With few sports-camp options available to her sports-minded kids in her Riverdale neighborhood, Deena Diaz often had to travel to upstate New York or northern New Jersey to find a gymnastics venue for her children. So she decided to create a sports facility for kids in the area. Now, 10 years later, USC Gymnastics and Baseball has just expanded to a new, larger space that can accommodate the growing number of families coming to the facility.
Diaz has always been a big sports fan. Her husband, Andy, competed in gymnastics and played baseball, and he shared that passion with his family. Diaz was inspired to start the business so she could help improve the community and the lives of the kids who live in it. “I was excited to bring sports to the Bronx because there is not much like it around here,” she said. “It is a big family community, and USC is definitely great for the community.”
The gym offers recreational and competitive sports. Both gymnastics and baseball instruction focus on the individual and basic skills. On the gymnastics side, there are plenty of levels of classes and camps, all of which follow USGA guidelines, as well as a pre-team group and a competitive team. The team has had some recent success competing around the tri-state area, with a first-place finish in vault by one girl and a third-place finish in beam by another in the New York state competition, making them some of the best gymnasts of their age in the whole state. On the baseball side, there is a big focus on fundamentals in individual and group settings. There is also emphasis on teamwork and confidence, providing a great combination of all the skills needed to be a successful athlete. Classes and clinics are for all ages, from age 3 to adult.
USC just recently moved and rebranded. After outgrowing the original facility, it moved to a much bigger facility with a storefront on Broadway, making it easier for families to attend classes and camps. The move also brought it closer to the Riverdale community, in which many participants reside. The bigger space allows for gymnastics and baseball each to have its own floor, whereas before they were sharing a more confined space. With the extra space come more equipment and a bigger capacity. There is also a cafe and juice bar that will be on the first floor, along with new adult programing in which to partake while kids are in a class or camp. All of these additions are making the new facility quite desirable and a great place to spend one’s afternoon or evening.
USC is very accommodating to observant Jews. All programs that are on Saturdays also occur on Sundays or another day of the week. This ensures that no one has to miss programs or classes because they are on Shabbat. Also, all camps and birthday parties have kosher options for food, and all of the snacks provided at the facility are kosher. Diaz said that about a third of her participants are Jewish, most of them from the Riverdale community.
How does USC stand out from all other sports facilities? “We are a family-owned business run by residents of Riverdale for 15 years,” Diaz said. “We treat all of our clients like family and we pride ourselves in encouraging, challenging and inspiring children through the sports of gymnastics and baseball.”
Learn more about USC and its programs at http://uscgymnasticsandbaseball.com.
By Zach Marcus