It Begins!

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By Ivan Dashkov

Fabian Ardila is the man behind MGA Sports. Opening MGA Sports is a dream come true for the facility's owner and coach for SMASH Volleyball. His unending passion for volleyball, and his professional drive and vision have helped him navigate through the obstacles and setbacks of creating a volleyball facility. The original idea was to create a sports center composed of several sports for juniors. In addition to volleyball, it included soccer and basketball as the three main pillars of the complex.

After doing extensive research it became apparent to Fabian that the need for a volleyball specific facility was more of a necessity for the region. He wanted to start MGA with one goal: to grow the sport of volleyball in New England. Currently, when compared to the rest of the country, the level of volleyball in New England is considered weak. The goal of MGA Sports and SMASH Volleyball is to create an environment in New England that can foster development of juniors. His vision is to reach and teach young athletes about the dynamic, competitive, robust sport of volleyball in a fun, safe and nurturing environment.

After forming the idea to create a complex focused on volleyball, the next task was to find a location. After researching the success of similar facilities, MGA Sports found that the most successful facilities were the most accessible ones. The goal was to find a facility that was easily accessible to everyone in the greater Boston area in addition to New England. Originally, the idea was to build a new complex from the ground up. However, there wasn't any land available that was suitable for the facility and easily accessible. Fabian then decided to find a warehouse that he could renovate. After a long search lasting several months, he finally found a perfect location in Norwood, MA easily accessible from Route 128 and Interstate 95. See Map.

Another huge hurdle was finding investors for a long-term lease. In this economy, a lot of investors were not interested in the long term. After a few angel investors fell through, Fabian turned to his friends and family, who believed in him and the project. Fabian put his life savings into his dream in addition to the money invested by other family members and friends. Once the bank saw the level of investment from Fabian, they felt confident in loaning the rest of the money for the project. A 20-year lease was signed, with the bank paying for 80% of all the equipment, leaving the remaining 20% on Fabian and MGA Sports.

Fabian offers advice to anyone interested in building a similar facility saying, "Make sure you have a patient and persevering personality first, then make a sensible budget. Finally, triple your budget and you should be OK." After 3 months, the paperwork was complete and the facility was in the hands of Fabian and MGA Sports. Now the excitement of renovating the facility was about to begin.

Fabian wanted to be able to grow volleyball by offering high level camps, clinics, and other opportunities for juniors and adults. The plan was to have a 12 court facility in order to be able to offer a variety of programs. Also, by having a 12-court facility, SMASH Volleyball could become a bigger club offering more opportunities for junior girls and begin to offer boys volleyball as well.

Learn how the renovation process began and continued during the past few months in the next post.

Do you have questions for Fabian or Ivan? Make sure to post them on the blog!

About the Author: Ivan Dashkov is the Director of Marketing and Digital Media at MGA Sports. He has been involved in volleyball for the past decade. He is currently a coach at SMASH volleyball. He graduated from Ithaca College in May of 2011 and was awarded the Ithaca College Professional Excellence Award in Sport Management and Media. At Ithaca, He served as an assistant coach to the Division III volleyball team. He played college club volleyball and received All-Conference honors his junior year. Ivan grew up in Massachusetts and was originally born in Kazakhstan.


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