Sports & Recreation  February 9, 2024

Softball training facility to open in west Greeley 

GREELEY — A softball training facility that has been operating on a temporary basis in Johnstown will open soon in west Greeley, but training activities will begin at the new site as early as Monday.

Tacoma, Washington-based EL1 Sports, a national youth sports training company, is expanding its footprint to Colorado by launching the Alliance Performance Center NoCo at 2211 115th Ave. to support the development and operations of softball tournaments sanctioned by Colorado USA Softball.

The facility, being built by Greeley-based Roche Constructors Inc. near the intersection of U.S. Highway 34 and Colorado Highway 257, will include retail space, a full weight room, eight batting cages, four pitching bullpens, a data lab and an open turf area for training.

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Roche has built several area recreational facilities, including the expansion of the physical education and recreation center at Aims Community College.

Zack Bauer, the project manager for Roche, said his company began work on the project Jan. 8 and is about done with office spaces, a half wall for spectators and restrooms in the building, which covers more than 23,000 square feet.

“The way it’s listed for occupancy, we had to add a few more restrooms” to satisfy Greeley city codes, Bauer said.

“This is a very dynamic project,” he said. “We had great subcontractors. This is the first time I’ve done something for a client like this.”

Alliance, formerly the Colorado Softball Academy, had been using a temporary facility at 320 Gateway Drive in Johnstown since 2022.

“Through our collaborations with The Alliance Fastpitch and Colorado USA Softball, we are building on our continued dedication to growing the game of softball,” Griff Long, CEO of EL1 Sports, said in a prepared statement. “We’re thrilled about the enhanced softball experiences that Alliance Performance Center and the new tournaments will bring to the region. Together, we aim to elevate the sport, provide high-quality resources and operations, and create exciting new opportunities for athletes and families in Colorado.”

The new Alliance Performance Center will be EL1’s first facility dedicated exclusively to softball as part of its multi-year partnership with The Alliance Fastpitch that was announced in September 2022. The training facility will expand on the organizations’ shared goal of accelerating the growth and unity of women’s fastpitch softball from youth through professional levels.

The collaboration will help the facility serve not only current players but also more players and families; expand its current staff; add new camps, clinics, and lessons for individuals and teams; introduce new instructional and administrative technologies; and open up new opportunities for area athletes.

“The Alliance Performance Center will support our efforts to better serve our fastpitch community by opening up new opportunities for local athletes to train, compete, and become leaders when they walk through the facility’s doors,” said Jami Lobpries, CEO of The Alliance. “Our partnership with EL1 combines The Alliance’s mission and network with EL1’s highly regarded instruction, technology, and back-end operational and administrative support that help us take our offerings to the next level. We’re excited to continue on this journey together and hope this is the first of many Alliance Performance Centers.”

“Softball is a foundation to reach female athletes, build their confidence, and set them up for success on and off the field,” said Ashlie Rowley, general manager of The Alliance Performance Center. “The Colorado Softball Academy facility was built to give kids everything they need to train – mentally, physically and emotionally. EL1 and The Alliance Fastpitch bring an incredible network of resources, and will help take the opportunities in this facility to the next level.”

EL1 already operates tournaments sanctioned by Colorado USA Softball. Throughout this year, a total of 218 indoor games are scheduled to be conducted throughout six tournaments, spanning ages 10 through 18 with more than 120 teams registered for the events.

EL1 has 25 owned and operated softball and baseball training facilities across the country, and envisions itself as an alliance for improving and uniting the softball community. EL1 and Alliance are working to improve traditional tournament formats and scheduling, provide more reasonable pricing, offer additional umpiring crews and reinstate opportunities for national berths for Colorado softball teams.

In 2023, EL1 added eight new facilities and now operates in nine states. In March 2022 it entered into a partnership with Major League Baseball as its “youth baseball and softball training partner,” and in July 2022 it acquired Quickball, a fast-paced baseball and softball sport and instructional program.

Founded in 2020, Alliance Fastpitch is a national league system focused on organizing and unifying fastpitch softball through nine regional member leagues including the Rocky Mountain Fastpitch League and a network of athletes, coaches and parents.

A softball training facility that has been operating on a temporary basis in Johnstown will open soon in west Greeley, but training activities will begin at the new site as early as Monday.

Dallas Heltzell
With BizWest since 2012 and in Colorado since 1979, Dallas worked at the Longmont Times-Call, Colorado Springs Gazette, Denver Post and Public News Service. A Missouri native and Mizzou School of Journalism grad, Dallas started as a sports writer and outdoor columnist at the St. Charles (Mo.) Banner-News, then went to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch before fleeing the heat and humidity for the Rockies. He especially loves covering our mountain communities.
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