Matt Paul Sports Basketball-Week 11

Game Summary:

Due to consistent, torrential downpours, the MPFL was cancelled again in week 11. However, the MPBL saw it’s own version of March Madness between the Phillies and the Ballers as the game ended in an 11-11 tie with Ryan Smith hitting the biggest free throw of his young career with all zeros on the clock. Matthew Lee was the captain of the Ballers and Jack Krzywicki was the captain of the Ballers. Both teams played the game the right way sharing the ball and defending without fouling. Philly's Finn Canally and Ryan Smith were looking like Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid the way they were sharing the ball with each other and getting into the paint at will as they combined for 7 of their team’s 11 points. The Ballers saw big performances from Nico Pizzichini, who hit a big jumper as he was fouled for the and1 and Ethan Nienhuis, who was not only looking to score but to get his teammates involved. Ethan continues to show improvement throughout the season. Players from both teams showed great effort ands sportsmanship:(Liam Ambrose, Jack Krzywicki, Sam Smith, Matthew Lee, James Lee, Tristan Loder, Max Endriss, Sean Thorell, Jack Krzywicki, Jacob Scoble and Jackson Stanley).

Game Ball: Finn Canally/Ryan Smith

-Matt Paul Coach/Staff Writer Andrew Kind

Matt Paul Sports Basketball-Week 10

Game Summary:

Due to inclement weather, the MPFL was cancelled in week 10. However, the MPBL saw a continuation from last week’s tie game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Madden Legends. It was one of the best basketball games I have seen all season. Both teams played hard and shared the ball and there was a lot of great defense with few fouls. Seattle’s Mason Eagland had a huge game with six points, four big rebounds and a few nice assists leading his team to a 10-6 victory. Ryan Smith had a great game for the Madden Legends with a few huge buckets and a couple steals. Players from both teams showed great effort ands sportsmanship:(Liam Ambrose, Jack Krzywicki, Sam Smith, Matthew Lee, James Lee, Tristan Loder, Max Eagland, Max Endriss, Jack Krzywicki, Ethan Nienhuis, Jacob Scoble and Jackson Stanley).

Game Ball: Mason Eagland

-Matt Paul Coach/Staff Writer Andrew Kind

Matt Paul Sports Football-Week 9

Game Summary:

Week 9 in the MPFL featured an intense matchup between the Madden Legends and Seattle Seahawks. Ryan Smith led the Madden Legends and Bobby Mullen led the Seattle Seahawks. Both teams played their hearts out in search of a victory. However, the game ended in a 35-35 tie. Tristan Loder was looking like Madden/NFL legend Devin Hester with a huge kick return for a touchdown and he also had an interception. Seattle’s Finn Canally had a big game with two TD passes. Jack Forti and Mason Eagland also had TD receptions for Seattle. Max Endriss of the Madden Legends had the celebration of the week when he broke out the worm after catching a TD pass proving once again why he is a crowd favorite.  Players from both teams showed great effort and sportsmanship (Liam Ambrose, Jack Krzywicki, Sam Smith, Matthew Lee, James Lee, Max Eagland, Sean Thorell, Ethan Nienhuis, Jacob Scoble and Jackson Stanley).

Game Ball: Tristan Loder

-Matt Paul Coach/Staff Writer Andrew Kind

Matt Paul Sports Football-Week 8

Game Summary:

The conditions were perfect for another great day of football and fun in the MPFL. The Kansas City Chiefs, led by captain Ethan Nienhuis, defeated the Los Angeles Chargers and captain Matthew Lee, 35-28. It was another high-scoring affair and overall a good, clean game by both teams with hardly any flags thrown. Both captains had huge games. KC’s Ethan Nienhuis finished with two huge TD catches. Matthew Lee tried to will his team to victory with two TD catches and a crucial first down run. Although his team lost the game, they won the TD celebration battle. Matt choreographed and executed the bowling routine perfectly after his second score. The fans were going crazy! Kansas City’s Jack Krzywicki had a huge game with a touchdown and two picks; including one sliding,TD-saving grab that changed the game. Here are some more stats from other players in the game:

Finn Canally-2 TD passes, 1 TD run.

Tristan Loder-1 TD catch.

Max Endriss-1 TD catch, 1 TD-saving deflection

Jackson Stanley-2 first down catches, 1 TD-saving tackle.

Liam Ambrose-1 first down pass, 1 big block.

Bobby Mullen-1 first down run

Both teams displayed great effort and sportsmanship.

