Industry Insights

5 Crucial Tips for Youth Sports Facility Management

By Melissa Wickes
June 3, 2024
3 min

Coordinated chaos is how Matt Libber, the Executive Director of the Maryland Soccerplex, describes his job in sports facility management. 

“Yesterday, we had our recreational league playing on about 14 fields. We had outside renters playing in their own leagues on the other 10 fields. We had a basketball tournament in the arena and we had a college lacrosse event with the HBCUs in our stadium for the majority of the day,” he tells me. 

Are you in a similar scenario? Juggling youth sports facility management with all of your other responsibilities—like running youth sports programs, tracking down payments, scheduling, communicating changes, etc.? 

The good news is, you’re not alone. And that’s why we built LeagueApps Facilities—the solution that allows you to easily schedule, view, and manage bookings across all of your spaces in the same place you manage the rest of your organization. 

Beyond using that, Matt Libber offers his best tips for youth sports facilities management, as someone who lives it day in and day out. 

Effective communication

Maryland Soccerplex is a 160-acre youth sports facility with 24 outdoor fields (21 natural grass 3 artificial turf) and a 60,000-square-foot Field House with eight basketball/volleyball courts and two indoor 7 v 7 soccer fields. 

In an overwhelmingly large facility like Maryland Soccerplex, there are so many moving pieces and people doing different things in different places—but at the end of the day, it’s all one team. If one person needs help with something, Matt and his colleagues have no problem jumping over to help out. In fact, his staff is the best thing about his organization, he says.

“I can trust them. I’ll be gone for seven days coming up to go to a conference—I don’t have to worry about it. They’ll take care of things and a lot goes on here that I probably don’t know because they put out the fire before even coming to me,” he says. “You could never run a facility of this size without top-notch staff and I’m thankful for them everyday.”

With that said, great communication solves a lot of problems. The internal team has a weekly staff meeting where they run through the schedule for the week to make sure they’re not missing anything.  

In terms of external organizations that come and use their fieldspace, Matt and his team make sure they know everything that will affect their experience the day-of. 

Get your ducks in a row

This may seem obvious, but making sure you’re actually ready to run a facility in addition to your organization is absolutely essential before making that leap. 

“If you don’t have a plan, you’re going to run into problems,” he says. “You can always fill a sports facility on Saturday and Sunday, but if you can’t find programming Monday to Friday, you’re not going to make it financially viable. You have to fill the space just like hotels.” 

Leadership, team-work, and problem-solving

Finding good people is the most important piece of a well-run facility. Just because you’ve coached soccer or played soccer, he says, doesn’t mean you know how to run a facility. 

“Learning about the HVAC systems, insurance, all of the things that aren’t sexy—that’s how you get a facility running,” says Matt. “I can talk about grass and how to grow grass way beyond I ever thought—and it makes me angry that my lawn at home isn’t as nice as my fields now!”

Years ago, Maryland Soccerplex knew nothing about rugby, but had the opportunity to host rugby events at their facility. The Maryland Soccerplex’s head groundskeeper went to Europe and visited soccer facilities that share space with rugby teams and asked questions about the toll that takes on the grass to make sure he was prepared. Now, they host the Major League Rugby National Collegiate Rugby Sevens championship.

Safety and behavior management

Every person who runs youth sports leagues can relate to the struggle of parent and referee altercations right now—and unfortunately they can often lead to unsafe situations. Similarly, Maryland Soccerplex is a private facility housed in a public park, so managing who comes in and out of the facility is an important and difficult item the team is tasked with as well. 

In response, they’re working with the county to come up with a civility program to help educate the community on proper sideline behavior and how to de-escalate things before they go really awry. 

Another program Maryland Soccerplex hosts to help with this issue is “a quiet weekend” every season, where players are the only ones allowed to speak in the games—parents, coaches, and referees must remain silent. Matt says it’s some of the kids’ favorite weekends of the year. 


The cornerstone of all of these areas of youth sports facility management is technology that will help you with all of the above—communication, scheduling, problem-solving, safety, etc. 

LeagueApps just released its facilities management solutions to help you schedule, view, and manage bookings across all of your spaces—both owned and rented—and sync them directly to your schedule in the LeagueApps mobile app and web dashboards. 

To learn more about how this solution will make your life easier, click here to speak with someone.