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Upper 90 Management Leadership Team & Community Impact

Upper 90 Management Co., LLC: Leadership Team & Community Impact

Upper 90 Management Co., LLC and its leadership team have been dedicated to providing the most comprehensive soccer and athletic development programs in our community for athletes, teams, and organizations since 2007.  With integrated training and competition solutions for players of any ability, gender and commitment level from ages 3 to adult, ranging from recreational to collegiate and professional programs, Upper 90 is THE solution. 

Upper 90 connects and enhances the soccer community in many ways, including some you may not know:

  • SuperKick’s 62,500 square foot, best in class, climate controlled training facility delivers top level soccer programming and athletic development opportunities, and has made a dramatic impact on players, teams, clubs and schools in the community since 2007.
  • Since 2015, we have led and directed Classics Eagles, which now offers a competitive, community based travel soccer program. This unique “no-tryout program” allows players to develop, compete and enjoy an enhanced soccer experience under qualified coaches who receive professional support and guidance from our directors.  This allows for a fee structure and time commitment that align well with the goals of the participants and families. A variety of supplemental training options can be added for those who wish to do more, with even more innovative options to be offered for the 2019-2020 seasonal year. Classics Eagles also supports recreational soccer in our community through a partnership with OYAA Recreation Soccer, providing resources, programming and coach support for this vital program.
  • In 2018, our leadership team made a bold decision to change the landscape of club soccer in our community and engaged with global soccer power FC Barcelona to transition the Classics Eagles Premier program to Barça Academy Columbus. Why? Because it offered an unmatched opportunity to deliver the most globally respected player development methodology to our community’s youth soccer players of all ages and genders, tied to a value system of Humility, Effort, Ambition, Respect and Teamwork (H.E.A.R.T). This proven “soccer school”  approach increases quality control, accountability, results and fun at every level, including players, coaches, directors and parents. We believe that over the long term, Barça Academy Columbus will be the most respected player development platform for U6-U19 boys and girls.
  • The Upper 90 leadership team has a  passion to “pay forward” in our local, regional and global community through many charitable initiatives.  Many soccer organizations claim that “non-profit status” alone signifies their value or defines their intentions. We believe that our strong track record of actions, deeds and reinvestment to improve our local community and beyond is the true measure of community impact.
  • Since 2007, Upper 90 has been a Corporate Partner and Official Indoor Training Facility for MLS’ original club, Columbus Crew SC.  This special relationship provides many unique opportunities for our community, ranging from helping our club based players earn opportunities in the Columbus Crew Development Academy to special match day experiences and events.

The Upper 90 leadership team brings over 90 years of combined experience and features a comprehensive and complementary skill set focused on developing and driving solutions for athletes, teams and organizations.

  • Jim Waters, CEO & Founder: Over 30 years of business, entrepreneurial and leadership experience with a strong history of community involvement. Former Division I (Ohio State) soccer player with over 20 years of soccer coaching experience at the recreational, club and high school levels. Jim founded and built SuperKick Columbus in 2007 after a 20 year career in another industry, based on a passion for the sport and the desire to “change the game” in our community.
  • Brian Smith, President & COO:  Over 20 years of experience in physical therapy, athletic development, business management, and entrepreneurial ventures.  A physical therapist by training who founded his own athletic development business, Brian also served as Sports Performance Trainer for Columbus Crew SC early in the club’s history.  Brian has been an integral part of the Upper 90 team from day one, initially as Director of Sports Performance, evolving into a key leader and driver of process and strategy in the organization.
  • Mike Lentz, Executive Director: Over 20 years of coaching and soccer organization management experience, with an unrivaled dedication, work ethic and passion for developing youth soccer players at all levels in our community. Mike has impacted tens of thousands of players from recreational to college levels through his commitment to the beautiful game. Mike was co-founder of Classics Eagles FC in 2009, fostering major growth in the program. In 2015, Mike joined the “Upper 90 Management” leadership team and has been integral in delivering programs for the benefit of our community.
  • Tony Earp, Director: Tony began his professional career as a high school teacher after earning a Masters in Education, but quickly determined that his passion and desire for teaching translated best to the soccer pitch. Tony has made a major impact on the soccer community during his tenure. With Brian Smith and Jim Waters, Tony developed SuperKick’s spectrum of training programs, and is widely respected as one of the finest teachers of soccer in the region. Tony now serves as Director of Classics Eagles, leading this community based competitive soccer program into the future and also providing high level soccer training experiences to individuals,  groups and teams. Tony had a decorated soccer career at The Ohio State University, leading the team to its first Big Ten Championship and NCAA Tournament appearance.

Upper 90 is powered by a core management team that is dynamic and driven to serve, making the Upper 90 vision become reality. Key full time staff include Heidi DeNoi, one of the most experienced directors of soccer club operations in the region, Braden Bell, who directs soccer programming at SuperKick, Miquel Gasparin (directly from FC Barcelona), Technical Director for Barça Academy Columbus and Kirby Valle, Director of Goalkeeping & Marketing Manager. Our extended cast of over 40 coaches, trainers and operations staff are aligned to deliver the best possible experience.

There are many options for youth soccer and athletic development in our community, we hope you will consider this information as you decide who to entrust the development of your player. We encourage you to ask challenging questions to any provider. Please contact jwaters@superkickcolumbus.com for more information.