Game Ball: Jack Krzywicki/Matthew Lee

-Matt Paul Coach/Staff Writer Andrew Kind

Matt Paul Sports Football-Week 7

Game Summary:

It was another thrilling thursday in the MPFL. Max Eagland led the Cleveland Browns to a big win over the Seattle Seahawks and their captain Finn Canally, 28-21. It was a high-scoring affair with each team moving the ball effectively on offense. Ultimately, Cleveland’s Jack Forti was just too much with an impressive four TD passes. There are rumors floating around that he could be replacing Baker Mayfield next season. Other notable contributions  were made by Max Endriss who had a big TD reception for the Browns, Mason Eagland with a big special teams kick return TD for Seattle, and Bobby Mullen with a TD reception for Cleveland. All Players on both teams showed great effort and sportsmanship:(Liam Ambrose, Matt Lee, Jack Krzywicki, Ethan Niennhuis, Jacob Scoble, Jackson Stanley, Tristan Loder, and James Lee.

Game Ball: Jack Forti

-Matt Paul Coach/Staff Writer Andrew Kind

Matt Paul Sports Football-Week 6

Game Summary:

The MPFL resumed it’s season on thursday in what turned out to be a mud bowl of sorts. Not only did players get beat up on the field, but several were worried about their moms killing them when they got home. The Los Angeles Rams, led by captain Jacob Scoble, took on the hometown Philadelphia Eagles and captain James Lee. Players were slipping and sliding all over the place and the Rams took full advantage in the run game. Ethan Nienhuis, star running back for the Rams, had a huge game. In fact, he is rumored to be taking Todd Gurley’s starting position next season. LA’s team captain Jacob Scoble also had a td run. The game ended in a 21-21 tie, as the Rams star QB Tristan Loder led his team down the field to score with no time left on the clock. The Eagles got big games from brothers Sam and Ryan Smith, as well as seasoned veteran Finn Canally. Finn had two incredible plays that were unfortunately called back because of penalties, but that didn’t stop him from putting up impressive numbers on both sides of the ball with one td and one interception. There was great effort and sportsmanship shown by players on both teams: (Liam Ambrose, Matt Lee, Jack Forti, Nico Pizzichini  and Jackson Stanley).

Game Ball: Finn Canally

-Matt Paul Coach/Staff Writer Andrew Kind

Matt Paul Sports Basketball-Week 5

Game Summary:

Once again, due to inclement weather, the MPFL cancelled all the games on the schedule. However, the Matt Paul Basketball League, a.k.a the MPBL was not affected in the beautiful NFA facilities. The Philadelphia 76ers, led by team captain Finn Canally, took on Tristan Loder and the Golden State Warriors. The two heavyweights slugged it out; making play after play, hitting shot after shot. The game ended in a tie. Both teams wanted to continue, but their homework wasn’t gonna do itself. The game balls went to Golden State’s Ethan Nienhuis and philly’s own Jack Forti who showed excellent hustle on offense and defense and got their teammates involved. There was great effort and sportsmanship shown by both teams: (Liam Ambrose, Max Endriss, Jack Krzywicki, Ryan smith, Sam Smith, Matt Lee, James Lee, Bobby Mullen, Ethan Nienhuis, Jacob Scoble and Jackson Stanley).

Game Ball: Jack Forti/Ethan Nienhuis

-Matt Paul Coach/Staff Writer Andrew Kind

Matt Paul Sports Dodgeball- Week 4

Game Summary:

Due to inclement weather, the MPFL cancelled all the games on the schedule. However, the Matt Paul Dodgeball League, a.k.a the MPDL was not affected in the NFA gymnasium. In the game/underdog story of the year, Nico Pizzichini needed to win to keep the gym open. He did! He lead his Average Joes to a victory over Mason Eagland’s older, and more experienced Globo Gym. Both teams demonstrated the 5 d’s of dodgeball: dodge, duck, dip, dive and …….dodge. They learned these from the legendary Matt Paul a.k.a Matty O’Houlihan. There was great effort and sportsmanship shown by both teams: (Liam Ambrose, Finn Canally, Max Endriss, Jack Krzywicki, Tristan Loder, Matt Lee, Bobby Mullen, Ethan Nienhuis, Max Eagland, Jacob Scoble and Jackson Stanley).

Author’s note: Some team names and references are fictional and soley used for the entertainment of the readers.

Game Ball: Bobby Mullen

-Matt Paul Coach/Staff Writer Andrew Kind

Here is a clip from the movie, Dodgeball!

