i9 Sports, the nation’s first and largest youth sports league franchise, welcomed Shawn Gillespie to the organization after awarding the Fort Myers’ resident a franchise territory in Naples, FL.

Gillespie’s Naples territory comes in addition to an already prominent i9 Sports presence in Florida, with 26 franchise locations throughout the state.

Gillespie, an Ann Arbor, Michigan native, comes to i9 Sports after an eight-year career in financial services, specializing in transactional accounting for The Siegfried Group and Resources Global Professionals, among others. After exploring a number of franchise options, Gillespie landed on i9 Sports after feeling a passion for the company’s mission and values.

“The happiest times of my life were participating in youth sports, and I want to play a part in helping children enjoy the same experiences and create the same memories that I was fortunate enough to,” said Gillespie. “When I met Brian Sanders and other i9 Sports representatives, it was obvious they shared that feeling. I’m grateful to be part of an organization built on those principles.”

Gillespie’s i9 Sports territory will offer flag football, soccer and t-ball, beginning September 23.

“From the first meeting with Shawn, his desire to make a discernable impact on the children of South Florida was evident and exactly what we look for in a franchise owner,”said Brian Sanders, i9 Sports president and chief executive officer. “We’re confident he’ll make i9 Sports the go-to destination for parents searching for a superior youth sports experience in Southwest Florida.”

i9 Sports currently operates more than 750 territories across the U.S., from New York to Hawaii, with more than 1.4 million players participating in leagues, camps and clinics in today’s most popular team sports.