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When the director of the highly respected McKinney Marshals baseball program in Texas, David Hadeler, first began reading about US Elite on their website he thought he was reading about his own program. The core values, the purpose, the mission, the intent -- it was all “identical,” to his well-known Texas select program. But Hadeler, who has been in and around baseball for nearly four decades, had heard it all before. “So many programs say all the right things, but rarely do they back it up,” said Hadeler. “I have to admit that when I first began learning about US Elite, I wondered if they would turn out to be the same -- all talk, no substance, and focused on the wrong things."
Hadeler found out US Elite was different. “The baseball community is surprisingly tight and connected,” said Hadeler. “Everybody knows everybody and you can’t really hide who you are. The more I asked around about US Elite the more intrigued I became in potentially becoming part of their program. Everyone had great things to say about them. That’s pretty rare in travel baseball."
At the same time, US Elite Director Mark Helsel was busy doing his homework, too. "I had heard of the McKinney Marshals and knew they had a great reputation in Texas and the Southwest. So when they inquired about potentially aligning with us, I knew we would be interested."
Helsel, who started the US Elite program in 2006, began crafting a plan in 2018 to expand the US Elite brand and uncompromising approach to upholding values across the country. His strategy? Recruit coaches, not entire programs. “Honestly, there are very few programs in the country that align perfectly with all of our Uncommon Standards. For this reason, our model is not to “convert” programs. It’s just not a model that works for us”. But, there are exceptions. The kindred spirit he felt immediately with Hadeler sold him on the idea of bringing the Marshals program under the US Elite umbrella. “I’ve been doing this a long time,” said Helsel. “I know an authentic person when I meet one. We spoke a lot on the phone and then met at the ABCA coaching convention in Dallas. After meeting David, I knew I wanted to work with him and bring his program into our organization.” So, in 2019 the Marshals will officially begin play as US Elite, and by the fall the organization will be fully integrated into the US Elite program.
Although the Marshals organization had been approached many times over the years about selling or merging, none were considered seriously until the conversation with Mark Helsel and US Elite. According to Hadeler, it was an easy decision. “There were three things that convinced me this was what we should be doing,” said Hadeler. “First, I felt the two organizations were aligned point-by-point in terms of philosophy, values and commitment to creating a quality experience for athletes and families. Secondly, both organizations have a history of quality teams and a dedication to helping players through the recruiting process -- and with a history of results. And finally, I felt aligning with US Elite would help increase recruiting opportunities for the athletes in our Marshals program.” Adding those factors to the kinship he felt immediately with Mark Helsel made it “a very easy decision,” said Hadeler. “We simply want to provide the best opportunities for our players and families, and becoming part of the US Elite organization gives us that. When I discussed this with our leadership and coaches, and when I announced this to our families, they were all 100% on board with the idea,” he said. “They are all excited the future, as I am.”
Helsel concurs. “We are absolutely thrilled to join forces with such a successful organization, led by a like-minded professional like David Hadeler. We are already forming some super exciting plans.”