Matt Paul Sports Flag Football- Week 3

Game Summary:

In week 3 of the MPFL, the conditions were tough and the play was tougher. The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the young and talented Kansas City Chiefs on the road in Arrowhead Stadium 14-7. Jack Krzywicki shined for Philly as he had two big touchdowns, one of which was taken away because of an illegal block in the back on one of the most impressive runs of the season. Eagles’ WR Max Endriss had some huge catches down the stretch that helped seal the deal. Chief’s two-way player Tristan Loder was rock solid defensively with two big picks and WR Jackson Stanley showed off his lightning speed as he was able to get open all over the field and was one fingertip away from a huge catch. Both teams battled to the end and big plays were made by the following players: (Liam Ambrose, Finn Canally, Jack Forti, James Lee, Matt Lee, Jacob Scoble, Bobby Mullen, Sam Smith, Ryan Smith, Ethan Nienhuis, and Nico Pizzichini).

Game Ball: Jack Krzywicki

-Matt Paul Coach/Staff Writer Andrew Kind

Matt Paul Sports Flag Football- Week 2

Game Summary: 

In week 2 of the MPFL, we had another instant classic. The Philadelphia Eagles battled the Minnesota Vikings in the City of Brotherly Love, and there was no love lost between brothers Max and Mason Eagland. Both teams were scoring at will led by the above-mentioned Max and Mason, including two impressive TD grabs by the Viking’s Mason that should be on Sportscenter. However, both defenses tightened up late in the game and an interception by The Eagle’s Max gave his team the ball back with time running out in a tie game. The play of the game and the game-winning play was a short slant from Philly’s own Nico Pizzichini to Ryan Smith with all zeros on the clock to give the Birds the win, 35-28. The TD celebration of the game went to the Eagles who brought out the “Underdog” masks after their first score, which got the crowd jumping! There was great effort and sportsmanship shown by Liam Ambrose, Finn Canally, Max Endriss, Jack Forti, Jack Krzywicki, James Lee, Matt Lee, Bobby Mullen, Sam Smith, Ethan Nienhuis and Jackson Stanley. 

Game Ball: Nico Pizzichini/Ryan Smith

-Matt Paul Coach/Staff Writer-Andrew Kind

Matt Paul Sports Flag Football - Week 1

Game summary:

In week one of the 2019 Matt Paul Football League, otherwise known as the M.P.F.L. The New Orleans Saints defeated the Philadelphia Eagles in a thriller, 14-7. Saint’s team captain, Tristan Loder had the play of the game with a pick-six as the Eagles were on the goal line trying to score with time running out. Philadelphia’s own Finn Cannally had some incredible catches early on as well to put the pressure on New Orleans. Incredible game with great sportsmanship and effort by all players ( Bobby Mullen, Jack Forti, Jack Krzywicki, Jackson Stanley, Jacob Scoble, Liam Ambrose, and Maximillian Endriss, Levi Boles, Matt Lee, Ethan Neinhaus, Thomas Woodson) to start the new year and the new season off right.

Game Ball: Tristian Loder

 -Matt Paul Coach/Staff Writer-Andrew Kind

Kevin Cotton and my faith restored


Kevin Cotton and my faith restored

It was 2:30p, Saturday March 24, and I stood in the gymnasium at SCH Academy.  We were scheduled to have completed our 6th Annual Hoops Madness Tournament an hour and a half earlier.  We had more younger kids this year, more girls divisions, and a lot more 4th graders for some reason.  In short, we were oversold and undermanned, especially when it came to managing each division.

Most of the groups played for two to three hours, and I ended the day as the referee for what I thought was the semi-final game amongst very competitive 4th graders.  I made an executive decision to have the remaining teams do a one game knockout round, given the fact the day began at 8:00a with registrations.  The parents lined the sidelines, some coaching and some cheering, showed their unhappiness to me while I attempted to get control.   One father whom I knew, looked at me and acknowledged that I was making the right decision.

Fast forward, the 2nd best team beat the undefeated team in what was scheduled to be a double elimination tournament.  Now we had two teams who had one loss, and another two teams that were still playing as well on the other court.  The parents started to walk towards me again to see what bright idea I was going to come up with next.  I had started a nice dialogue with a group of parents, acknowledging that we didn't administrate a couple of divisions very well and that we were well beyond schedule. 

I began getting the same questions from a different people in the same area and I was losing my patience.  Frankly, I wished they would have asked me if I needed a bottle of water.  At 2:30p, seeing the was not near, I called an executive decision and offer a five minute lighting round where teams play a single game final four like format.  The kids looked disappointed that it was only five minutes, but most of the parents where happy except for one mom who wanted to leave.

