Industry Insights


Why Youth Sports Leaders Should Not Miss NextUp 2023

By Melissa Wickes
September 26, 2023
3 min

If you have friends or family in industries outside of youth sports, you probably hear them talking about the professional development events they attend each year. Whether it’s a company offsite, a conference, a panel, or even a course, there seems to be professional development opportunities all around, in every industry. Every industry except youth sports, that is. 

Youth sports leaders are balancing an ever-dynamic industry with a huge responsibility—creating great experiences for kids—and they’re given little support to do it right or get better each year. 

That’s why we created NextUp: the Youth Sports Management Conference. NextUp is one of the only gatherings of youth sports organizers, coaches, and more where they can learn about and discuss the most important topics in the industry today. It’s a once-a-year opportunity for the best in the industry to learn from one another, bestow their knowledge on others, and network. If you’re a leader in youth sports, it’s a can’t-miss event. 

Here are 6 reasons youth sports leaders should not miss NextUp this year.

Unique to Youth Sports

NextUp is the only conference where the nation’s top youth sports organizers, owners, and administrators all come together to discuss the future of play. It’s all about sharing ideas to boost your businesses and take youth sports to the next level. 

Impressive Speakers

You’ll hear from and connect with some of the best in the youth sports industry and beyond. These playmakers are here to share their secrets, so you can sprinkle that same success into your own game plan. Some of the speakers at this year’s conference include:

  • Danielle Slaton—former USWNT player and analyst for MLS Season Pass, Fox Sports, and the Pac-12 Network (she’s emceeing!)
  • Benita Fitzgerald-Mosley—Olympic gold medalist and CEO, Multiplying Good
  • Jordan Pietrus—Vice President, Total Package Hockey
  • Sarah Padove—Manager, Baseball & Softball Development, Major League Baseball
  • Brendan Sullivan—Founder & President, the Headfirst Companies
  • Steven Sack—Owner, Reimagine Recreation
  • Erin Lhomi—Director of Operations, Fierce United

And more! 

Game-changing Insights

You’ll leave NextUp feeling prepared for seasons to come. We’re diving into the biggest topics in youth sports—like data and AI, facilities, revenue growth, handling parents, player development, and even mergers and acquisitions. More importantly, you’ll learn how to take advantage of these trends to grow your organization and deliver better experiences to your players and parents.

Learn From Others in Your Field

How often are you in a room filled with people who work in youth sports? (Other than when you’re at work). You can use this opportunity to discuss the current state of youth sports with people who live it everyday and get it, just like you. 

Past Attendee Approved

People who come to NextUp love it, so much that they keep coming back. In fact, Brendan Sullivan—Founder & President of the Headfirst Companies—attended NextUp in 2019, attended and spoke at 2022, and is speaking again this year. He also asked LeagueApps for his own referral program so he could bring as many people in his network as possible.

“NextUp lets high-performing leaders learn from each other and take new insights back out into our organizations.” — Chris Goodrum, Pro Skills Basketball and NextUp attendee

“To be among so many people leading the youth sports movement is such a tremendous honor.” — Victoria Arlen, ESPN Host; Gold Medalist; former NextUp emcee

“NextUp is an absolutely stunning and wonderful conference. I haven’t seen anything like it, anywhere.” — Eddie Sutton, Manhattan Soccer Club and NextUp attendee

A trip to NYC!

If you have to travel for work, it helps a lot that it’s to the greatest city in the world! The conference is in the heart of the city and a walk from some of its biggest landmarks—like Times Square, Radio City, Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, Broadway, Madison Square Garden, and Bryant Park. 

While you’re in town, make the most of it and do as the New Yorkers do—eat. Stop by Angelo’s Coal Oven Pizzeria (less than a mile from the venue on 57th street) for some of the best pizza and penne alla vodka you’ll ever have. If you want a traditional “New York slice,” NY Pizza Suprema is also close by.

Can’t leave without bagels! Best Bagel & Coffee will blow you away, and Ess-a-Bagel on 3rd Ave is another great, closer option.

For a sports bar (for sports people), Sean’s Bar & Kitchen is a great spot to catch the game near the conference.

If you want to transport back in time to NYC in the 20s, try to snag a reservation at Monkey Bar for a burger and french dip. For something a little lower key, PJ Clarke’s is a crowd favorite for similar American grub. 

Have we convinced you yet? There’s more information about the event, including the agenda, at You can also email if you have any specific questions.

Hope to see you there!