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Meet Chris Vertrees of Sportsplex USA in Poway & Santee

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chris Vertrees.

Chris, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was raised in Escondido and graduated high school in 1995. I was the oldest sibling of five children in a family that was very poor and relied on welfare for our basic needs. For large periods of time during my childhood, we were homeless and relied on financial assistance for our basic needs. I started working at the age of 16 for the Palomar YMCA in Escondido; which completely changed my life. The YMCA helped me tremendously and I was very fortunate to have the support of encouraging supervisors who helped me to grow in my confidence and my desire for a better life.

Through the YMCA, I was able to receive grants and scholarships that allowed me to be the first in my family to graduate with a BS from Springfield College in Massachusetts. My early goal was to become an Executive Director for a YMCA. Following my graduation, I became a Program Director for the Peninsula YMCA in Pt. Loma and continued to work for several YMCAs in SD County for the next five years. The skills I learned through my YMCA experience were invaluable and set the foundation for my future career. My confidence continued to grow and I became passionate for public speaking, which I am still very passionate about. I joined Toastmasters and within a year, I became the President of my club. I participated in several public speaking competitions in my 10 years as a member.

In 2003, at the age of 25, I formed my own business called San Diego Sports Alliance managing adult recreational sports programs around San Diego County. I had been involved in recreational sports for many years and had a strong understanding of Sportsplex USA Poway which originally opened in 1994. At that time, they had one facility located in Poway which is a 16-acre sports park. I was approached by the President of the park to manage their recently constructed soccer arena and roller hockey arena. From 2003 to 2008, I managed my business (SDSA) facilitating youth and adult sports leagues and programs at Sportsplex USA Poway. In late 2008, Sportsplex USA was preparing to open its second location in Santee, which opened on June 1, 2010. Demonstrating my knowledge and skills as it related to marketing and sponsorship programs, the President offered me the opportunity to serve as the Director of Marketing and Corporate Partnerships for both Sportsplex USA facilities. At this time, I had an opportunity to come back to the YMCA to serve as the Associate Executive Director for the Palomar YMCA in Escondido.

After taking a month to evaluate the decision, I chose to accept the position with Sportsplex USA which has proven to be the best career decision I have made. For the last 10 years, I have served in this capacity with Sportsplex USA which has allowed me to work directly with hundreds of local businesses, non-profit organizations, professional sports franchises and other entities. I have been able to grow in my knowledge of recreational sports marketing by specializing in corporate partnerships and developing effective marketing strategies for businesses looking to promote their products or services to a prime demographic. I have worked with hundreds of businesses ranging from large Fortune 500 companies to small businesses with a limited marketing budget. I am a member of several professional organizations and chambers of commerce. I continue to learn and develop new marketing techniques designed to help all businesses grow while supporting youth and adult recreational sports activities. I continue to serve as a YMCA volunteer by helping to raise money each year through their annual fundraising campaign. I am currently engaged to an amazing woman and will be getting married in Puerto Vallarta in February 2020. My fiance and I live with our two dogs in Little Italy and will make San Diego our lifetime home. I hope to continue to grow with Sportsplex USA and to one day pass along my experiences through public speaking to inspire young adults to achieve their professional goals despite their economic or family circumstances. I am forever grateful to those early mentors who supported me and wish to use my experiences to help others.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I have faced several challenges in my life which has helped me to become the person I am today. I firmly believe that our challenges in life serve as the foundation of personal and professional growth. I started out life facing the harsh reality of financial hardship and instability. My family was very poor and I lived through long periods of homelessness combined with two drug-addicted parents. If not for the loving support of close friends whose parents supported me as one of their own, I would not be in the position I’m in today. As the oldest sibling of 5, I felt a great responsibility to not allow my circumstances to continue the vicious cycle of financial insecurity and drug abuse. I found salvation through my first job at the YMCA and positive mentors who helped me to create a plan to graduate college and become a professional. Following my college graduation, I become the primary caretaker of my younger siblings and made sure they were taken care of. Having this background, I am prepared to take on other professional challenges that may seem more severe to those who didn’t have the childhood I had. I take on each challenge, both personal and professional, with a positive outlook and don’t allow problems to be perceived larger than they really are. I know how to face obstacles by examining the issue from a root cause and not allow a minor problem to out-weigh the bigger picture.

Sportsplex USA – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Sportsplex USA operates San Diego’s premier sports and recreational complexes via Public/Private partnerships with two locations in Poway and Santee. Each 20-acre facility has three softball fields, two soccer arenas, batting cages and is the only sports complex of it’s kind with an onsite sports bar & restaurant serving 8 draft beers, wine and great food items. Sportsplex USA offers year-round adult recreational softball and indoor soccer leagues for men and women of all playing ability. Currently, each facility has over 5000 active adult sports players who participate in weekly league games. Each facility offers Saturday youth soccer leagues for children ages 3 to 17 four seasons each year. Most weekends of the year, Sportsplex USA hosts major youth and adult softball or baseball tournaments. Most of these tournaments are either youth girl’s softball or youth boy’s baseball which draw teams from around San Diego County or from outside of the county. In some tournaments, Sportsplex USA draws teams from around the country or internationally. In addition, Sportsplex USA hosts several large corporate events and company picnics for some of the largest employers in the county. For the last ten years, I have served as the Director of Marketing and Corporate Partnerships. I specialize in developing marketing strategies for companies large and small through a variety of methods. These include branding/signage at both parks, field and arena naming rights, onsite promotions, and social media and direct email campaigns. I work with for-profits, non-profits, local school districts, professional sports franchises and other various entities to develop strategic campaigns designed to engage and build relationships with our players, parents, spectators and staff.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
As a result of my upbringing, I value success in a variety of ways. Initially, success for me was simply being financially stable. After entering the workforce, my only dream was to be able to support myself and those I loved without fear of financial instability. In my professional and personal growth, at the age of 42, I have come to realize that success is being able to motivate others to pursue their own dreams and goals. To help cultivate the confidence needed to take the risks necessary for growth. I value success as to how I am perceived among my peers, colleagues, and close friends. I feel successful when someone values my advice and I’m able to support them to achieve their goals.


  • Adult Softball or Indoor Soccer Leagues at Sportsplex USA are $640 for 10 game season which includes umpires, game balls, and league management.
  • Youth Indoor Soccer leagues range in price from $49 to $99 per player which varies at Sportsplex USA Poway or Santee.
  • Corporate events start at $19.95 per person for full facility usage and a BBQ food buffet including unlimited fountain drinks.
  • Sponsorships and Advertising opportunities are available to companies with any size marketing budget.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Michael McKenna

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