More than 40 years ago, several sports leagues joined together to form one united, non-profit organization and the Plano Sports Authority was born. Plano Sports Authority, now known simply as PSA, has grown to include nearly 80,000 participants in North Texas.
Sports registrations rapidly grew as PSA added sports programs, and along with growth came the need for more facilities. Additional facilities enabled PSA to offer yearround sports programs, indoor and outdoor programs, camps and skills academies. PSA facilities are built with quick court turnaround efficiency, enabling a basketball court to be turned into a volleyball court in under five minutes.
In 2013, the McKinney Community Development Corporation, led by Board Chair George Fuller, discussed the idea of building a facility in McKinney with the PSA Board of Directors. It was a win-win for both PSA and the City of McKinney. “We are excited to bring PSA next door to the 6,000 McKinney kids who already play with us,” said Don Blackwood, PSA general manager. “For many years, our McKinney families have driven to our other facilities to play; now they will have a beautiful facility to call their own at Alma and Eldorado.”
Ground was broken in February 2014 and construction on PSA McKinney, in Gabe Nesbitt Community Park, is rapidly progressing. The 90,000-square-foot multi-sport building, featuring eight basketball/volleyball courts, indoor turf arena, large meeting room and full-service concessions, is scheduled to open this December.
PSA McKinney’s inaugural season will feature basketball, indoor soccer and volleyball. PSA Basketball, led by director Ralph Walker, has grown to one of the largest youth programs in the United States. Walker and his staff introduced changes to the basketball program, which include separating select and recreational leagues.
Walker felt there was a need for the separation of the two programs. “The recreational leagues are our bread and butter and very important to the program,” he said. “In the recreational leagues, players have the opportunity to develop while learning to love the game. The select leagues give the more experienced, competitive players an avenue to hone their skills and compete at a higher level year-round.”
In addition to the leagues, PSA Basketball offers skills classes and clinics and the highly successful School Team Tryout Prep Program. These programs are taught by middle school and high school coaches, former professional players and former Division I college players, who bring a great amount of experience and knowledge to the program.
PSA Soccer is as diverse as the basketball program. Soccer is most likely the first PSA sport to which families are introduced. Recreational leagues, led by soccer director Karen Weinert, begin at Pre-K through high school. They offer spring and fall outdoor soccer as well as indoor soccer for the winter and summer seasons. According to Weinert, “Soccer is a great introduction to team sports. The teams are formed by neighborhoods so kids are able to play with their friends from school. Our parent/volunteer coaches are great with the athletes. They not only teach the game of soccer but they make it fun for the kids, who will develop friendships that last a lifetime.” This past year, soccer had 19,000 registrants.
Mike Kramer, a former player and club coach, brings more than 30 years of soccer experience to his position as director of Texas Thunder Soccer Club at PSA and Skills Academy director.
Kramer shares, “Texas Thunder soccer offers our recreational players an opportunity to play at the next level. We don’t intend to be the big monster-type soccer club. We offer a program of quality coaching, and PSA offers soccer skills academies for 5- to 10-year olds.” Kramer is also director of the PSA Soccer Academy leagues, which play in the fall-outdoor, winter-indoor and spring-outdoor seasons.
Volleyball is one of the fastest-growing sports in North Texas. PSA Volleyball has been a cornerstone of that growth and is led by Director Starla Seabaugh and Force Volleyball Club Director Aimee DeWitte. PSA Volleyball League offers play year-round for girls and boys in grades 1 through 12. Teams are formed by neighborhoods with parent/ volunteer coaches and leagues are offered for both recreational and competitive teams. Each team will have practices, games and tournaments. Seabaugh loves that volleyball is “a true team sport, and a sport kids can play through adulthood. We’re also fortunate our leagues are large enough that we’re able to offer several divisions in each grade level that allow teams to play other teams with similar skill sets.”
In addition to the recreational and competitive volleyball leagues under Seabaugh, Force Volleyball Club offers a comprehensive program for players to take their skills to the highest level of competition with professional coaches. Through her experience and knowledge as a Division I player and high school coach, DeWitte gears her programs to maximize each player’s potential on and off the court. Force Volleyball program includes skills classes/clinics, school team tryout prep program, beach volleyball, Force Volleyball Power/Elite League and the ultimate competitive program, Force Volleyball Club.
Along with the indoor sports, PSA offers leagues for football, cheer, dance team, baseball, softball, rugby and a summer camp program. Teresa Federspiel, senior director of Sports, sums it up best by saying, “We are very excited to be opening the new facility and serving more McKinney families.”