Our Philosophy.

U1 Sports is a premier sports organization that is driven by the experiences of former student athletes who want to pay it forward by educating and preparing their members to be successful both in athletics and their communities alike. U1 looks to serve neighborhoods that lack quality youth athletic programming. Our programs are designed to create a support system for student athletes by providing a positive environment and leadership, as well as being a farm system for collegiate athletic coaches. U1 Sports prides itself in developing high character, team oriented athletes who have the drive to better themselves as a whole.

With over 25+ years of experience in teaching, coaching and working in the development of youth athletic programs, U1 Sports’ passionate and supportive staff works to achieve experiences and life lessons that will continue well into adulthood.


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Meet the Team

Daniel Pena

U1 Sports Founder and program director, Daniel Pena, is a physical educator, coach, trainer and mentor whose passion for education, development and service has been evident throughout his 9-year career. He has expertly coached teams ranging from kindergarten to high school-level and has instructed players in sports clinics and coordinated youth programs. He is certified in CPR/AED, First Aid and Concussion.

Pena’s athletic career began as a Syracuse University Football defensive lineman. After earning his B.S. in accounting (CPA) from the Whitman School of Management, Pena went on to obtain an M.S. in Sports Administration from Canisius College.

Pena began his teaching career at the Mandell School in New York City as a physical education teacher, extended day coordinator and coach for the school’s middle school track team and girls’ middle school basketball team. At Mandell, Pena designed curriculum and was instrumental in meeting the needs of both students and their parents.

After his stint at the Mandell School, Pena served as the director of athletics at Camp Watitoh and the JCC, a nonprofit community organization, in Riverdale. While at the JCC, Pena created a successful NFL flag football league, developed and directed sports clinics and coordinated various other sports recreation programs.

Currently, Pena teaches physical education at the Stephen Gaynor. He previously taught at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School and continues to serve as the director of football for Fieldston Sports Camp. Entering his 8th season as the offensive/defensive lineman coach for the Fieldston varsity high school football team, he aided Fieldston in winning three Ivy Preparatory School League championships. Pena also coached Jacob McKay and Sam Greene, who went on to play for Brown University Football and Wesleyan University Football, respectively.

In 2016, Pena was selected as the Defensive Line coach of the Columbia University Football Recruiting Camp. In 2012, Pena was selected as the defensive line coach for the NAIA vs. Division 2 College All-Star game. The following year, he was selected as the defensive line coach for the 2013 Euro-American Challenge International Scout Bowl.
As program director for U1 sports, Pena aims to bring his teaching and coaching knowledge to children in underserved communities.

John Greco

U1 Sports Director of Fitness, John Greco, is a Physical Education Teacher, Personal Trainer, Group Exercise Instructor, and Athletics coach who has been a member of the fitness community for over ten years. During this time, John has worked diligently in helping individuals, small groups, and teams achieve their fitness goals through specific scientific-based program design. John’s experience covers a wide range of ages and skill levels from pre-kindergarten students, recreational team members, general populations, and college and professional athletes.

John’s love for athletics began at a young age when he started playing Football, Hockey, and Baseball at the recreational level. He continued to play these sports throughout his adolescences culminating at the conclusion of high school where he received many awards and accolades for his stellar participation as a tri-sport athlete.

John attended Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York where he attained a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Athletic Training. During his time at Marist, John gained valuable experience while working with several high school and college sports team in addition to shadowing many medical practitioners including orthopedic surgeons, chiropractors, and pain management specialists.

In 2008, John began working as a Certified Professional Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine at a local fitness center. He also worked as a Group Exercise Instructor designing classes for large groups in an effort to improve overall health and wellness such as cardiovascular endurance, core stabilization, muscle strengthening, and flexibility.

Upon obtaining a Performance Enhancement Specialist Certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine, John began working as the Head Strength Coach at ML Strength, a sports performance facility owned and operated by former New York Yankees Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Dana Cavalea.

While working as a Certified Personal Trainer and Performance Enhancement Specialist, John also attended Manhattanville College where he received his Masters in Teaching in Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy in 2013.

Currently, John is teaching Physical Education at the Stephen Gaynor School. Prior to that, John spent four years teaching Physical Education and Health Education at the East Harlem Scholars Academy II Charter School.

Throughout his years of experience, John’s mission remains constant; to educate individuals on the importance of adopting a healthy and fit lifestyle while helping dedicated athletes and clients reach their full potential.

Gabriel Pena

Gabriel Pena is a Special Education Teacher for the NYC Department of Education. He graduated with his bachelors in Communications from the University at Albany, and is obtained his Dual Masters in General and Special Education from Hunter College. Pena developed his love for sports at an early age, where he was a two-sport star in baseball and basketball. Throughout his youth, he had several mentors who taught him to not only become a great athlete, but most importantly, how to be a model citizen. Once Pena’s playing career was over, his passion shifted into giving back to the children in his community. This lead to Pena beginning his teaching career as a Sports Instructor for Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation (SASF), where he was in charge of designing sports curriculum, as well as coaching the basketball and flag football teams.

These experiences opened the door for Pena to become an Educational Associate in the Department of Education, where he found joy working closely with special needs students. The reward of helping a student realize their own potential was the driving force in his decision pursue his Masters Degree to become a Certified Special Education Teacher.

Gabriel is currently the founding 1st Grade teacher at Zeta Charter School. Pena’s school and work experiences gives him a unique perspective on how to communicate with student-athletes on an interpersonal level. In addition to being a Special Educator, Pena tutors, mentors, and privately trains students on a need basis.



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