Former Arizona Wildcats George Arias & Laura Espinoza-Watson combine forces for new sports academyby Andy Morales on Aug. 14, 2013, under Sports
Former University of Arizona and Major League baseball standout George Arias has a deep passion for kids and for the game of baseball and it shows. He is currently the Director of Operations for the local Royals baseball club organization complete with nine teams with coaches such as Edgar Soto (Pima), Rich Alday (Pima/New Mexico), Colin Porter (MLB) and pitching coach Ed Vosberg on its staff.
Arias did not stop there. He had a talk with his friend Joey Medina about building something for the youth of Tucson where they could learn the game and also understand the value of a quality education and citizenship.
“It came from my passion for kids,” explained Arias from his office at Hi Corbett Stadium. “We were talking and we discovered to actually build something would come in around $7 million so we had to go another route and we started to work with the city.”
Arias had a dream and he started it in motion. He connected with his friend, former Arizona softball standout Laura Espinoza-Watson, from his Wildcat days and they discovered that both were “in” on making his dream a reality.
The Arizona’s International Baseball Consortium (AIBC) along with the Tucson CHAMPS Academy was born.
“The kids have to understand that education is the most important part of all of this,” said Arias. “Everybody is already playing but we wanted to offer something more.”
The Academy not only offers field instruction but also off the field instruction on areas such as nutrition, physical fitness, life skills and college preparation. Espinoza-Watson added her Thundercats softball organization (complete with five teams) to the CHAMPS Academy and the next step in the AIBC dream also started to become a reality.
With endorsements from Arizona baseball coach Andy Lopez and softball coach Mike Candrea, a clubhouse for the Royals and the Thundercats was made available at Hi Corbett.
The clubhouse has locker rooms, parent areas, homework/tutoring stations and a weight room. It may be the trend of the future with other organizations such as the Tucson Soccer Academy adopting similar “clubhouses.”
For more info on AIBC please visit http://www.azinternationalbaseball.com/
Disclaimer: My daughter Maggie plays 18U with the Thundercats.