Louis Long once used his head to lift Old Tappan to new heights. Now he's using it to spark athletes around Bergen County.
Long helped develop a new app that lets people find and create pickup games in their area. The hope is to make sports more accessible for athletes in a post-COVID world.
The inspiration for Conquer came last year when the pandemic shut down indoor activities around him. Long was looking for a way to get back into soccer despite a busy schedule at his remote job. So he reunited with his friend and former teammate Matthew Lee to establish the free app.
Both were senior captains in 2015 when the Golden Knights won their first sectional title.
"We started brainstorming and figured that the best times in our life were when we were playing soccer," Long said. "We realized that there were so many people in the same boat as us who wanted to play sports but weren't playing that much."
Conquer is scheduled to hit the App Store early next month. Long said several high school teams have already signed up to try the beta version.
Athletes have the option to compete in six sports: basketball, soccer, football, tennis, weightlifting and pickleball. Users can create an event, pick a time and location, and set it as private (invite-only) or open to the public.
"There are so many people in this world that love sports," Lee said. "There shouldn't be a reason that holds you back from playing with others."
The idea for Conquer started back in October. Long wanted to be able to check his phone after work and find something to do at a moment's notice. He figured there were former Demarest or Pascack Valley players out there and the app could help to find them.
"People want to get out of the house," Lee said. "We thought this was a great way not only to meet new people, especially fresh out of college, but also to play the sport again."
Long pointed out that team captains can use the app to hold recurring practices. There's also a points system similar to Uber, where players can move up based on their performance.
While most services are free, there is a paid option for access to sports facilities.
"We knew that gyms and sports facilities and sports trainers were losing a lot of business during COVID," Long said. "We thought this could be a good way to partner up with them and have them rent out their facilities or post their classes."
Long and Lee are now among 10 full-time staffers at Conquer after graduating from college in 2020.
Some of their fondest memories came as seniors when the 12th-seeded Golden Knights went on a Cinderella run in North 1, Group 3.
Long, a midfielder, headed in a game-tying goal in the sectional final when Old Tappan beat Indian Hills in penalty kicks. Lee, a defender, helped the Golden Knights record three shutouts in four sectional matches.
"That's kind of what we reminisced about when we were thinking about the app," Long said. "Those were the glory days that everyone misses with playing sports. There's no reason now that everyone is home that we can't play again."
Sean Farrell is a high school sports reporter for NorthJersey.com. For full access to live scores, breaking news and analysis from our Varsity Aces team, subscribe today. To get breaking news directly to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter and download our app.
We are excited to announce our partnership with PUGG Goal: The Original Pop-Up Goal. The partnership will allow Conquer users to get discounts on the PUGG website.
Conquer and UNOZERO establish a partnership giving all Conquer players discounts on hand-crafted Italian boots.