By 2008, there were over 400 students participating from approximately 30 Northern California schools. To ensure sustainable growth, Matt began working very closely with a dedicated group of volunteers, other high school coaches and professionals from various relevant fields such as youth psychology, endurance training, skills instruction, and risk management to create the first of its kind high school mountain bike coaches manual.
This manual became the basis for developing school programs for a new generation of student-athletes. With the success of the NorCal League, Matt began to pursue the vision of building opportunities outside of Northern California and worked closely with a number of talented individuals who shared that desire. By securing a significant grant from the Easton Sports Foundation, Matt was able to partner with local leaders to launch the Southern California League in 2009. With nearly 1,000 high school student-athletes competing in two leagues, and proof that the model could be replicated, Matt now envisioned a future where every American teenager could have the opportunity to participate in a high school mountain biking league.
Matt responded by assembling a small group of well-known cycling visionaries, including Gary Fisher, to form NICA in late 2009, to take interscholastic cycling “coast to coast by 2020!” With strong support from many bicycle industry leaders, including Specialized, Trek, SRAM and CLIF Bar, NICA launched new leagues across the country at a quick pace: Colorado in 2010; Washington in 2011; Texas, Minnesota and Utah in 2012; Arizona, Tennessee and New York in 2013; Georgia, Wisconsin and Virginia in 2014; Alabama and Idaho in 2015; and Pennsylvania, Arkansas and Nevada in 2016; and North Carolina and New Jersey currently developing for their 2017 opening seasons.