September 2016 Partner SportsDog Award: Go Big Sports
SportsDog Value: Teamwork
Award Winner: Rich Klares
Previous Winner: Michele DeJuliis of Ultimate Goal Lacrosse Club
Rich Klares of Go Big Sports grew up as a four-sport athlete in New York. Splitting his time between soccer in the fall, skiing in the winter, lacrosse in the spring, and baseball in the summer, Rich knows playing multiple sports throughout the year made him a better athlete.
His first love, however, is lacrosse. He played baseball all the way through 10th grade until he picked up a lacrosse stick. Since then, lacrosse has been the focal point of his life. His career has taken him from playing lacrosse at the University of Massachussetts, to coaching at the high school and the college levels, to founding Go Big Lacrosse out of his garage in 2013.
Based out of Warrenton, Virginia, Rich and the Go Big team are dedicated to improving youth players’ lacrosse games through training, knowledge, and resources of his camps and clinics. In just a few short years, Rich’s Go Big program has seen so much growth that now Go Big is expanding into football programs as well, hence the name change to Go Big Sports.
Rich has always appreciated the value in playing multiple sports. Not a fan of sport specialization, he has a sense of multi-sport teamwork that the LeagueApps office truly commends. He wants to see more youth athletes play not just Lacrosse, but other sports as well. That’s what multi-sport teamwork means.
But if you ask Rich, it’s his partnership and teamwork with LeagueApps that he truly appreciates. He loves the “all-in-one” platform of LeagueApps that handles everything League Athletics, Active, and some private software solutions failed to handle.
“Every time I’ve had an issue with anything you guys have done, it’s been fixed or addressed, no questions asked,” he said. “How many times have you been to a retail store or restaurant or a business, and you give a suggestion and they say, ‘that’s a great idea?’ And all it is to them is a great idea. It never becomes what makes a part of LeagueApps so successful and me so successful.”
It’s clear that sense of teamwork is evident with Rich even when you talk to him on the phone for the first time. Like any good teammate, Rich is receptive and warm to anyone on his team- be it his kids in his programs, his football coaches, or the LeagueApps team.
His favorite part of the day is working with kids and watching them gain that “ah-ha” moment. That could be something as simple as proper hand positioning on a stick for a brand new player, or watching the offensive approach change on for a seasoned vet. When he sees the light coming on in a young player, he calls it “pure magic.”
“I didn’t get into this business to set up websites. I didn’t do it to create emails. I did it to watch more of those moments. When I deal with LeagueApps, I have more time to deal with more of those ah-ha moments because my life has gotten simpler.”
Two years ago at the NCAA Lacrosse Final Four, he had kids that he coached on every team in Division I, II, and II, save for Tufts University. His programs have worked with LeagueApps investor Paul Rabil and Florida Launch goalie Brett Quenner, to name a few.
Rich got into coaching after September 11, 2001. After losing his father in the South Tower, he was determined to install the values of his father into as many young people as possible. That was his way of getting even. That was his ah-ha moment.
Since that day, Rich has gone full steam into this idea. For months at a time at his previous lacrosse company, he would run the camps all day and then work the men’s league until 11 o’clock at night. His coworkers and teammates would call him the “Iron Man” during these months.
After working with other travel teams and coaching different schools, Rich founded Go Big out of his house in 2013 on a whim. It took years of developing relationships and over a decade of teamwork for his idea to come to fruition. He understands the true value of teamwork and how it can grow himself as a person and his business.
His courage to found the Go Big Sports program is what he is most proud of. This idea has evolved into recruiting, apparel, camps, clinics, and now multi-sports. LeagueApps is excited for our teammate Rich to continue to grow his program and form new relationships as a team.
“You guys get it. You guys understand that if I’m successful, that means you’re successful. I can’t say enough how wonderful it is to be a part a company that really does care about what I have to say.”