On the main court two teams played, one remained for the championship game, where the team would win a pizza party to Cosimos Pizza in Chestnut Hill.  This set up a rematch of one game I refereed, this time the intensity was much greater.  Parents lined the sideline with front row seats, and were as vocal as Jack Nicholson at Lakers games.  Back and forth game, the team who was initially undefeated prevailed in a nail biter.  There was jubilation and tears, the effects of a long but great day.

Here are a couple of observations:

  1. It's very difficult to referee a competitive game with parents watching and sometimes questioning every move and call you make, even if your name is Matt Paul Basketball.
  2. Some parents have no perspective on how crazy they look or sound and I hope I remember my view from the court the next time my kids play.
  3. One young man from another age came up to thank me for the event,  His name is Kevin Cotton, and his parents should be very proud of him.  He was the shining light that I needed, as I stood on an island surrounded by tension and judgement.
  4. Two other boys came up to make, shook my hand, and thanked me as well.  I needed that to restore my faith in humanity.

I told my six year old Richie how many kids thanked me out of the 250 participants, on one of the longest tiresome days I have experienced.  Without hesitation, he thanked me, which made me feel better as well. I share this to bring some light to how difficult it is to be a perfect referee, and also to give some perspective to parents reading this about what lessons are most important to teach kids.  I don't remember who won the 2017 5th Annual Hoops Madness tournament in the 4th grade division, but I do think I will remember this one.  







I asked my eight year old daughter if she cared if she won or lost her soccer games. Without hesitation she responded, "Sometimes."  As her parents, we have struggled with how much to push and emphasize sports, especially the game she says she "lives for."  Just recently, my wife and I have discussed how competitive the other teams have gotten at this age.  We've learned that other teams are training twice a week and playing in one to two winter leagues and mini-tournaments.  This, mind you, is in the off-season.

Being in the business youth sports, my daughter's answer has given me pause on how to help her and how to guide other parents in their own journey.  It's hard for me to remember what it was like to be eight years old, but I do remember winning was the important thing, not how I played the game.  I cared a lot about winning, but was fortunate also to win a lot.  But I am not my daughter.

Although, I could make the case that soccer would be more fun if my daughter and her friends had better skills or even won a few more games, I am going to do my best to ask better questions and listen more to her.

Personally, I have agonized over watching her team play when they are intimidated by a more aggressive or talented team.  One anecdote, I started doing cheers on the sideline when the team went down 0-5 this past winter session, that is winter session one of two.  "Be Aggressive, Be-Be Aggressive!", a cheer I learned from watching my brother play high school ball and the good looking cheerleaders.  Back to the eight year old soccer game, I got the girls attention, but it didn't change anyone's behavior except my own.  I was slightly embarrassed, but I thought I could make an impact on a group of girls whose motivations I didn't really know. Thinking back, I do wonder what they were thinking when one of the dads on the sideline starting doing cheers.

At this age, it seems, the fun of soccer is about being with her friends and having a chance to run and play.  I guess that I am the one is learning the lesson tonight.  I just hope that I remember it when our team goes down 0-5 again.



No Shortcuts to Success

I recently reached out to a high school baseball teammate of mine, Mike Koplove. I played two years of high school baseball with Mike at Chestnut Hill Academy. He was fun and always ready to play. He especially loved warmups, especially peppering the infield with his signature ‘red-hot grounders’. He went on to have to a heck of a professional career as a member of the World Series Champion Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001, a AAA World Series ring with the Tuscon Sidewinders in 2006, and an Olympic Bronze Medal in 2008. He was the only American pitcher not to give up a hit in the games. Looking back, most said he didn’t have a shot of making it that far! At 6’0, Mike’s drive for success is a lesson for us all.

I asked him recently about his experience growing up, being coached by his father and what it took for his success.

“I think the one thing that I would say to parents and kids about how I made it to professional baseball is that there are no short cuts. Obviously it takes talent and some level of natural ability but every kid has the ability to get the absolute most out of themselves and it is usually much more than either they or their parents realize. My father realized this from when I was very little and to his credit he was incredibly determined in his effort to make me the best baseball player I could be. From a parental standpoint it took a lot of sacrifice and effort to make sure that I practiced every single day. I literally worked out 360 days a year from the time I was probably six years old. And that was my father pushing me to do it. Because honestly there were times that I hated doing it and didn’t like him very much either as a result. On the flip side my mother was also there to be at the opposite end of the spectrum and keep me sane. She knew when I needed time to get away from it and that balance was huge. No matter how it comes about that balance between hard work and also relaxation and enjoyment is crucial. Because you don’t want to end up really hating the sport that you are playing.

