Former Disney Executive Launches App for Youth Sports Coaches

Former Disney Executive Launches App for Youth Sports Coaches

Ben Sherwood, the former Walt Disney Co. executive and L.A. native, spent 12 years coaching his kids' sports teams. The same question followed him year after year: how do you lead a good practice?

"You have one minute after you get off your last work call to walk onto a field with eight or 10 kids," said Sherwood, who stepped down from his position as president of Disney-ABC TV Group and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks in March 2019. "What are you going to do? No matter what your level, every mom and dad knows you need good ideas."

His new app Mojo, which launched Tuesday, offers custom training schedules for youth soccer coaches pressed for time. He hopes the platform will help the 500 million kids playing organized sports get back on the field as practices and games pick back up.


"In Southern California and in Los Angeles in particular, sports have been shut down harder and longer than in most places," Sherwood said. "We want to be there for whenever spring soccer begins, wherever you live."

Last February, the startup raised an $8 million Series A round from investors including L.A.-based Tom Werner, owner of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool Football Club, and U.S. women's national soccer team players Julie Foudy and Brandi Chastain. The company is also backed by dot.LA co-founder Spencer Rascoff.

mojo coaching app

After a coach enters details about their players like skill level and age, Mojo generates a list of tutorials and activities. And even if "your kids only want to climb the tree in the park," Sherwood said, the app can still help.

"Youth sports is chaos," said co-founder and chief operating officer Reed Shaffner, who's worked at Microsoft, Scopely and the game developer Zynga. "You might have the best plan and then everything goes by the wayside because it's little kids."

He and Sherwood worked with child psychologists and youth coaches to build out the app's functions, many of which are free. They also worked with Mandalay Sports Media — producers of the Michael Jordan documentary "The Last Dance" — to shoot tutorials at the Banc of California Stadium.

In following the startup's mission of "leveling the playing field" for kids interested in sports, Sherwood said, Mojo Inc. will offer premium subscriptions to volunteer coaches with Coaching Corps. And as the platform catches on, the startup will add more sports.

"I do have a dream list," Sherwood said. "I would say tackle football is not on the list. I would say that just about everything else is."

From Your Site Articles
Related Articles Around the Web

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

As Thanksgiving approached, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti implored residents to stay home and halt all nonessential travel as COVID-19 cases skyrocketed.

But on Thanksgiving Day, Peter Pham, one of L.A.'s most prominent early-stage investors and the co-founder of Science Inc, a Santa Monica startup studio and early-stage venture fund that manages over $100 million and recently launched a $310.5 million SPAC, posted a selfie of himself atop Las Vegas' High Roller ferris wheel.

He was clutching a can of Liquid Death, the bad boy-themed canned water brand that has improbably become Science's buzziest startup. Pham guzzles six cans a day, because he says he does not trust municipal tap water.

"I'm not afraid of dying," Pham told me recently. "There's risk for everything and COVID is a risk that I feel very confident in my ability to deal with. I could be wrong and that's OK. I am OK if I fucked up and I die from it."

Read more Show less

Ceres Group Holdings is becoming corporate America's biggest cannabis dealmaker out of its Century City offices.

The venture and private equity firm this week announced that its special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, would take Atlanta-based cannabis producer Parallel public in a merger that will value the Canadian-listed company at $1.88 billion.

Parallel has about 42 retail stores outside of California, but has big plans for a big expansion into L.A. sometime in the next year or two.

Read more Show less
RELATEDTRENDING