowledge and resources to maximize their skills and reach their full potential. We strive to help our players obtain their goals of playing at the next level. We stress the importance of education as we develop strong student-athletes. We use competitive baseball/softball to teach our players character traits of dedication, hard work, sportsmanship, teamwork, integrity, confidence, and self worth.

  The Pitching Center/Total Player Center
  LOCATION: Pleasanton. WEBSITE: Training players for over 17 years, TPC has been the area’s top facility for baseball & softball players since 1999. This impressive training center offers customized programs designed to fit needs and help every student to become his or her own best trainer. TPC has produced more than 150 four-year college-committed players and over 60 students taken in the MLB draft.

  All American Softball
  LOCATION: West Sacramento. WEBSITE: Owned and operated by former National Team-talent, Kelly Jackson, All American Softball is among the most respected softball academies in the Greater Sacramento area. The school boasts a state-of-the-art facility and a talented professional staff molds specialized programs to develop each individual player.

  All American Sports Academy
  LOCATION: Tracy. WEBSITE: This full-service training facility specializes in baseball and softball. Established in 1997, the academy is nearing its 20th birthday and can boast to having produced more than 3,000 all-league/all-conference players. Lead instructor Debbie Nelson has served as head softball coach at both Sacramento State and San Jose State.

  All-Star Academy
  LOCATION: Santa Clara. WEBSITE: In addition to housing its own teams, this South Bay academy’s indoor facility includes seven automated batting cages, five live hitting tunnels, four bullpens with two clay mounds and three live batting practice cages that allow for simulated games.

  Danville Baseball Academy
  LOCATION: Danville. WEBSITE: Run by fellow high school and collegiate standout, Matt Crudale, the Danville Baseball Academy is nearing its 10th season of operation. The program includes its own travel teams, as well as offers private lessons as well as camps and clinics.

  Off The Wall Soccer
  LOCATION: Sacramento. WEBSITE: This facility calls itself Sacramento’s “premier indoor soccer arena,” and we’re not here to argue. The venue hosts its own leagues as well as tournaments and more.

  The Fieldhouse
  LOCATION: Concord. WEBSITE: This spacious warehouse and its talented staff of instructors focus on baseball and softball, offering one-on-one and small-group lessons in addition to camps and clinics. The facility is open seven days a week and features both batting cages and clay pitching mounds.

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