Cordova’s P7 Sports Academy, a $ 3.3 million gymnasium, opened in late October and is already attracting a number of youth tournaments.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Cole Photopolus donned his basketball sneakers and joined his teammates on one of the four open basketball courts. His team, the Briarcrest Saints, were preparing to face a visiting team.
“Get out there and be a bucket,” Photopolus said of his approach to the game.
The 14-year-old is one of the thousands who will be able to benefit from the new P7 Sports Academy in Cordoba. The $ 3.3 million gymnasium opened in late October and is already attracting a number of youth tournaments. Photopolus said he had never been to a gym like P7’s.
“I thought it was really cool. I’ve never seen anything like it, ”he said. “I went to my school gym and it’s pretty cool, but it’s nothing compared to that.”
The sports academy is an extension of Perfect Seven Sports, which already hosts major 7v7 football tournaments. The group saw the opportunity to develop into what their partner Darin Pounds has called a ‘void in the Memphis community’.
“When we sat down with the group (partner), we asked, ‘What can we do? “And it was really trying to come back into the community and create an environment, a great place for the kids, great facilities, a nice place to come and train,” Pounds said.
The space is approximately 55,000 square feet, including several basketball and volleyball courts and a 90 ‘x 120’ training area covered with artificial turf with gymnastic equipment. This space can also be transformed into an additional courtyard. In addition to purchasing the facility, Pounds said the group spent another “seven-figure investment” to convert the space to what it is today, including LED lighting and Dashboards.
P7 Sports Academy partners with Sports in 3 stages based in Boston. The company said it was the largest organizer of sporting events and youth clubs in the country. The partnership has enabled P7 to bring the Memphis Swarm AAU basketball and Memphis Junior Volleyball organizations to train and play in the facility.
“In this area, I’ve never seen a facility like this,” said Tavaris Boga, coach of Memphis Swarm and director of basketball operations for P7. “I think they’re going to give the kids of Memphis a lot of head start because the most important thing, especially around the COVID zone, is to have a gym space. Now you have a place to come train, come train, come play, be in the big leagues, in the best part of town.
Space was particularly an issue for Memphis Juniors. Danis Fueling has been the director of the youth volleyball organization for 11 years. The Memphis organization hosted its tournaments in Tunica, Mississippi, where 9 courts were available at a time.
“I mean, there’s nothing in Tunica. So, you know, parents drive one way to get there and decide if they’re going to stay overnight or not, ”Fueling said. “We will have nine courts for our tournament here. We can hold out here this year, so that’s a huge advantage for us.
Fueling said the upgrade to the P7 Sports Academy has seen their organization grow 30% from 19 teams to 28 teams. Hosting tournaments naturally brings in scouts and college coaches that Fueling can accommodate even if they can’t make it to Memphis.
“We can broadcast here, so we can broadcast practice, we can do skills, we can broadcast tournaments,” Fueling said. “So if a varsity coach can’t participate, a recruiter can’t, then we can connect them and be able to do it, they can be wherever they are and broadcast and watch an athlete here. They don’t need to be here.
Boga said Memphis is naturally a great basketball town with the nationally significant University of Memphis basketball team and the Memphis Grizzlies playing just up the road. The competition is fierce and, like Fueling, he is eager to draw recruiters’ attention to local athletes when P7 attracts tournaments from organizations like Adidas, Under protection, and Coast to Coast Preparations.
“The competition in Memphis is very, very important, but to have some of these major tournaments here now instead of just moving around and going to these tournaments, it’s going to be big,” Boga said. “We have some of the greatest players of all time coming to the city of Memphis and I don’t think we’re highlighted as much as we should be.”
P7 opened at the end of October and already has 25 events scheduled until 2022. Photopolus is delighted to face competition from across the country.
“I love everything about it. The courts are cool. The lighting is nice,” Photopolus said. “I’ve never played tournaments on a pitch like this before so it’s going to be fun. “