For me personally I had to give up a lot of things that other kids were able to do. Instead of hanging with friends a lot of times I would go to the field and work out. It isn’t always the easiest path but if you really want something then you have to be willing to make sacrifices somewhere. Not every kid is going to be a professional athlete but every kid can get the most out of themselves if they really want it, and that’s the most important thing I think.”

We hear a lot of kid who say they want success. We, at Matt Paul Sports, take on the challenge of helping kids realize the daily steps that are required for success. There are no shortcuts to success. Helping kids to develop that daily mindset is what we aim for in our programs.

Success is a Choice!

Philly Philly - We All Need A Cheerleader

Philly Philly - We All Need A Cheerleader

I'm so proud to be a Philadelphian, and always have.  Philly is tough, rugged, blue collar, and we like it that way.  Having experienced my own share of failures and disappointments, I especially appreciate the story line of Nick Foles. By now, you know that before the season Nick thought about giving up on his NFA dream.  Someone, along the way, told him not to, and thank God they did.  Nick shined, and delivered Philadelphians a Super Bowl victory. Click here to read more.

It reminds me of how important it is for people to have cheerleaders.  As human beings, we all have doubts and struggles, regardless of what your facebook page says, a line from Nick Foles himself. 

Action Step: Find someone in your world who needs a word or two of encouragement.  The key is to ask good questions, and simply listen.  Take deep breath and let them know you believe in them, especially when they are your kids.

Register here for all programs.

How to Stand Out in Tryouts

How to Stand Out in Tryouts

The NBA season began this week, and basketball players are looking forward to playing ball.  Regardless of the age or level of play, there are three simple things to remember when playing or trying out for a team.  

1. Stand out

Find a way to stand out in a positive way.  Use your voice and talk to your teammates.  Be loud!  "I got ball", "Help left", "Shot" are just a few things that all players can say when playing.  Avoid standing out in a negative way, like when you are you the last one to the huddle or the baseline when the coach.  You can also stand out by practicing extra free throws or layups at the end of practice.

2. "Be a star in your role"

To borrow a phrase from former Bulls and Sixers Head Coach, Doug Collins, for a team to work each player must play their role.  Coaches look for players who will have a team-first mentality, who help others score the ball.  Especially if you are a rebounder or screener, have that be a focus in the tryout.

3. Smile & Have Fun

Playing a sport is supposed to be fun.  Get to the tryout early and introduce yourself to the coachesWhile playing, have fun and smile. Say "Nice Pass" when someone hits you with an assist, or say "Good Shot" when a teammate scores. Coaches will notice that you are fun to have on the team.  When they are deciding, that could make the difference.

Good luck,

Coach Matt

Click here for all current basketball programs.

When to start sports

Parents often ask us about the difference between travel and local recreation programs.  They fear they will miss out on the path. The answer is not always simple or clear.

  • Given our experience with youth sports over the past twenty years, people also often: When it's appropriate time for your child to start sports.  Answering when to start and what kind of program to choose are not always clear. There are many choices for parents to decipher.
  • Our experience has been that at the age of five, kids are at school learning different sports and games in their physical education classes.  In our programs, we start at age five and have found most kids are ready at this age.  Travel ball may be an option for you for soccer at the age of seven or eight, depending upon your offering.


Be Like Mike... and Markelle

Every basketball fan knows the legendary lore of how Michael Jordan was once cut from Laney High School's varsity squad—and how the pain of playing JV ball propelled him to unprecedented heights. Now we have a new story for our times in Markelle Fultz.

The Sixers' soon-to-be #1 draft pick likewise tried out for varsity as a high-school sophomore and found himself relegated to the JV bench. But did Fultz sulk about the demotion? Did he let fate control his destiny? Did he give up? No way, Markelle was made of sterner stuff. “I never got frustrated, really,” Fultz told Sports Illustrated. “I love the game, so no matter if I’m playing JV or varsity, I’m going to do it to the best of my ability.”

Day 1 - The Summer of 2017 Officially Begins


Day 1 - The Summer of 2017 Officially Begins

A Day @ Matt Paul Summer Camps

Day One at MP Summer Camps @ The Meadowbrook School

The "Word of the Day" was COURAGE—and Meadowbrook's campers showed their  courageousness every step of the way. MPS veteran Coach Rich and rookie Master Leader Gregory (his whistle always proudly at the ready) led their Meadowbrookers through a chock-a-block schedule of soccer, basketball, baseball, hockey, scooter hockey, gaga, tennis and more. It was a hot one out there, and so the site's beautiful campus offered two different shaded playgrounds for down time in between activities.