The Pickleball Club

How we started

Why play Pickleball?

The Pickleball Club started in 2019 when founders Brian McCarthy and Matt Gordon recognized the structural transformation taking place in recreational and leisure activities throughout America. Pickleball was starting to emerge as a major participatory sport. Through careful study, research and analysis, they determined that indoor, private, amenity-based clubs were the ideal way to capitalize on the Pickleball phenomena. From their humble plans for a single location in Sarasota, Florida, they soon realized that The Pickleball Club could be the leader in an emerging industry by providing a quality, amenity-based, indoor pickleball experience for the avid player community.
Brian has decades of entrepreneurial experience in building organizations. He personally developed over $500M of commercial real estate. As an engineer and Harvard-trained MBA, he has an equally impressive background of success in large organizations. As a 30-year combat veteran, he reached the rank of Rear Admiral in the US Navy Reserve. He served as a senior logistics flag officer with oversight for 86,000 employees and over a trillion dollars of spending authority.

Matt is a Wall Street mergers and acquisitions lawyer by training, who then became a consultant and banker before spending a decade helping individuals and companies navigate the complexities of the US EB-5 immigrant investor program. He became a noted policy expert on the EB-5 program and foreign investment in the United States.

Valerie McCarthy joined the team as the ‘Chief Operating Officer’. Valerie rounds out the founding management team with decades of operational experience in the fitness industry, as an Executive Director, running large YMCA clubs, her own fitness facility and developing nationally recognized fitness programs.

Throughout the pandemic they pushed forward with the Sarasota location and laid the foundation for an organization that could execute the vision, mission and business plan, first, throughout the state of Florida, and then beyond. Their mantra is simple, ‘To provide an outstanding member experience’.

Meet The Founders

valerie and brian pickleball
Brian, and Valerie McCarthy
Matt Gordon CFO
Matt Gordon, CFO & General Counsel


Dedicated to improving lives, health, and longevity through the game of pickleball.  


Our professional and welcoming team is committed to exceeding our members’ expectations by making a difference every day in their life and that of their community.

Welcome aboard

Meet Our Team

This prospective multi-million-dollar facility is one more project in Brian’s real estate career, in which he has developed more than ½ billion dollars of commercial real estate.  Brian is a combat Veteran, having served in Vietnam as a qualified surface warfare officer, with a 30-year career in the United States Navy - retiring at the rank of Rear Admiral.  He earned a BS in Engineering Science from Oakland University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Brian is active in our community, having served on boards and held numerous leadership positions in non-profit organizations:  First Vice President of the Pops Orchestra, Chair of United Way’s Mission United Advisory Council, President of the Military Officers Association of Sarasota, and Executive Director of the Sarasota Military Officers Foundation.  He currently serves on the board of the Players Centre for Performing Arts and is Chairman & President of the Play For Life Foundation, Inc.

Matthew Gordon is the co-founder, Chief Investment Officer and Corporate Counsel for the Company. An attorney by training, and an investment banker by profession, with over 20 years of experience. Matt is a noted policy expert on foreign investment in the United States and has testified in front of the United States House of Representatives as a policy expert. Matt has been instrumental in providing the expertise in raising the debt and equity capital for the Company’s real estate portfolio and general operations. He is an avid pickleball player as well.

Valerie is in her element too. Valerie has been involved in physical fitness her entire career, with over 20 years’ experience in the fitness industry. She held numerous positions in the YMCA, the last as Executive Director of a 20,000 sq. ft. YMCA facilities in Palo Alto & Mountain View, California. Valerie also founded and operated FLEX FITNESS, a successful fitness facility in Sausalito, California for nearly a decade. Valerie holds a BS and MS in Exercise Physiology from Kent State University.


Bob Hamilton serves as The Pickleball Club’s Chief Administrative Officer in the corporate office overseeing Human Resources, IT, Risk Management, and Administrative Operations. Bob brings over 20 years of C-Suite and corporate leadership experience to the Club having served in COO and CAO roles for firms in the Real Estate Development, Management and Hospitality industries. He has extensive experience not only running organizational operations and administration, but also consulting with organizations and their CEO’s on matters of strategic growth, operational and administrative efficiency, talent management, and the development of strong company cultures.

