By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/18/23
John Bickel believes people of all ages, gender and abilities should get the opportunity to play athletics in a venue that’s inviting.
And after opening Berwyn Sports Club just 7 months ago, he’s happy to say he’s already witnessed a wide range of athletes trying to fulfill their dreams, whether they are shooting for a college scholarship or just the chance to have fun.
“We’ve had 4-, 5- and 6-year-olds playing field hockey and college and professional players here doing their training,” said Bickel. “It’s incredible; to think that we could get that spectrum in one place is amazing.
“All of these kids are either in the beginning of figuring out what dreams there are, and we have others who are chasing full-blown dreams. It’s pretty cool to see thousands of kids that have come through during the weeks.”
Bickel is a former lacrosse player and high school coach and current club lacrosse coach/director who saw the need for a state-of-the-art sports center in the region. Berwyn Sports Club was built over 10 acres in Tredyffryn Township and features a 35,000-square-foot field house, a fitness and 7,000-foot training facility, a full outdoor turf field and two grass practice areas for lacrosse and field hockey.
The Berwyn Sports Club, a 501 non-profit and private club, is located off Cassatt Road, not far from Rt. 202 in Chester County. It features huge windows and large garage-door openings with a mezzanine area for spectators that surrounds the entire fieldhouse.
Bickel said the club has attracted a wide variety of organizations, including youth, township and high school teams playing lacrosse as well as field hockey and baseball. He said soccer teams also will come.
“It’s exciting seeing all the kids here, whether it’s for individual training, lessons, play days or you name it,” Bickel said. “The kids are embracing it.”
One organization that runs training at Berwyn is Blue Ox Lacrosse, led by Matt Mackrides, also the rookie head coach at National power Malvern Prep. Mackrides has almost 300 players in his boys’ and girls’ winter training, which he can split up in area throughout the indoor complex.
“My first experience here was in the summer when Malvern Prep had an alumni event and we did a clinic for our incoming freshmen, so we got to experience the outside area,” said Mackrides. “Now, we’re playing inside in the winter and the place is huge.”
Bickel said the need for an indoor-outdoor complex for lacrosse and other sports was clear. Berwyn Sports Club has a unique setup with the garage openings leading to the outdoor turf field. In the back it has a 40×80-yard grass field and a 35×35-yard field. There is ample room for players to throw against the wall inside or outside.
Berwyn Sports Club also features a full-time Performance Coach, Troy Gallen (Malvern Prep grad). Gallen, a former football player at Delaware who also was a Division 1 track athlete, is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the NSCA and holds a special interest in Speed Development for all athletes.
Gallen said players seeking a place to train start coming in at 6 a.m. daily and utilize equipment for weight training, speed and agility, flexibility and strength and conditioning.
“We do all skill-based training, such as change of direction and things that complement the athletes’ training,” said Gallen. “We offer access to indoor and outdoor training and we have boys, girls and athletes all the way to the professional level training here.”