Now, as a partnership with OrthoCarolina and former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith, D1 is bringing its sports training and therapy facility to 1205 Mann Drive in Matthews. The center, which will be open to athletes age 7 and older, will be the company’s 24th location nationwide, and the second in North Carolina, the first being in Raleigh.
“Now we are looking at an opening at the end of April,” Brendan Smith, a representative with D1, said. “We are a place where every athlete, no matter what level, can go and train on a collegiate or professional level.”
The new facility will be more than 20,000 square feet, with a combination indoor and outdoor turf field – the first of its kind for the company – a collegiate-style weight room and an OrthoCarolina physical therapy clinic geared toward athletes and athletic-related injuries. The center will fill a large void in the area, Brenda Smith said, where kids are constantly playing their sports but have no place to train and develop into their sport.
D1 offers several levels of training from Rookie, for kids 7 to 11 years old; Developmental, for 12 to 14 years old; Prep, for 15 to 18 years old; and programs for adults, the family and collegiate and pro-athletes.
“Really from 7 to 70 – we’re just trying to make better athletes, no matter what sport they play, you need to be quicker and stronger,” Brenda Smith said. Programs for adults encouraging health and fitness also are offered.
D1 also offers personal training and team training and emphasizes training in groups, all while working to incorporate specific techniques and workouts key to individual sports, whether that’s football or volleyball or any other sport, Brenda Smith said. In addition to developing athletic-based skills, the facility also has a large emphasis on character building and helping athletes not only set individual goals, but also achieve those goals.
The partnership with OrthoCarolina is particularly exciting, Brenda Smith said, since injuries are a big part of sports. In order to best serve athletes and knowing injuries are prevalent in athletics, D1 wanted a medical partner widely known in the community that could not only help treat injuries if they should happen, but also help prevent injuries throughout training. OrthoCarolina will have a physical therapy facility on site at D1, starting out with two employees, including head physical therapist Chris Gabriel, who currently works out of OrthoCarolina’s Ballantyne office. He’ll move to Matthews mid-April, he said.
“We’re very excited. We’ve been trying to get something like this together for quite some time now,” Gabriel said. “This will give us access to a lot of athletes so we can do … a lot of training we’re not able to do in our current space.”
The new facility is all about teamwork, Gabriel said, working with D1 trainers to modify injury treatments as they come up, treating athletes who need the extra physical therapy on site, or properly connecting athletes with proper medical care if major injuries should arise.
“This partnership will be great for OrthoCarolina, great for D1 and great for the community, as well,” Gabriel said.
As for co-owner Steve Smith, who was recently cut by the Carolina Panthers and is now a Baltimore Raven, he still has deep roots with the local team, and D1 leaders hope he’ll still swing by once in awhile. Steve Smith also has been the co-owner of D1’s location in nearby Greenville, S.C., since 2012.
“It’s awesome to have him. He’s one of the best athletes as far as training and loving what we do. He’s very competitive and a high-character guy who loves the workouts,” Brendan Smith said. “He’s one of our favorite athletes to work with because of the level of passion he brings to the table.”
In addition to Steve Smith, two other pro athletes also share in D1 Charlotte ownership, including Leonard Little, retired defensive end for the St. Louis Rams, and Josh McCown, new quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Find more information on D1 Charlotte at its website, www.d1charlotte.com.