Twenty years is a long time. Over two decades, a small-scale recreation sports outfit comprise of a handful of teams has exploded into a 2,000-team, 150,000-player powerhouse serving most of the Delaware Valley.
Roxborough-based Philadelphia Sport and Social Club will ring in 2013 by celebrating its 20th year anniversary, providing adults in Philadelphia, West Chester, Lancaster and beyond with healthy competition and life-long friendships.
In 1993, PSSC debuted with co-ed outdoor volleyball games at 26th and Pine Streets. Chicago-based Worldwide Sport and Social owned the company, and began expanding with football and softball leagues.
Back then Conshohocken resident Tom McAndrew joined up for a volleyball league. Little did he know, he would "play just about every sport" and continue with the recreation league 20 years later.
"Obviously, everyone like to get involved in competition. That, coupled with a social league, makes it fun. As you play in a league, you get to know other people, you go out afterwards and become friends," he said.
Co-owners Tim Horan of West Chester and Dan Feeney of Ardmore didn't launch the company in 1993. However, when the duo acquired the company, Philadelphia Sport and Social really took off.
In the early 1990s, Tim Horan got coerced into playing co-ed touch football.
"As soon as I set foot on the field, I realized I loved the organization," he said, describing 10 fields of young adults, grilling, playing sports and hanging out.
"It's a fantastic way to spend a Saturday and make some friends. Then i realized someone gets paid to do this."
Horan continued to play and slowly got involved. By 2004, he became a full-time employee after being part-time for almost a decade.
As a Villanova student, Feeney interned with the company when he met Horan. Over what Horan calls a "long, six-year process" they laid out a roadmap of how grow the company greatly.
"Tim and I always thought it wouldn't be taken to the next level until local owners took over—and not folks from Chicago," Feeney said.
In 2006, the two purchased PSSC and looked to take the company to the big time. Feeney said they cut unnecessary expenses, found new places to play, immediately invested in a new director and expanded the full-time staff, which he said "made a huge difference."
Over the past few years, PSSC expanded its Philadelphia and surrounding towns connections to different markets. Now PSSC has leagues in South Jersey, West Chester, Lancaster and Allentown. They also host nearly every sport, and now have bar game leagues.
Horan worked at PSSC when it first came to Manayunk, located on the fourth floor of the Mad River building. Being in Philly, was important to Philadelphia Sport and Social, he said. "We used to be criticized to be called 'Philly Sport and Social', to not have leagues in the city. So we worked hard to fight that stigma."
The company eventually relocated to 3800 Manayunk Avenue, where it still remains.
Feeney and Horan talked about how much changed in managing the teams over time. The Internet—and Facebook specifically—got rid of mailing out standings and newsletters.
"Still our greatest marketing tool is word of mouth, and that is aided by Facebook with people posting pictures and status updates," Feeney said
For more information on the Philadelphia Sport and Social Club, visit its website.