Bob is experienced with rapid growth entrepreneurial firms having recently led an accelerated organizational ramp up from 50 to 250 employees over an 18-month period including navigating through the challenges brought on by the pandemic.

He is a lifelong learner evidenced by his many years of pursuing higher education. Bob earned a Doctorate in Organizational Behavior from The George Washington University, MBA and Law Degrees from the University of Baltimore, a Master's in Psychology from Towson University, and a degree in Finance from the University of Delaware.  

Bob has unique leadership development experience including leading an Executive Institute within Allegis Group (a technical staffing firm owned by Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti) where he led a team of Psychologists focused on accelerating the development of over 250 rising executives in the organization. While there he designed and delivered innovative leadership and diversity workshops throughout the United States and Europe. 

Bob is passionate about the health and well-being of both individuals and organizations and has served on the Board of Sheppard Pratt Behavioral Health System (one of the top-ten Community Behavioral Health Systems in the US) as well as their subsidiary Family Services, Inc.

Bob is a Lakewood Ranch resident and an avid Pickleball player.

Chris Foster is a lifetime entrepreneur having started multiple businesses over the past 35 years.  A member of the finance team at The Pickleball Club, Chris is tasked with raising equity capital for our initial "Florida First" plan of 15 indoor private membership pickleball clubs. We plan on building a national enterprise platform company positioned to go nationally. I do one on one investment presentations with accredited investors and group presentations around the country.

An inspirational sales leader adept at building businesses and a seasoned sports marketing & promotions executive with 24 years of successfully building and executing sales & marketing initiatives. Extensive experience in business management, marketing, and sales leadership with expertise in designing effective sales, training and motivation strategies. An entrepreneurial drive to lead & create where others fail to see opportunities.

Chris has been happily married for 33 years and is a father of four and a grandfather of one.  Chris enjoys extreme life experiences from sky diving to scuba diving, all sports and anything outdoors.  He has served on many boards and community groups and enjoys helping others.  Chris is one of those individuals who rarely slows down and has no plans to retire.

Brian has over 30 years of experience in accounting and finance in a variety of business and industry sectors including manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, and natural gas utilities. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire with a Bachelor of Business Administration - Comprehensive Accounting Major. Brian passed the CPA exam while working for a CPA firm in Minnesota. He is excited to be the Corporate Controller and looks forward to improving his pickleball game.

Nancy has over 30 years of experience of increasing responsibility with successful management experience in a major manufacturing, high-tech, widely diversified , international corporation.  Extensive experience in service-related businesses where optimization of customer satisfaction is key. She has a consistent record of creating proactive, “win-win” environments, directing project execution teams, and managing large manufacturing plant closeouts and startups.  A genuine leader characterized by a positive attitude, negotiating skills, fine business acumen, an appreciation for hard work and a drive for bottom-line responsibility. She received an MBA from the University of Wisconsin and is a Certified Purchasing Manager (CPM).

Dawn joins The Pickleball Club as Executive Director of Training. Dawn has a wealth of experience in the health care and fitness industries. Early in her career she was a Physical Director and Corporate Challenge Director of the YMCA of Central Ohio. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education and a Master of Arts in Education Administration from The Ohio State University. She was the Vice President of Sales and Owner of Berry’s Barbell and Fitness Equipment Co. Later she was the regional sales manager for Sun Pharmaceuticals, where she developed and managed a team of highly successful sales representatives.

The Training Director responsibilities include identifying training needs, developing group and individual learning courses, and managing the training budgets.   She has the task of developing curriculum and training club personnel.

Anne  is excited to be joining The Pickleball Club as the Director of Membership. She grew up in Ohio and graduated with a degree in communications from Ohio University. Anne and her husband have three children in university. They spent twenty-five years living overseas with most of their time being spent in the Asia Pacific region. After moving back to the United States, they spent a few years in Texas before making the move to Sarasota just two years ago and are excited to call Sarasota home.   Early in her career she worked for Marriott International in group rooms and catering sales. Then transitioned into their training department at Marriott, where she focused on training and development for the sales and marketing teams across all worldwide brands. Anne took a brief break from the hotel industry and managed the call center for a luxury inbound travel operator. During her time in Texas, she worked for Hilton, as a guest engagement specialist working across all brands with their customers worldwide.  Anne loves to travel and spend time outside, has a passion for hospitality and customer service, and looks forward to welcoming all our members into The Club.

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