Husband and wife team are bringing i9 Sports to their hometowns
Justin Ward, shown above with his wife and daughter, has always known that he wanted to work in youth sports. Growing up, he played basketball, baseball, soccer, and track. He graduated with a sports management degree from Florida State University in 2011.
After graduation, Justin found a position at i9 Sports® as the program director in the counties of Hernando, Citrus, and Sumter (Florida). Later, his role expanded to program director in Gainesville and Ocala as well.
Justin later moved to the YMCA as a Sports and Camp Director. Eventually, a promotion with the Y took him to Houston for three years. But Justin and his wife, Tabatha, who both grew up in Citrus County, wanted to move back to Florida. They were excited when an opportunity to buy the Pensacola i9 Sports territory opened in 2021.
Returning to i9 Sports
They bought the territory and now have leagues in Pensacola, Fort Walton Beach, and Destin. Spring 2022 was their first — and very successful — season. Almost 400 kids enrolled in soccer, flag football, and T-ball, almost twice what’s expected for a first season.
And they just purchased the Hernando/Citrus/Sumter territory.
“I would be lying if I said that buying a second territory was in our two-year plan of joining i9 Sports,” Justin says. ”But opportunity rarely ever presents itself at the time you’re ready for it. It was one of those things where we talked about it, and we were like ‘This is something we absolutely need to do.’
“It’s perfect timing because all of my friends have kids that are the right age for i9 Sports programs. Everyone that we went to high school with and friends from the community are very excited.” Justin and Tabatha have a daughter, Cori, 10, who plays soccer.
Justin says they’re excited to give kids a chance to play sports and to teach sportsmanship, how to work as a team, how to lead, and more. He says he loves that the i9 Sports business model offers so many resources and templates, which allows owners to focus on creating quality programs.
“All of the other things have been done for you. The home office support that we receive is so incredible.”
If you’re thinking about owning an i9 Sports business, Justin says to take the leap and do your research. Understand the territory where you’ll be operating and get to know your contacts.
“If you can do all that legwork before coming to training, you’ll have such a head start. That’s what we did when we bought Pensacola so that when we finalized the purchase, we already had a really good game plan.”
There’s never been a better time to own an i9 Sports business. With our startup costs and the ability to scale your business, i9 Sports is an exciting opportunity. Download our free ebook to learn more.
Related: Another i9 Sports franchise review.