Syracuse Development Academy

New SDA training center gives us our own place

Teams began training in February in SDA’s gleaming new indoor training center in the Seneca Knolls Market Place in Baldwinsville.

“It was time. We needed our own place,” says Mike Paolini, SDA’s director of soccer.

Soccer balls have replaced bowling balls in the space previously occupied by the 24-lane Thunderbird Lanes bowling alley, which closed in spring 2015. Now the building contains a turf field that can accommodate 7 v 7 games, a futsal court that doubles as a sport court for speed and agility training, plus an area for stretching and warming up.

SDA coach Jim Baranello and a business partner last April purchased the shopping strip at 7252 State Fair Blvd. and renovated the bowling alley. SDA now leases the space. The strip also includes a grocery store, pizza restaurant and Chinese restaurant.

Baranello and Paolini say it was tough to imagine what the space could become.

“After the demolition was complete and we knew what space we had, then we designed it sort of on the fly,” Baranello describes. “We looked at a lot of different types of turf and padding and flooring.”

After receiving feedback from the annual SDA survey, it revealed that parents would not only appreciate a nice soccer facility, but one with clean bathrooms and reliable Internet access, Paolini says. We implemented features in the facility that people were asking for so those two features are included in the new center.

He hopes to add a team meeting room with a smart TV where teams can discuss tactics. “We’re also considering trying to get some bikes or treadmills or some free weights. That way, kids who are injured can still go to training and work out while they’re watching their team train,” he says.

SDA needed its own center because renting field space at other indoor training facilities has become tricky. Other facilities are become booked with lacrosse, flag football, soccer leagues and other activities.

“We’re still growing in numbers,” Paolini says, explaining that most SDA teams do some of their training in the new center — but not all of it. “We still train at the other facilities in town and we still need to train and play in leagues and tournaments at all of the indoor centers.”

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