By Jackie Glosniak
The professional baseball players at Wrigley Field and “The Cell” have long struck-out for the season, but in the heart of Berwyn’s Depot District, young local athletes continue to perfect their swings during the cold winter months at Bounce Sports.
At the new sports complex, at 3310 Grove Ave., the smell of fresh paint, the crack of baseballs on bats and the swoosh of soccer balls into nets greets patrons at the front door.
Bounce Sports is a new indoor sports facility catering specifically to youth active in travel sports. The location features over 17,000 square feet of batting cages, pitching tunnels, a turf practicing field, and a basketball court. The business is centrally located for youth club baseball, softball, soccer, and basketball teams in nearby suburbs.
The venue, which celebrated its grand opening this past October, is described by owner Chris Bell as “the Dave & Buster’s of the youth sports market.”
With the growth of youth club and travel sports in the Chicago suburbs, Bell believes his facility is just what Berwyn and its neighboring suburbs have been long overdue for.
“There was a market out there that we needed to fill for local athletics,” Bell said. “We work with public and private sports organizations that are looking for more local training.”
Mike Turco, manager and baseball instructor at Bounce Sports, also saw the opportunities in the near western suburbs.
“Before Bounce, nothing in the area existed that could relate, at least not within a good 10 miles of Berwyn,” Turco said.
Berwyn officials originally slated the Bounce location to be a supermarket, but plans fell through. Bell and Turco’s bid to turn the space into an indoor sports training facility was the best Berwyn officials received.
Bell and Turco pointed to several factors in their choice.
“Berwyn was the friendliest town business-wise,” said Turco. “We also thought it was the best business to bring people who don’t live in Berwyn to come out to Berwyn.”
After approval for Bounce Sports to move into Berwyn, Bell and a few of his friends stepped in and negotiated a contract with the town.
“We have a $450,000 investment in the facility, with most of the money coming from private funding and some from the town,” Bell explained.
Bounce Sports offers various services at its location, including baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, and basketball training. Trainers and coaches for all sports programs are well known instructors who have years of experience working with players at the elementary, high school, and collegiate levels. Bounce Sports prides itself on the fact that their trainers and coaches have worked with players from the pee-wee level to the all-state level and uses that to market the facility as a place with fun and challenging programs.
Many local school and travel teams have started going to Bounce Sports to practice both in and out of season, including the Chicagoland Panthers baseball club, Berwyn Bash softball club, and various athletic teams from the Morton High School district.
Tierney Duffy, a college freshman softball player from neighboring suburb North Riverside loves the idea of a new sports facility close to home. Currently playing at Lawrence University in Wisconsin, Duffy has played for various teams and travel clubs throughout her career, including the varsity team at Riverside Brookfield High School and the Lemont Rockers. She has never been able to practice at a year-round facility close to home, and has often had to travel close to an hour to different suburban facilities.
“I would definitely like to check out Bounce Sports,” Duffy said, who is now home from school for winter break. “Practicing is hard enough with school, but if the location is more local, then it’s less of a burden and more enjoyable to practice.”
Brookfield resident Jordan Krikie also is interested in checking out Bounce Sports. She currently plays soccer for the Chicago Inter Soccer club, which practices at Riverside Brookfield High School during the warmer months.
“Our team would be willing to check out a new facility,” Krikie said. “We are always willing to go to new places and play new teams.”
“So far, we have a nice base of customers,” Bell explained. “We’re really here to serve the community.”
Bounce Sports is currently looking into the possibility of opening up multiple locations, including around Chicago, the North Shore suburbs, Elmhurst, Crete, and River Forest.
Anyone interested in checking out the facilities at Bounce Sports is invited to check them out at bouncesportsplex.com or call at 630-430-0717