Semiahmoo Peninsula-based Coastal FC is just weeks away from opening an indoor soccer facility – something the organization’s executive director called a ‘legacy piece’ for the organization and a boon to the community as a whole.
As well, it will go a long way to keeping players – and spectators – warm and dry during the fall and winter season.
The BMO Coastal Soccer Centre has been under construction in the northeast corner of South Surrey Athletic Park since the fall, and is scheduled to open for spring programs on April 1, Coastal FC’s Chris Murphy told Peace Arch News Wednesday.
The $5-million project – which is fully funded by Coastal on land leased to them long-term by the City of Surrey – will feature an indoor playing surface that will be about 110 yards long and 35 yards wide, which is about half the size of a normal field, but will be perfect for the club’s youngest players, who don’t play on full-size fields.
The facility has been discussed “strategically and conceptually” for four or five years, Murphy said. It’s hoped that the indoor fields – which will have space for 80 to 100 players “per playing hour” – will help boost youth interest in soccer, which Murphy says has been waning across the province in recent years.
“When we started looking at it, we recognized that there’s a few key problems in keeping younger players in the game, and probably the biggest ones we hear about are (playing) in the cold and the rain, because our playing season runs in the winter months,” he said.
“We wanted to try and take control of an area that had been a barrier for younger players, and we wanted to find a centralized venue – not just school gyms scattered across the city – to give our young members a chance to play in a weather-controlled environment.”
When complete, the centre will be just one of two indoor facilities in the Lower Mainland that are run by soccer clubs themselves, Murphy said – an indoor facility owned and run by the North Shore Girls Soccer Club is the other.
Though a perfect fit for Coastal’s youngest members – players aged two to eight years old – Murphy said the 33,000-sq.-ft. facility will be used by players of all ages, for training, drop-in or other programs.
Additionally, the club will look to rent the facility to other community groups who may be able to make use of it – from other sports associations to seniors groups or schools.
“We want kids to play soccer, of course, but we want them to be healthy and active more than anything else,” Murphy said, adding that it’s easy to envision the finished product while at the under-construction site.
“You can really appreciate its possibilities when you stand underneath the canopy and imagine it filled with 100 five-year-olds who are all safe and dry and warm and playing soccer.”
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