Updated: Aug 29, 2019
On September 26, the Oakland Soldiers hosted the Grand Opening of Soldiertown, the Soldiers' recently acquired facility in downtown Oakland. The atmosphere was electric as the crowd milled about the sheen of the newly renovated courts, illuminated by the brilliance of the building's new state of the art lighting above. Soldiertown was a mob scene featuring a Who's Who of Oakland celebrities like Golden State Warrior superstar, and NBA Finals MVP, Andre Iguodala. The Grand Opening was marked by the customary ribbon cutting and speeches, and D.J. Smoke kept everything moving smoothly by spinning a soundtrack that befitted a major Oakland cultural event.
In his remarks to the audience, Oakland Soldiers Director, Mark Olivier, spoke poignantly about how he, his business partner Rick Singer, Head Coach Marshall Collins, and Coach Greg Davis all shared a vision of revolutionizing youth athletic training; they want to shift the emphasis from simply developing competitive skills to the total physical and mental development of the athlete. They also believe that it is essential to integrate this process into the community, and they want Soldiertown to be not only the epicenter of youth sports, but also the epicenter of the community. To that end, the new facility will not only feature the Nike themed store, but also a barbershop and a community garden with more community services to come as the program grows. In addition to basketball, the Soldiers will also field volleyball teams and seven aside football teams, and plans for esports teams are imminent.
Recently the Oakland Soldiers recruited Murray Athletic Development, MAD, to run their Sports Performance Programs. As part of the Soldiertown Grand Opening, MAD conducted Sports Performance basketball clinics which the Soldiers provided to the local boys and girls for free. From 4:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., MAD offered three separate clinics for various age groups, and during those 4 1/2 hours over 100 kids, ranging in age from 8 to 18, participated in the basketball workouts. On October 7, the Soldiers held tryouts for their boys basketball teams, and as part of the player evaluation process, MAD administered drills based on its Mind, Body, Skills Training Program. These consist of exercises focusing on breathing, core strength and conditioning, and balance, which Coach Ali Thomas, MAD's Technical Advisor and Director of Player Development, integrated into basketball specific drills. Once again, well over 100 young athletes took part in the tryouts. The Oakland Soldiers are a hot ticket.