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The Journal Gazette

  • Courtesy Lloy Ball, the owner and director of Team Pineapple Volleyball Club, has partnered with Parkview Sports Medicine to create a nearly 25,000-square-foot facility set to open in Angola in 2018.

  • Ball

Monday, July 17, 2017 1:00 am

New facility a dream for volleyball star

Academy to open in Angola next year

Josh Patterson | For The Journal Gazette

Growing up in a small house in Woodburn, Lloy Ball always cherished his family's annual vacation at the lake. The four-time Olympian also adores his chosen sport of volleyball.

Now, he's looking to share those two loves with others. And his name's right out front.

Ball, the owner and director of Team Pineapple Volleyball Club, has partnered with Parkview Sports Medicine to create the Ball Sports Academy, a nearly 25,000-square foot facility set to open in Angola in 2018.

“It's been a dream of mine, even since before I retired,” Ball said. “People don't realize I've spent nearly five years trying to get this to happen with a lot of turns in the road. I finally found the right spot and the right time, and the infrastructure of our program is good. We can make it work financially, and we're excited.”

The crown jewel of Ball Sports Academy? Three volleyball courts as part of an 18,000-square-foot gym area. The facility could house additional courts soon, as one of the walls is expandable.

“I wouldn't be shocked if we are a 5-6 court facility in three years,” Ball said.

In addition, Parkview Sports Medicine will house a 2,500-square-foot physical therapy facility within the building. This will aid residents of Angola and the surrounding area in recuperating from orthopedic surgery. Instead of driving to Fort Wayne, they'll be able to complete their rehabilitation closer to home.

Along with the physical therapy area, the Academy will feature a concession area, pro shop, office space and a study lounge equipped with Wi-Fi so students can study between school and practice. In addition, a 1,000-square-foot strength and conditioning room is planned for the venue.

“With my name on it, knowing we'll be able to draw 20-30 events a year, we're really excited,” Ball said. “It'll be a game-changer for the community in terms of economic development. It'll let people see that this little gem, with all the lakes by the toll road, is a place to come.”

Currently, Team Pineapple runs events for about eight months annually. Once the Academy opens, Ball has his sights set on turning it into a year-round program.

“Our programming for 2018 will probably quadruple,” Ball said. “We may not offer more teams, but we'll offer more regional programs. We'll start hosting high school programs from all over the state, and we'd like to have college events.”

With Team Pineapple drawing players from all over northeast Indiana, how did Ball decide on Angola? It was simple, really. Realizing his dream of owning a lake cottage at the end of his professional volleyball career, Ball found himself spending more and more time in Angola.

“Finally, my wife said, 'Let's just move up here. You love it, our kids love it,'” Ball said. “Our kids have thrived in the Angola school system. I'm just a small-town guy, and this is just a small town. I'm just super happy to be making an impact in a wonderful place to raise a family.”

And the Academy will serve as Ball's way of giving back to Angola, while also raising awareness of what the area has to offer.

“To have 30,000 to 40,000 more people come through here a year, what that will do in this area will be unbelievable,” Ball said. “Steuben County hasn't done anything like this before, so it's super exciting for our community.”