We Exist to Build Healthy Community THrough SPort

We build innovative technology that transforms how players, facilities, and referees connect and play.


Because we believe that a better sports experience can change the world.


"we have never been more lonely or obese."
  • 42% of Americans are obese, up from 30% in the year 2000.

  • Half of Americans report feeling lonely.

  • The number of people who say they have no close friends has tripled since 1985.


  • 80% of of our players feel a greater sense of community playing with us.

  • The average player, in fact, reports makes 6 new friends.

  • 9 out of 10 players report being more physically active due to playing with us.

How it Began

After graduating college, at the ripe age of 22, Lance McDonald moved to the Dallas area to start “adulting”. He quickly found that, without the social systems in schools that most of us grow up with, it felt much harder to build and maintain meaningful connections than it ever had before. And with a new job taking up so much time, it also felt more and more difficult to stay active. In short, he felt lonelier and more stagnant than ever.

Enter sports. Excited at the idea of reliving his glorious 8 year old soccer days, he signed up for a league, became a team captain, and pulled some new friends together to start playing. While it was amazing to get out and play, the experience left a lot to be desired. Rather than accept the status quo, he began to question...why was it so hard to find and get signed up for a league? Why were there so many forfeits? And why did his team of semi-athletic (emphasis on “semi”) keep being set up to play (what felt like) the Brazilian national team each week?

After ruminating on the idea of a better way for years, and attending Stanford’s Graduate School of Business in the meantime, he finally decided to leave corporate life in 2018 in pursuit of his life’s work and personal mission: to build healthy communities through the greatest rec sports leagues the world has ever seen. Easier to access all year, easier to get plugged in on the right team, more fun matches, more fun content - better in every way.

But this was not a solo adventure. In a galaxy far far away (California), Lowell Garthwaite was having his own story lead him on a collision course with what would become Areena. 

Growing up in an extremely diverse but impoverished public housing complex, Lowell discovered early on the power of sports to transform lives and bring people together. Sports played a pivotal role in Lowell's life, helping him to earn a congressional nomination to West Point, where he went on to earn ESPN Academic All-American honors as a Defensive Back on the Army football team. Later in life, after deploying in support of combat operations overseas, he struggled to find recreational sports leagues to reintegrate into civilian life, meet people, stay in shape, and have fun. And so, as life would have it, he met Lance, and they bonded over the idea of a new way to offer sports to the world. 

Now, there is Areena.

Our Team

Lance McDonald
Co-founder & CEO
Lowell Garthwaite
Co-founder & COO
Joel Scalera
Lead Engineer
Elorm Koto
Lead Engineer
Jaclyn Garthwaite


The AREENA app and leagues offer an immersive rec sports experience for adults, with stat tracking, skill matching, leaderboards and team messaging. Subscribe and play soccer or basketball year round, or pay by game or match with zero commitments.

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